Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors select the best new audiobooks just for BookTrib’s readers. This month, listeners will explore awkward social interactions,  lean into the soothing melodies and insights of a world-renowned classical musician, hold their breath as a film crew documents a puzzling mystery, and more. Grab your earbuds and queue ’em up!

Fugitive Telemetry

by Martha Wells | Read by Kevin R. Free
Recorded Books | 4.5 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Kevin R. Free narrates the latest Murderbot novella in which nothing is as straightforward as it seems. When a dead body is unexpectedly found on Preservation Station, Murderbot enters into an uneasy partnership with station security to discover who the victim was and why they were killed. Free leans into Murderbot’s description of itself as a “construct made of cloned human tissue, augments, anxiety, depression, and unfocused rage” — and adds sarcasm to the mix — to create a deeply relatable portrait of an individual struggling to find their place in an often hostile and confusing world.

Beginner’s Mind

Written and read by Yo-Yo Ma
Audible, Inc. | 1.5 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Classical musician and cultural icon Yo-Yo Ma treats listeners to a unique and exquisite aural gem, seamlessly blending self-discovery and musical storytelling. In his innovative take on a memoir, Ma recounts various details of his life while inviting listeners to ponder humanity and hope with a beginner’s mind. His soft-spoken voice exudes a sense of calm and meditative introspection. In the minimal dialogue between the beautiful musical selections, Ma expertly segues into his view of the context or message of each musical piece. This enables listeners to more deeply feel the emotion in the music while reflecting on Ma’s insights.

The Committed

by Viet Thanh Nguyen | Read by Francois Chau
Audible, Inc. | 12.5 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Cambodian actor Francois Chau seems to inhabit the anonymous narrator of this novel — a young man of Vietnamese and French parentage who flees Vietnam at the fall of Saigon and heads to California and France. Chau’s narration is so stellar that the listener sees the action through the narrator’s eyes, yet Chau’s soft voice remains unobtrusive. The writing in this novel is wild and often hyperbolic, and Chau delivers it as we imagine the protagonist would speak the words. This is one of the signs of a gifted storyteller. Listeners will find much to love about this sequel to The Sympathizer, which also can be read as a stand-alone work. 

The Lost Village

by Camilla Sten, Alexandra Fleming [Trans.]| Read by Angela Dawe
Macmillan Audio | 9.75 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Narrator Angela Dawe raises the stakes in this atmospheric horror novel. Sixty years ago, everyone in the Silverjarn village in Sweden disappeared — except for a woman and a baby. Filmmaker Alice Lindstedt recruits a team to produce a film about the “lost village,” but they all get more than they bargained for. Dawe does an excellent job of slowly unraveling the mystery behind Silverjarn, heightening the fear factor. Her pacing amps up the suspense, and her flexible voice breathes life into the multitude of characters.

Broken (In the Best Possible Way)

Written and read by Jenny Lawson
Macmillan Audio | 8.25 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Jenny Lawson returns to narrate her third installment in a disheveled saga of finding the light at the end of a long, winding, ludicrous tunnel. Lawson — journalist, blogger, and ambassador of disarray — recounts her incredibly relatable awkward social interactions and worst fears all the while crediting her steadfast husband, Victor, for being her rock. With vigorous pacing, every frantic thought and wacky scenario is presented in an authentic voice that each listener will not only understand but also recognize. This audiobook shines with a powerful message: Depression and anxiety suck, but we can rise above them. 

The Forest Of Stolen Girls

by June Hur | Read by Sue Jean Kim
Listening Library | 10 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Sue Jean Kim’s narration brings verisimilitude to a 15th-century Joseon (Korean) mystery that shines a light on the trafficking of young women. Kim’s voice reflects the courage of Min Hwani, who returns to her island of Jeju with her sister, determined to find their father and 13 girls who have gone missing in the last four years. Kim’s gently precise reading reflects Hwani’s skills of observation and deep need for resolution. The threat to Hwani intensifies, and, as a result, the sisters acknowledge each other’s gifts, establishing mutual trust and tenderness. 

The Souvenir Museum

by Elizabeth McCracken | Read by Kate Reading
Harper Audio | 7.5 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

An award-winning author writes her eighth book, and an award-winning narrator records it. The superb audio short stories that result are hysterical, heartrending, wise, unexpected and weird — in a good way. Kate Reading’s deep, melodic voice reveals the very marrow of Elizabeth McCracken’s memorable tales of love, family and perseverance. She transforms into whatever character walks onto the page, and in between the sparkling dialogue, she narrates clearly, seriously, and, when needed, sardonically, as befits these witty, sagacious tales.

The Unbroken

by C.L. Clark | Read by Rasha Zamamiri
Hachette Audio | 18.5 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Rasha Zamamiri narrates a unique epic fantasy with vibrancy. Touraine was abducted as a child and forced to become the ideal soldier. Her loyalty to the empire is tested when she’s sent back to her homeland to quash a budding rebellion. Zamamiri nails accents and from time to time even sounds like a different narrator, though the voice she creates for Touraine steals the show with its deep sense of inner struggle. Social commentary is paired with fantasy adventure inspired by the region of North Africa, brimming with romance and thrills, all voiced by an incredible — and perfectly suited — narrator. 

Soulstar

by C.L. Polk | Read by Robin Miles
Recorded Books | 12.25 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Narrator Robin Miles delivers the profound conclusion to The Kingston Cycle. Miles portrays Robin Thorpe, who has always been aware of the injustice and inequality that surrounds her and the other citizens of Aeland. Until now, she has mostly worked in subtle ways to fight it, but all that changes after her friend and mentor is assassinated. Miles’s narration becomes more powerful and commanding as Thorpe takes on a leadership role. But Thorpe is also facing a painful personal circumstance, portrayed with compassion. Miles’s compelling narration will resonate long after the story ends, offering both hope and inspiration. 

Cook, Eat, Repeat

Written and read by Nigella Lawson
Harper Audio | 11.75 hrs.

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

Nigella Lawson exuberantly narrates her latest cookbook, sharing her passion for food and cooking. Her background as a chef, food writer and TV personality all come into play in this well-rounded audiobook. Lawson displays her love of food in lushly expressive language. Listeners will be clamoring to try her recipes after the first 30 minutes, given her delectable descriptions. She balances everyday cooking with expansive dishes for entertaining, all useful for the home cook, and PDF recipes are formatted for downloading.


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