Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors give “Earphones Awards” to the best new audiobooks — whether you are looking for entertainment and escape or a better understanding of our culture, these titles have lots to offer. 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!

Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld
Read by Jerry Seinfeld | Simon & Schuster Audio

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Gold, Jerry! This audiobook is pure gold! In that one-of-a-kind unforgettable voice, Seinfeld explores 45 years of comedy bits, sorted by decade. Each section begins with a jazzy interlude and a brief introduction narrated by Fiona Hardingham. In what is hours of pure entertainment, Seinfeld’s timing is, of course, perfect, and the familiar way that he narrates creates a unique level of intimacy. Listeners will feel like they’re in the front row of a show.


A Time For Mercy by John Grisham
Read by Michael Beck | Random House Audio

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

 

The venerable author’s latest legal thriller brings back attorney Jake Brigance, this time defending a teen accused of killing a sheriff’s deputy. Grisham starkly lays out how the deck is stacked against the poor in small-town Mississippi as they struggle with closed minds, mounting financial challenges, and other obstacles. Narrator Michael Beck is superb. He is a vocal page-turner whose accents—and there are many—create a vivid picture for the listener.


Fauci by Michael Specter
Read by Michael Specter | Pushkin Industries

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Journalist Michael Specter’s throaty voice and emotional yet precise delivery perfectly suit his examination of the coronavirus pandemic and the man who is trying to save us from it, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Based on Specter’s profile of Fauci for The New Yorker, this short and gripping audio production blends interviews with Fauci (and Fauci’s wife, herself a bioethicist with the NIH), historical audio clips and news reports, and a fact-filled narrative that captures the listener’s attention as effectively as a suspense novel.


The Man Who Ran Washington by Peter Baker, Susan Glasser
Read by Michael Quinlan | Random House Audio

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

This political biography is a surprise. Not only is James A. Baker III’s life story fascinating, but this book is also written in an engaging and accessible style. It is eminently suited to audio. With Michael Quinlan narrating, the audiobook offers driveway moments political junkies will love and others will enjoy and learn from. Baker is described as an accidental political savant who went from a high-powered Texas attorney to the height of political power as White House chief of staff, secretary of state, and manager of five Republican presidential campaigns.


Murder Comes To Call by Jessica Ellicott
Read by Barbara Rosenblat | Recorded Books

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

When the 1921 census forms are stolen amid a rash of local thefts, the detective agency run by friends Edwina and Beryl gets a call. Then two cases merge when the women’s new assistant gardener is arrested for the murder of the local magistrate. Barbara Rosenblat breathes life into each character, no matter how minor. With impeccable timing and pacing, Rosenblat makes this audiobook a pure delight. 


A Single Swallow by Zhang Ling, Shelly Bryant (Trans.)
Read by Arthur Morey, Adam Verner, Tanya Eby, Feodor Chin, Christopher Lane | Brilliance Audio

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

An ensemble of five gifted narrators splendidly conveys the haunting language and imagery in this WWII story of Ah Yan, a Chinese woman who has a lasting impact upon three men. Feodor Chin’s facility with Chinese words and penetrating depiction of Ah Yan’s childhood friend, Liu Zhaohu, transport listeners to war-torn China. With a measured pace and gentle tone, Adam Verner portrays Pastor Billy, an American missionary and doctor.


The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
Read by Jennifer Fitzgerald, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Ramon de Ocampo, Gary Bennett, Raphael Corkhill, Barrie Kreinik, Natasha Soudek, Nikki Massoud, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Ines del Castillo, Vikas Adam | Hachette Audio

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Jennifer Fitzgerald leads a full cast in this compelling work of speculative fiction about solving the climate crisis around the world. Fitzgerald does the heavy lifting as Mary Murphy, the woman put in charge of solving the global crisis. Because the cast of characters come from every continent, Fitzgerald must move from her native Irish lilt into a variety of accents and back with hardly a moment to breathe. The listener feels totally immersed.


Death and the Maiden by Samantha Norman, Ariana Franklin
Read by Kate Reading | Harper Audio

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

The final installment of Ariana Franklin’s Mistress of the Art of Death series receives a posthumous tribute from her daughter, author Samantha Norman. Kate Reading, a familiar voice for the series, brings the medieval world to life once more with her inimitable talents for pacing and characterization. Adelia Aguilar, now a semi-retired pathologist, and her independent-minded daughter, Allie, are drawn into events surrounding the disappearance of English village girls.


Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth
Read by Eric Gansworth | Dreamscape

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Poetic, intense and defiant, Native American author and artist Eric Gansworth delivers his own coming-of-age story. The youngest child of seven, he grew up on a reservation outside Buffalo, New York, amid abject poverty and systemic racism. Like many children of the 1960s and ‘70s, he adopted pop culture icons and watched his brothers go off to Vietnam. Hearing Gansworth read passages in his grandparents’ native Tuscarora language is heartwarming and heartbreaking at once.


This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with AudioFile and contains material originating from the AudioFile website.