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Audiofile Magazine

“Witchmark” Blends Magic, Romance and History

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C.L. Polk’s WITCHMARK (Recorded Books) is a fantasy debut that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance in an original world with a historical setting. Cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own. Dr. Miles Singer is a veteran from the deadly world war, and he’s a magical healer hiding away. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. Samuel Roukin gives listeners a dramatic British-accented narration. Read the full review of WITCHMARK at audiofilemagazine.com For more free audiobook recommendations, sign up for AudioFile Magazine’s newsletter. On today’s episode are Jo Reed and AudioFile…

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Audiobook Experts Reveal Top 2018 Nonfiction Picks

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AudioFile editors are proud to celebrate another year of exceptional audiobooks and audio artists. Below you’ll find their favorites from this year’s nonfiction genre.   BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY BURN AGAIN by Ben Fountain Read by Ron Butler (HarperAudio) Narrator Ron Butler puts forth a bronze-star-worthy effort in the face of this relentless barrage of facts and anecdotes describing the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Fountain’s disturbing yet salient distillation of that time, in the form of essays written more or less contemporary with the events, deserves an audience–but in print it could be a depressing read and easily set aside. Enter our heroic narrator, Butler, who takes up the charge for us, attacking the text with real skill and precision. In…

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Holiday Romance is in the Air: Four Festive Audiobooks

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Applaud my restraint. I have waited until November to post-holiday audiobook reviews. Just ask my coworkers—it was June when I announced the schedule for a certain “Countdown to Christmas” holiday movie festival that I plan my weekends around. So for my fellow Christmas-philes, these audiobooks should add to your festive spirit. A VERY MERRY ROMANCE by Brenda Jackson, read by Ron Butler Harlequin Audio AudioFile Earphones Award Narrator Ron Butler doesn’t take sides as he presents the romantic journey of Marilyn Bannister and Jonathan Madaris. A Houston principal, Jonathan can’t date his new teacher, so he secretly transfers her to begin his courtship. Butler embodies the suave confidence Jonathan uses to attract Marilyn’s attention and overcome her misgivings while subtly…

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Maryrose Wood Brings The Incorrigibles Home

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Spending time with The Incorrigibles might be the perfect prelude to upcoming family gatherings. If you anticipate the same old jokes from Uncle Otto, and you dread meeting your Cousin Alice’s curious new companion, take an audio dose of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (HarperAudio) to make it all seem manageable. Mayhem may ensue, but it will definitely be entertaining for all ages. Maryrose Wood’s celebrated series unfolds in six volumes around a plucky governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, and her three charges—who were originally raised by wolves. THE LONG-LOST HOME wraps up the series with a brilliant performance by Fiona Hardingham. The previous audiobooks were narrated flawlessly by Katherine Kellgren. Maryrose is our guest this week on a bonus episode of our podcast, Behind the…

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Ruth Reichl: Audiobooks from a Gifted Food Writer

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As a run-up to the holidays, plug into food writer Ruth Reichl’s memoirs. We talk about MY KITCHEN YEAR: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, read by the author, in which she makes food sound decadent, luxurious, and a pleasure to be savored in both the preparation and the eating. In her earlier memoir GARLIC AND SAPPHIRES, narrator Bernadette Dunne takes Ruth’s role during her stint as the food critic for the New York Times when she often dined in disguise. Published by Penguin Random House Audio. Find full reviews of the audiobooks discussed on today’s episode and Ruth Reichl’s other audiobooks at audiofilemagazine.com  For free audiobook recommendations, sign up for AudioFile Magazine’s newsletter. On today’s episode are Jo Reed and AudioFile Magazine…

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Listen Up: 2018’s Top Fiction Audiobooks Chosen By AudioFile

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AudioFile editors are proud to celebrate another year of exceptional audiobooks and audio artists. Below you’ll find their favorites from this year’s fiction genre. CIRCE by Madeline Miller Read by Perdita Weeks (Hachette Audio) Author Madeline Miller and narrator Perdita Weeks transform the ancient Greek drama of Circe, witch of Aeaea and daughter of Helios, into a fresh and vibrant tale for contemporary listeners. Long depicted as a villainous foil for male heroics, the witch is redeemed and enriched by Miller’s nuanced writing. Weeks’ cool British intonations and attuned performance capture Circe’s evolution from youthful uncertainty amid scorn from richly characterized fellow deities to a confidence earned from centuries of island exile. Her first-person perspective creates intimacy as she engages fabled…

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Comfort Audiobooks That Will Brighten Your Day

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I’ve been under the weather with a very bad cold, and there hasn’t been much that’s made me happy, with the exception of Simon Prebble’s narration of THE PERFECT LOVER (Harper Audio) by Stephanie Laurens. Whenever the misery gets especially miserable, I hit play and sink into his all-encompassing storytelling. THE PERFECT LOVER is one of Laurens’s early “Cynster” novels, recently recorded by Prebble, and it makes ideal comfort listening. The main character, Simon (okay, yes, two Simons), arrives at a Regency house party and is immediately intrigued by a longtime acquaintance, Portia. Prebble’s aloof yet dominant voice for Cynster embodies aristocratic arrogance without a smidge of overacting. (Important aside — I would really like that voice for the emergency alert system on the…

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Behind the Scenes of David Grann’s The Old Man and the Gun

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Narrator Mark Deakins takes AudioFile listeners behind the scenes of David Grann’s THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN, a collection of three of Grann’s New Yorker articles. The title story, about a gentleman bank robber and prison escape artist who is still plying his craft in his 70s, inspired a movie of the same name, out now and starring Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek. “I’ve had the pleasure of narrating Mr. Grann’s work on a number of occasions, and I have always found the stories that he recounts to be well worth the time reading or listening.”—Narrator Mark Deakins THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN: And Other Tales of True Crime by David Grann, read by Mark Deakins Random House Audio These three stories of…

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Great American Listening: Our Country’s Top Picks

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PBS has just concluded a national survey and an eight-part series that explored and celebrated the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels: THE GREAT AMERICAN READ. The final results just released put TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD definitively on top, with four finalists: the Outlander series, the Harry Potter series, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, and the Lord of the Rings series. What strikes me with these favorites is that many of them offer spectacular listening. There is just one recording of MOCKINGBIRD available—a respectful straight-up narration by Sissy Spacek as Scout telling the story. However, for the #2 title, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, we’ve reviewed five unabridged versions, and at least eight are available on Audible. Josephine Bailey’s P & P got an Earphones Award from us,…

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Susan Orlean Pays Tribute to Libraries in Newest Audiobook

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Could you burn a book? Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief, contemplates the idea in her book that’s part memoir, part tribute to libraries and librarians. Intriguing and fascinating, the audiobook, read by the author, is full of bizarre factoids about the Los Angeles Public Library and the library’s catastrophic 1986 fire. Published by Simon & Schuster Audio. Read the full review of THE LIBRARY BOOK at audiofilemagazine.com For more free audiobook recommendations, sign up for AudioFile Magazine’s newsletter. On today’s episode are Jo Reed and AudioFile Magazine publisher Michele Cobb. Support for Behind the Mic comes from Grammy Award-winning publisher Hachette Audio, home to works by James Patterson, JK Rowling, Joel Osteen, David Sedaris, David Baldacci, Elin Hilderbrand, Michael Connelly,…

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“Running into the Dark:” Marathoner’s Motivational Memoir

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Were you following the New York City Marathon this weekend? Author Jason Romero and narrator Gary Galone share the story behind RUNNING INTO THE DARK, a motivational listen that just might get you to tie on your running shoes. Romero, who is legally blind, had a pretty extreme requirement for the narrator of his audiobook memoir—run the Boston Marathon along with him as his guide. “I had to stop more than a few times to gather myself while reading this amazing story of perseverance.”—Narrator Gary Galone RUNNING INTO THE DARK by Jason Romero, read by Gary Galone Jason Romero, an experienced lawyer, finds himself unemployed and losing his sight from an incurable degenerative retinal disease. He learns to run distances that…

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Stephen King’s Latest Audiobook – Read By The Author Himself

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Listeners expecting another macabre tale from Stephen King may be surprised by this audiobook—but pleasantly so. A timely tale about finding common ground, the story is set in the familiar town of Castle Rock, a place where, as in all small towns, people have deep-rooted differences. It’s narrated by the author, who has a keen sense of pacing and fun accents for his Maine characters. And for readers who appreciate King’s short stories, a bonus included in the audiobook is “Laurie,” a tender short story about a man and his dog. Published by Simon & Schuster Audio. Read the full review of ELEVATION at audiofilemagazine.com For more free audiobook recommendations, sign up for AudioFile Magazine’s newsletter. On today’s episode are Jo…

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10 October Earphones Award Winners

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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. WILD FIRE By Ann Cleeves, read by Kenny Blyth (Macmillan Audio) Narrator Kenny Blyth’s peat-warm voice lures listeners to northern Scotland as DI Jimmy Perez investigates the murder of a young nanny in Cleeves’ latest Shetland Islands mystery.  Blyth offers excellent characterization and fine control of English and Scottish accents in this fine tale of a village changed by…

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Recommendations of Audiobooks Tied to Extreme Weather

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What’s a body to do that’s any more cooling than tucking into some extreme weather audiobooks—and a supply of rotating beverage choices? Here are some suggestions courtesy of AudioFile Magazine. Eliot Kleinberg’s Black Cloud: The Deadly Hurricane of 1928 (The Florida Historical Society Press), narrated effectively and affectingly by Lee Ann Howlett, restores dignity to the thousands who suffered through the Caribbean storm. Among a welcome crop of 21st-century histories that give voice to the poor and downtrodden of society as well as the traditional accounts of those with more political capital, the combined compassion of author and performer give contemporary listeners pause to reflect on how even massive natural events lead to widely ranging experiences. Pair this with Zora Neal…

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Four Witty Audiobooks About Family Togetherness

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I love my family, in all its born-into, married-into, blended, extended exuberance. Yet it’s around now in the family-togetherness season—generally while navigating a gluten-free, paleo, plant-based meal—that I want to shout, Enough already! Trusting that you might feel the same, I recommend comforting yourself with the following audiobooks about family life in its entire messy embrace. Want more BookTrib? Sign up NOW for news and giveaways! Stephen McCauley’s new novel My Ex-Life (Flatiron Books), engagingly read by George Newbern, introduces us to David, who is gay; his ex-wife; and their college-bound child. When his ex-wife needs advice about her upcoming divorce, she turns to David. It’s very funny, totally real, and, for me, recognizable. When my married-into family gathers at public events, we…

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Eight Portraits of Nelson Mandela in Audiobooks

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Earlier this summer marked the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. With celebrations and tributes happening around the world, I wanted to share eight audiobooks that offer unique portraits of the South African leader. In the audio medium, we cannot only hear Mandela’s voice in speeches and interviews, but also experience his memoirs and other writing. Want more BookTrib? Sign up NOW for news and giveaways! In the engaging new audiobook Going to the Mountain (Hachette), Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba, shares his “Life Lessons from My Grandfather.” Ndaba presents the introduction, and then narrator Michael Boatman takes over. With keen professional skill, Boatman brings listeners intimately to the memoir. For listeners, this casting is serendipitous, since Boatman narrated Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to…

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