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10 Winners for February Earphones Awards

in Audiobooks by

Looking for an array of audiobooks with superior stories and narrations? Search no further, AudioFile magazine has a wonderful list in their February Earphones Award winners.

Narrator Yetide Badaki’s lilting, warm Nigerian accent and energetic tone return with this YA story about Sunny, an Igbo-American albino girl with the juju needed to save humanity.

Akata Warrior (Tantor Audio), by World Fantasy award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor, has Sunny and her friends battling giant spiders, lake monsters, a djinn, and supreme beings in this subsuming magical fantasy.

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Nora Krug’s German accent and clear, calm narration add to her stunning memoir Belonging (Simon & Schuster Audio) in which she recounts her journey to understand the German concept of Heimat- “a place that a person is born into that makes for identity.”  What makes her German? Why is it important?  And universally, what parts of our heritage determine who we are?

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Whether you’ve already seen the film or were waiting to first read the book, you need to hear Jane Curtin’s amusing, acerbic reading of Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Simon & Schuster Audio), a true tale of writing gone oh-so-fascinatingly wrong. When Lee Israel’s writing career stalls, she discovers a marvelous ability to write as other people. Famous people. And so she becomes a literary forger. Rarely has crime seemed so reasonable or been as engaging.

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Carla Hall reads her delicious, hunger-inducing examination of the taste and history of Soul Food (HarperCollins Audio) with a clarity, rhythm, and enthusiasm that’s thoroughly engrossing.  Recipes blend on the plate with the why of soul food’s complex flavors.  You’ll end up charmed and educated, with the desire to never leave the kitchen.

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James Lance’s light, oh-so-upper-crust tone is spot on for Ben Schott’s second Jeeves novel, Jeeves and the King of Clubs (Penguin Random House Audio) commissioned by the estate of P.G. Wodehouse, creator of the delightfully incompetent Bertie Wooster and the man we all want in our lives – Jeeves – who makes everything right again. In this go-round, they’ve been engaged by a Lord MacAuslan to undertake a spot of counterespionage against the fascist-loving Roderick Spode, another Wodehouse creation.  All that could go amusingly wrong does, which is how it should be.

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Nine asylum seekers, each with an amazing story, are set adrift in a leaky boat off the Australian coast.  Judy Nunn’s moving, unusual novel Sanctuary (Bolinda Audio) is perfectly narrated by John Derum, who channels the fear and highlights the individuality. What happens when they find their rescuer is a surprise.

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Oh, the joy of listening to Stephen Fry’s delivery – at once orotund, precise, and delighted – of this examination of the lesser known aspects of the Victorian era in Victorian Secrets (Audible).  Historians, authors, and reenactors join Fry in sharing delightful ‘secrets.’  Remember that the supposedly uptight Queen had nine children (i.e., sex) and liked to get sweaty while dancing, and you’ll know that you’re in for a lot of laughs in this hugely fun listen.

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Scott Brick gives an edge-of-the-seat narration to this transfixing true tale by thriller writer Brad Meltzer.  History often reads like a done deal, but forget for a moment how the American Revolution turned out.  In the early years, some folks plotted to kidnap or even murder George Washington. The First Conspiracy (Macmillan Audio) is the story of what happened next, and how George Washington survived to become our first president.

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Pete Cross offers a narration that’s both engaging and soothing, which is just right for Stephen Fulder’s illuminating lessons on the meditation practice known as mindfulness. What’s Beyond Mindfulness? (Dreamscape Audio) features chapters that consider topics that affect contemplation – aging, empathy, feelings of power and powerlessness – Fulder offers a helpful and interesting discussion for seasoned practitioners and beginners alike.

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Imagine surviving an explosion and returning home, only to go unrecognized and be unable to prove your identity.  That’s the terrifying situation that Dr. Lucas Martino finds himself in at the start of Algis Budrys‘ sci-fi classic Who? (Blackstone Publishing), which Grover Gardner reads with his usual aplomb.  Highlighting the mix of introspection and action, while layering tension upon tension, Gardner keeps the listener hooked throughout this terrific and mysterious Cold War-era tale.


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www.audiofilemagazine.com The magazine for discovering more about audiobooks, it reviews and recommends the best listening, most interesting performances, and what audiobooks are worth your listening time. AudioFile reviews about 50 audiobooks a week, features narrator profiles, and awards exceptional performances with AudioFile’s Earphones Awards. AudioFile publishes in print, newsletters, and a blog. And podcasts daily recommendations on Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine.

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