Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors give “Earphones Awards” to the best new audio books — the listens that combine blow-you-away narrations with standout writing. BookTrib, thanks to our partnership with AudioFile, offers this month’s picks of the newest, not-to-be-missed titles. Don’t forget your earbuds!
Since the recent death of her beloved husband, Antonia has been “walking a narrow path through the loss” of love and identity. Alma Cuervo’s warm, even-keeled performance guides listeners through the interwoven themes of love, loss and compassion in this beautifully wrought new novel by poet and author Julia Alvarez.
Listeners seeking a break from today’s challenges should download this thoughtful, historical audiobook performed by three talented narrators. Anna Solomon’s story deftly interweaves the lives of three women from across the centuries: a stay-at-home mother in contemporary Brooklyn, a political wife in 1970s Washington, D.C., and the Persian Queen, Esther, in an imaginative blend of the historical and fictional, for a fascinating listen.
Elizabeth Acevedo, the author and narrator of the multi-award winning The Poet X, co-narrates this highly anticipated audiobook. Acevedo is joined by Melania-Luisa Marte in an alternating dialogue between two sisters, neither of whom knows the other exists until their father’s death in a plane crash. These two voices create a beautiful duet of the girls’ raw and lingering grief, forgiveness of their beloved and imperfect father and nascent sisterhood. Fans of Acevedo, as well those new to her work, will not be disappointed.
Eric Eyre’s nose for investigative journalism and conversational writing style are enhanced by narrator Michael David Axtell’s energy, empathy and appropriate tone of outrage. Why does a pharmacy in a town of 382 people in West Virginia need nine million pain pills over a two-year period? Axtell fully inhabits Eyre’s sense of injustice and maintains suspense as he and his newspaper spend years seeking records from drug distribution companies.
Narrator Dion Graham captures listeners’ attention in this heartbreaking audiobook about five orphans in an unnamed coastal town in an unnamed African country. The various dialects, accents and quirks of the characters in Ishmael Beah’s book are so distinct that listeners will recognize each one without even having to hear their name. Don’t make plans once you hit play on this. You won’t be able to stop.
More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys | Read by Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, Bono, Clive Davis, Craig Cook, DJ Walton, Jay-Z, Krucial, Leigh Blake, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Swizz Beats, Terri Augelo | Macmillan Audio
Musician Alicia Keys is confident, warm and personable as she narrates her story of becoming who she wanted rather than what others expected. In addition to her rich, inviting style, we are treated to cameo appearances by her family and friends, and experience a range of moments, from personal to professional, with phrases of instrumental music and singing scattered throughout.
Joseph O’Connor’s graceful, insightful writing is immediately apparent thanks to Barry McGovern’s and Anna Chancellor’s outstanding performances. McGovern delivers an acting tour de force, highlighting both the dark underbelly of Victorian London as well as the frequently scratchy, often tender relationship between eccentric, egotistical, world-famous actor Henry Irving and the soon-to-be famous author Bram Stoker. Both men’s lives circle around an internationally renowned actress of the period, Ellen Terry. O’Connor’s engrossing story is wonderfully well served by the superb narration.
Award-winning author Eimear McBride introspectively delivers her emotionally charged novella in a stream of consciousness style, introducing listeners to an unnamed female character who checks in and out of hotels in different places around the world to run away from a past she only vaguely mentions. The narrative is complex, but this poignant story of love, loss and self-exploration will linger in listeners’ minds.
Sarah Broom’s chronicle of life in a historic yet poor section of New Orleans is an audiobook that captivates the listener from its first words to its end. The author skillfully weaves stories from many of her descendants into a rich tapestry and takes listeners through the fascinating aspects of their lives. This National Book Award-winning memoir holds the listener’s attention because of Broom’s vivid prose and narrator Bahni Turpin’s flawless performance.
AudioFile (www.audiofilemagazine.com) is 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 per 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."