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10 Editors’ Picks from March 2019 Earphones Awards

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Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors give “Earphones Awards” to the best new audiobooks — the listens that combine blow-you-away narrations with standout writing. BookTrib, thanks to our new partnership with AudioFile, offers this month’s picks of the newest do-not-miss titles – memoirs and bios first, some fiction, and a history book that reads like the best thriller. Don’t forget your earbuds.

A Killer in Winter (Hachette Audio)

By Susanna Gregory, read by David Thorpe

David Thorpe’s enthusiastic reading adds technicolor to the rich descriptions of fourteenth-century Cambridge in this mystery about a murderous number of people dying during harsh weather. The ninth in Gregory’s popular series offers Thorpe ample scope for his clever portrayal of the unlikely investigators, physician Matthew Bartholomew and Brother Michael.  He also leaps at the opportunity to bring all the other well-drawn characters to life is a story that’s both fun and true to historical fact.

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Atomic Marriage (Audible)

By Curtis Sittenfeld, read by Diane Lane

Diane Lane delights in her performance of this thought-provoking and funny entertainment about a savvy Hollywood dealmaker who tries to convince an evangelical author to make some changes to a movie adaptation of his popular marriage guide.  You may know Lane’s voice, but here she uses it to let Sittenfeld’s clever work shine.  An all-around win.

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A Woman is No Man (HarperAudio)

By Etaf Rum, read by Ariana Delawari, Dahlia Salem, Susan Nezami

The narrators in this involving family epic about three Palestinian women in America and the old county meld and build upon each other’s performances beautifully.  A mother, daughter, and mother-in-law share the experience of arranged marriage, but feel they share nothing.  The truth is in between in this intense and fascinating novel.

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Elsey Come Home (Penguin Random House Audio)

By Susan Conley, read by Cassandra Campbell

Cassandra Campbell’s lyrical, flowing narration underpins this story about a woman’s journey of self-discovery. At once urgent and contemplative, this timely and timeless novel focuses on Elsey, a painter and married mother living in China who has taken to drinking instead of creating art. Urged by her husband to find help, she attends a yoga retreat and discovers many truths, not the least of which about herself.

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How to Be Heard (Blackstone Audio)

By Julian Treasure, read by Julian Treasure

Hail one of those rare commodities – an author who reads fantastically well.  Julian Treasure is a star of the TED Talk series, which helps explain the Englishman’s fluidity.  A communications expert with an understanding of the neurology of sound, Treasure offers a compilation of his most popular TED Talks that will elevate the way listeners connect with others, whether they’re giving a professional talk, persuading a colleague, or deepening a personal relationship.

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I.M. (Macmillan Audio)

By Isaac Mizrahi, read by Isaac Mizrahi

Fashion designer and television personality Isaac reads his engrossing and witty memoir in a marvelously fluid and engaging manner.  Growing up gay in 1960s Brooklyn in a Syrian-Jewish Orthodox family was a challenge that he portrays with raw emotion and a good leavening of humor.  A vivid writer, Mizrahi enlivens the already lively story with telling people portraits and color-filled descriptions of the fashion world then and now.

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Nevertheless, We Persisted (Blunder Woman Productions)

By In This Together Media [Eds.], Amy Klobuchar [Fore.], read by Vikas Adam, et al

Presented by Senator Amy Klobuchar, these 48 stories about standing up for what is right represent different forms of persistence, whether for love or against grief, depression, prejudice, societal constrictions, or bullying.

The fine narrators are well matched to the essays in terms of age, making it seem as though the authors are reading their own works. These are powerful stories of resilience that are well worth sharing.

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The Beast’s Heart (Penguin Random House Audio)

By Leife Shallcross, read by Jim Dale

Jim Dale performs his magic in this marvelous reconsideration of Beauty and the Beast from the Beast’s point of view.  He channels the lonely, thoughtful, immensely moving Beast as he battles his inner demons.  And when the joy comes – wow!  This is a totally captivating listen.

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The Raven Tower (Hachette Audio)

By Ann Leckie, read by Adjoa Andoh

Adjoa Andoh lends diverse accents and impressive power to this compelling fantasy from the author of space operas.  In it, we follow Eolo of the country Iraden, who must balance the demands of the ravenous Raven God with the mystery of why Iraden’s ruler has disappeared.

Is the ruler the rightful heir?  Who should be sacrificed to the Raven God?  This is a powerful story of gods, politics, and revenge.

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The Suspect (Penguin Random House Audio)

By Fiona Barton, read by Susan Duerden, Fiona Hardingham, Nicholas Guy Smith, Katharine McEwan

The ensemble cast for this ripped-from-the-headlines suspense novel really delivers the goods.  British teenagers are dying in sordid conditions in Thailand.  A Thai-based BBC reporter finds herself becoming more than an observer.  A mother barely copes with the horror.  An English detective chases the threads of the story back home.  And, in flashback, we hear from the victims.  Prepare to listen well beyond your bedtime.

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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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