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1. Best Audiobooks of 2012

yma-2012-alert

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, a list of top teen audios from the American Library Association’s YALSA division, will be finalized during the upcoming Midwinter conference. I’ve copied the (huge!) list of nominations below, plus you’ll want to check out the past lists on the Amazing Audiobooks website:  http://www.ala.org/yalsa/amazing-audiobooks. And here are more  than a dozen links to other Best of 2012 Audiobook lists: http://audiobooker.booklistonline.com/2013/01/16/best-audiobooks-of-2012-3/

I am honored to serve on this year’s committee, where we’ve listened to a terrific bunch of  fiction & nonfiction titles for listeners ages 12-18. You are welcome to sit in on our discussions this weekend, but be advised that the times are subject to change, if we decide on our final list and Top Ten selections early. Plus, the list of titles discussed may vary from the list of nominations (as of Dec 4)  below. Here’s where and when we are meeting:  All meetings take place in the St James room of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel

* Friday: 8:30-5:30pm (with a break for lunch)
* Saturday: 1-5:30pm
* Sunday: 8:30-5:30pm (with a break for lunch)

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, Nomination List as of Dec 4, 2012:

Above World by Jenn Reese. Read by Kate Rudd. Brilliance, 2012. 7 hours, 50 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-5192-8. Aluna and Hoku are Kampaii (mermaid people) who find out their people are going to eventually die.  They come to the above world to find out more and save their families lives.

The Accused (Theodore Boone series) by John Grisham. Read by Richard Thomas. Penguin, 2012. 5 hours, 30 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-6117-6064-4.
Future lawyer (and current 8th grader) Theodore Boone is set up as the prime suspect in a computer robbery, and efforts to find the real thief diminish the ongoing problem of Philip Duffey and his disappearance at the beginning of his second murder trial and Miss Petunia’s problem with her spitting llama.

Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Read by Emily Janice Card. Books on Tape, 2012. 9 hours, 4 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-3079-7071-8. The earth starts slowing down in its rotation.  Julia and her family deal with all the environmental consequences of this “slowing.”  While the known world of animals, plants, magnetism, and weather shift, Julia grows up with personal shifts like her father’s affair, her first boyfriend, her mother’s sickness, her best friend’s meanness, and her grandfather’s disappearance.

Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones (Alcatraz series) by Brian Sanderson. Read by Ramon De Ocampo. Recorded Books, 2012. 7 hours; 6 discs. 978-1-4618-0833-6. Every Smedry has a talent. Alcatraz Smedry’s talent is for breaking things–which isn’t always a bad thing. Alcatraz must find his father and grandfather in the library of Alexandria while battling the soul-sucking curators guarding the Library.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher. Read by Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library, 2011. 10 hours, 40 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-307-94229-6. With his mother working long hours and in pain from a romantic break-up, eighteen-year-old Logan feels alone and unloved until a zany new student arrives at his small-town Missouri high school, keeping a big secret.

Angelfall by Susan Ee. Read by Caitlin Davies. Brilliance, 2012. 8 hours, 50 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4692-2237-0. Penryn Young, her younger sister Paige (who uses a wheelchair), and their schizophrenic mother find themselves pulled into a conflict between angels on the gang-controlled streets of Silicon Valley. They survive, but Penryn’s sister is kidnapped in the process.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber. Read by Steven Boyer. Recorded Books, 2011. 5 hours; 5 discs. 978-1-4498-6133-9. Ferris Bueller meets Kill Bill:  On prom night, Perry discovers that Gobi, the dishwater dull Lithuanian exchange student his family has been hosting, is actually a beautiful and deadly assassin on a personal mission to kill the people responsible for her beloved sister’s abduction and death.

Behind the Masks (Dear America Series) by Susan Patron. Read by Cassandra Campbell. Scholastic, 2012. 5 books, 49 minutes; 5 discs. 978-0-5453-9170-2. The town of Bodie, California is being held hostage by the vigilante group 601. Angeline’s lawyer father is murdered but she and her mother refuse to believe that news, Angeline begins her writing career with a local group called The Horribles, and historical mores of the day have an impact on a young Chinese girl and a former prostitute.

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando. Read by Ali Ahn. Recorded Books, 2012. 6 hours, 45 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4640-4920-0. In a single afternoon and night, Mary and friends, collectively the “Also-Rans,” participate in an unsanctioned but beloved Senior Week tradition, the scavenger hunt. As they solve clues and pick up weird and wacky items, Mary considers her high school years, her future, and her relationships.

Blizzard of Glass by Sally M. Walker. Read by Paul Michael. Listening Library, 2012. 2 hours, 51 minutes; 3 discs. 978-0-4490-1466-0. In December 1917, a ship carrying munitions for World War I exploded in Halifax Harbor with a destructive force not rivaled until the creation of the atomic bomb. Walker tells the story of the lives of several local families on that fateful morning.

The Blood (Morpheus Road series) by D.J. MacHale. Read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance, 2012. 10 hours, 43 minutes; 9 discs. 978-1-4233-9787-8. Damon has been trying to break down the barrier between the worlds of the living and the dead, and now the final showdown between him and Marshall and Cooper has arrived.

The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau. Read by Simon Vance. Tantor, 2012. 6 hours; 5 discs. 978-1-4526-0597-5. Jonas comes to America from a war-torn country at age 15. He tries to adapt to his surroundings, but incidents that happened in the days before he left his country have changed him. His story is forever intwined with a young American soldier, whose story is told as well.

Brendan Buckley’s Sixth-Grade Experiment by Sundee T. Frazier. Read by Mirron Willis. Listening Library, 2012. 6 hours, 47 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-3079-4281-4. Brendan Buckley has the sixth-grade blues. He loves science and has lots of questions about life, but he has problems … such as girls. Will Brendan survive the sixth grade?

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison. Read by Therese Plummer. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 25 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-9402-4. Lo’s OCD collecting leads her to pick up a butterfly figurine she knows is from the home of a murdered stripper.

Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid series) by Jeff Kinney. Read by Ramon de Ocampo. Recorded Books, 2011. 2 hours, 15 minutes; 2 discs. 978-1-4640-2145-9. After sort-of-but-not-really vandalizing school property, a blizzard hits, trapping Greg inside with his family in the fifth installation of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (Enola Holmes series) by Nancy Springer. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Recorded Books, 2011. 3 hours, 15 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4498-4475-2. Enola Holmes finds herself tangled up in yet another mystery but this time it’s personal!  Not only has someone tossed about her personal belongings and those of her landlady, Mrs. Tupper but they’ve kidnapped the poor old dear as well!

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg. Read by Suzy Jackson. Recorded Books, 2012. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4640-3351-3. Brie died of a broken heart … literally. Now in “heaven,” she is about to learn what love and friendship are really about.

Clara’s War by Kathy Kacer. Read by Eileen Stevens. Brilliance, 2012. 4 hours, 42 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-4558-4917-8.
Thirteen-year-old Clara and her family are moved to Terezin, a ghetto for Jews in Poland during World War II. She is separated from her parents and brother, and she spends close to two years in horrible conditions that are relieved by performing in an opera.

Code Name Verity by Edlizabeth Wein. Read by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell. Bolinda, 2012. 10 hours; 9 discs. 978-1-7428-5764-0. The intertwined lives of two young British women are transformed by World War Two.

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex. Read by Oliver Whyman. Listening Library, 2012. 9 hours, 31 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-4490-1046-4. Scott, a new student who seems to have acquired a leprechaun named Mick, is befriended by twins Erno and Emily, as all three discover the Goodco Cereal Company is perhaps not as “good” as it claims to be.

Come August, Come Freedom by Gigi Amateau. Read by J.D. Jackson. Brilliance, 2012. 5 hours, 4 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4692-0628-8. Historical fiction based on the a true story of a young man born into slavery and his desire to be free.

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix. Read by Michael Goldstrom. Listening Library, 2012. 9 hours, 44 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-7393-6828-2. Semi-clueless young Prince Khemri must learn the workings of an intergalactic empire than includes countless other princes, all connected to the Imperial Mind. His chief of Assassins, Hadadd, serves as his guide and protector as the two set out on a secret mission.

Crusher by Niall Leonard. Read by Daniel Weyman. Listening Library, 2012. 978-0-3853-6841-4. Finn Maguire returns home after a shift at his dead-end job to find his father bludgeoned to death and the book he was working on stolen.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick. Read by Luke Daniels. Brilliance, 2011. 5 hours, 8 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-6110-6147-5. After an injury destroys Pete’s future as a high school baseball star, he immerses himself in photography.  But Pete’s grandfather, his role model in the art, is showing signs of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Dancing Carl by Gary Paulsen. Read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance, 2012. 2 hours, 21 minutes; 2 discs. 978-1-4692-4070-1. Winter in McKinley, MN revolves around the rinks, playing hockey, skating, but the year Marsh and Willy turn twelve Dancing Carl appears and makes this winter stand out from all the rest.

Dear Teen Me, edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally. Read by Julia Whelan and MacLeod Andrews. Brilliance, 2012. 6 hours, 31 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4692-5301-5. Several YA authors write letters to their teen selves and give them advice on the important things in life.

The Death Cure (Maze Runner series) by James Dashner. Read by Mark Deakins. Listening Library, 2011. 8 hours, 55 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-307-70697-3. In the third and final installment of The Maze Runner Trilogy, Thomas and his fellow survivors must complete one more challenge to let WICKED find a cure for “The Flare”.

The Diviners by Libba Bray. Read by January LaVoy. Listening Library, 2012. 18 hours, 15 minutes; 15 discs. 978-0-4498-0875-7. Evie comes to live with her uncle in New York City.  Evie learns she has a special power, while there is a killer loose in the city.  She helps her uncle track the killer down, while learning more about her power and dealing with supernatural beings.  All the while trying to have a great time in the exciting city of New York.

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi. Read by Joshua Swanson. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 48 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-5810-1. Mahlia and Mouse are bound to each other in the dark, rebel-run world they live in. When Mouse is forced to join one of the rebel groups, Mahlia and her newfound companion Tool risk their lives to get him back.

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick. Read by Kathleen McInerney. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 52 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4692-0761-2. Jenna has been surrounded by abusive behavior all her life and now she has found someone who truly cares about her, but will that be enough to stop cutting?

Empire of Night by Justin Somper. Read by Daniel Philpott. Recorded Books, 2012. 12 hours, 15 minutes; 10 discs. 978-1-4618-3394-9. Twins Connor and Grace Tempest discover they are “dhampires,” half vampire and half human, and must decide where their loyalty falls.

Enchanted by Althea Kontis. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Brilliance, 2012. 7 hours, 49 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4692-0292-1.
Sunday Woodcutter, seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, meets an enchanted, talking frog in the forest. As she tells him stories, he shares his name of Grumble and tells of the life he remembers before he was changed to a frog.

Every Day by David Levithan. Read by Alex McKenna. Listening Library, 2012. 8 hours, 26 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-4490-1522-3. A wakes up every morning in a different body and life.  A gets used to this, but one day A meets a girl and falls in love.  Can A find a way to stay in one place, one life so they can live and love forever?

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King. Read by Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library, 2012. 7 hours, 44 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-4490-1473-8. Lucky Linderman has been bullied by Nader McMillian for ten years, but his self-absorbed parents have turned a blind eye. Lucky escapes the torture of his high school peers by retreating into daydreams where he learns combat techniques from his grandfather, a a Vietnam War P.O.W.

Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger. Read by Jonathan Todd Ross. Recorded Books, 2012. 3 hours, 25 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4640-4609-4. Lenny loans Casper money for a fake mustache, but little do they know it will lead to plans for political domination.

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Read by Charlie McWade. Scholastic, 2011. 8 hours, 14 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-5453-9166-5. Orphaned street thief Sage is purchased, along with other orphaned boys, by nobleman Conner to be trained and schooled as the lost Prince Jaron.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Read by Kate Rudd. Brilliance, 2011. 7 hours, 19 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4558-6987-9.
Hazel is ill and meets a boy in a cancer support group and while looking at death, they learn about life and love.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak. Read by Stig Wemyss. Brilliance, 2011. 3 hours, 56 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-4558-4348-0. With their father unemployed and their family losing cohesion, brothers Cameron and Ruben Wolfe get involved in an underground boxing circuit to raise money–and find out what it means to be a Fighting Wolfe.

The Fire Chronicle (Book of Beginnings series) by John Stephens. Read by Jim Dale. Listening Library, 2012. 12 hours, 22 minutes; 10 discs. 978-0-3078-7982-0. Kate is separated from Michael and Emma by a hundred years and they must find the second Book of Beginnings before Kate is lost to them forever.

Flock (Stork series) by Wendy Delsol. Read by Julia Whelan. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 45 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4692-0631-8. Katla is a Stork who delivers to souls to newborns, but she is also a senior in high school whose senior year is severly complicated by the arrival of two Norse mythology characters. They want to collect Katla’s new baby sister, and she wants to prevent that — even though that was part of the bargain that saved Katla’s boyfriend, Jack Frost.

The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston. Read by Jessica Almasy. Brilliance, 2011. 5 hours, 36 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-1639-2. Loa struggles to cope with the nightmares and hallucinations of her PTSD, brought on by the deaths of her baby sister and, more recently, her childhood friend.

The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman. Read by Robin Miles. Listening Library, 2012. 8 hours, 19 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-4990-1463-9. In 1960, during a visit to her family’s home on the site of a Louisiana sugar plantation, 13-year-old Sophie is magically transported back in time to slavery days. Tanned and dirty, she is mistaken for a very light-skinned slave and discovers what life was like in the big house, the slave cabins, and the fields, before playing a crucial role in the escape of teenaged Antigua.

Friend is Not a Verb by Daniel Ehrenhaft. Read by Fred Berman, Emily Bauer, Elisabeth Rodgers, and Joe Barrett. Brilliance, 2011. 6 hours, 5 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-5817-0. Henry (Hen) has to deal with his sister’s disappearance, re-appearance, and second disappearance while he learns how to play bass in a band called Dawson’s Freak (a 90s nostalgia band), learns how to fall in love, and learns who he really is.

Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak. Read by Stig Wemyss. Brilliance, 2011. 4 hours, 41 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-4558-4343-5. The mutual attraction between Cameron and his brother’s ex-girlfriend causes a rift between them, until a near-tragedy reaffirms the strength of the Wolfe family bonds.  Meanwhile, Cam is discovering his talents as a writer.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. Read by Jennifer Ikeda. Recorded Books, 2012. 12 hours, 15 minutes; 10 discs. 978-1-4640-4936-1. Princess Elisa, the younger daughter of the King of Orovalle, has been given the Godstone, signifying special powers. Unfortunately, she doesn’t feel special, eats to compensate, and has been given in marriage to King Alejandro to ally his country with her father’s.

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina. Read by Cristina Panfilio. Brilliance, 2012. 5 hours, 2 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-5196-6. Everyone in Tres Montes has always looked to Sonia for their protection and blessings, but it took her leaving her home to find her true strength.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. Read by Ben MacLaine, Hamish R. Johnson, and Chelsea Bruland. Listening Library, 2012. 6 hours, 5 minutes; 5 discs. 978-0-3079-6819-7. On the night of her graduation, Lucy is on a mission to find Shadow, the graffiti artist whose work she loves.  However as the night ensues, she may find that Shadow is closer than she thinks.

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin series) by Robin LaFevers. Read by Erin moon. Recorded Books, 2012. 14 hours, 15 minutes; 12 discs. 978-1-4640-2383-5. The first of the His Fair Assassin series, Grave Mercy follows novitiate Ismae as she serves Mortain, the God of Death, while becoming embroiled in the political machinations of royal court life in medieval Brittany – not to mention falling in love with the dashing Gavriel Duval. Hidden by Sophie Jordan.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr. Read by Ariadne Meyers and Cassandra Morris. Listening Library, 2012. 9 hours, 54 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-3079-6872-2. Jill’s life has already been turned upside down by her father’s death, but now her mother is complicating things further by adopting a baby from Mandy, a teen girl she’s never met before. Mandy’s mother never wanted her, so she’s determined to make a better life for her baby. Both girls must learn to trust each other.

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor. Read by Suzy Jackson. Recorded Books, 2012. 4 hours; 4 discs. 978-1-4640-2369-9. Georgina plots to get her family out of despair and homelessness. She steals a dog to try to earn reward money, but instead makes new friends and learns lessons.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Read by Charlie Thurston. AudioGO, 2012. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-6111-3187-1. When murders begin to happen in his small-town, 17-year-old Jazz finds that suspicion falls upon him — not surprising, as he is the son of the notorious mass-murderer Billy Dent, who carefully trained Jazz to follow in his footsteps until Jazz’s “Dear Old Dad” was put behind bars. Can Jazz’s knowledge of the inner workings of a madman’s mind help catch the killer?

Inheritance (Inheritance series) by Christopher Paolini. Read by Gerard Doyle. Listening Library, 2011. 31 hours, 5 minutes; 24 discs. 978-0-7393-7250-0. In this concluding volume, the epic battle to dethrone Galbatorix will take place. Former farm boy Eragon and his blue dragon Saphira have practiced sword fighting and magic and readied themselves for these final battles, but are unsure of their success. Various friends and relatives aid them on their quest as Eragon allies with the dwarves, elves, werecats, and urgals of Alaagesia.

The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist series) by Rick Yancey. Read by Steven Boyer. Recorded Books, 2011. 14 hours, 30 minutes; 12 discs. 978-1-4407-3657-5. In this third tale of monstrumologist Pellinor Warthrop and his young apprentice Will Henry, the two travel to Africa in search of a creature that crafts intricate nests of human body parts, the bits and pieces bound by a toxic goo capable of turning anyone unlucky enough to touch it into a murderous monster.

Kill You Last by Todd Strasser. Read by Emily Bauer. Brilliance, 2011. 5 hours, 35 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-2551-6.
Shelby’s family is under police investigation and with the help of two friends, she figures out who is really to blame and whom she can ultimately trust.

The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl series) by Eoin Colfer. Read by Nathaniel Parker. Listening Library, 2012. 7 hours, 40 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-3079-9121-8. Opal Koboi is reanimating fairy warriors on the Fowl Estate, and if Artemis can’t stop her, Armageddon will surely follow.

Liberator (Worldshaker series) by Richard Harland. Read by Adrian Mulraney. Bolinda, 2012. 11 hours, 33 minutes; 10 discs. 978-1-7431-8115-7. After the takeover and the renaming of the Worldshaker by the Filthies, the remaining upper-class passengers (Swanks) work hard to keep the peace and help out, but a saboteur aboard tries to break up the peace.

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown. Read by MacLeod Andrews. Listening Library, 2012. 8 hours, 24 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-4490-1032-7. A murderous family of mermaids wants to pay a old family debt of revenge. The only brother of the siblings unfortunately falls in love with a human and is forced to choose between love and family.

Light From a Distant Star by Mary McGarry Morris. Read by Amy Rubinate. Blackstone, 2011. 13 hours; 11 discs. 978-1-4551-2283-7. The discovery of the body of Dolly Bedelia, her family’s tenant in the apartment attached to their home, bothers Nellie Peck, but she’s even more disturbed by everyone’s assumption that the murderer is her grandfather’s helper, Max Devaney. For 13-year-old Nellie, the ensuring events force her on a journey to maturity.

Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough. Read by Anne Flosnik. Brilliance, 2012. 10 hours, 6 minutes; 9 discs. 978-1-4558-5198-0. Cora and her sister come to live with their great aunt and they accidentally awaken an evil that has possessed the town for years.

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan. Read by Angela Dawe. Brilliance, 2011. 9 hours, 13 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-2051-1. Rosalinda Fitzroy has been in stasis for 62 years when she is awakened by a kiss. Everyone she knows has been long dead and though she has been “alive” only sixteen years, she will inherit her parents’ huge interplanetary empire.

The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus series) by Rick Riordan. Read by Joshua Swanson. Books on Tape, 2012. 15 hours, 9 minutes; 12 discs. 978-0-4490-1452-3.Percy, Annabeth, Piper, Jason, Leo, Frank, and Hazel must team up, despite being a mix of Greek and Roman demigods, to stop Gaea from rising and destroying everything on the planet.

The Mark of the Golden Dragon (Jacky Faber series) by LA Meyer. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Listen and Live Audio, 2011. 11 hours; 8 discs. 978-1-5931-6593-2. On her way to serve her sentence in an Australian penal colony, Jacky Faber is swept overboard during a typhoon and lives to continue her lively adventures and her desire to save her beloved Jamie.

Me the People by Kevin Bleyer. Read by Kevin Bleyer. Random House, 2012. 12 hours; 10 discs. 978-0-4490-0913-0. The author/narrator undertakes the project to rewrite the US Constitution to make it a true statement of laws from “we, the people” instead of the obvious failure it is in its present form.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Read by Jesse Bernstein. Listening Library, 2011. 9 hours, 42 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-4490-1385-4. Jacob travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales, tracking a mysterious message whispered to him by his grandfather as he breathed his last breath at the hands of the “monsters.”

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Read by Jason Isaacs. Brilliance, 2011. 4 hours, 1 minute; 4 discs plus 1 bonus disc with digital content. 978-1-4558-2249-2. Conor, coping with his mother’s progressing cancer, is visited at night by a monster who wants to tell and hear stories.

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Macmillan, 2012. 8 hours; 7 discs. 978-1-4272-2217-6. Hester is a contemporary teen whose soul links her to 300 years of cursed women. The curse began with a mermaid who gave up her fins for love of a man. Now Hester loves the same man.

Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen. Read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance, 2011. 2 hours, 41 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4558-0908-0. Finn meets new neighbor Johanna, who is being treated for breast cancer, and his life changes in one summer more than he could have ever imagined or hoped for.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin. Read by Mark Bramhall. Listening Library, 2012. 6 hours, 51 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-4490-1498-1. From birth to death, this covers the rise to hero and the fall to traitor that was the life Benedict Arnold.

October Mourning by Leslea Newman. Read by Emily Beresford, Luke Daniels, Tom Parks, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, and Christina Traister. Brilliance, 2012. 1 hour, 20 minutes; 2 discs. 978-1-4692-0636-3. A collection of poems that seeks to tell a fictionalized account of Matthew Shepard’s life and murder.

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls series) by Ally Carter. Read by Renee Raudman. Brilliance, 2012. 7 hours, 47 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-7972-4. Cammie has amnesia when she wakes up in the Swiss Alps in a convent. She returns to the school run by her mother that trains girls to be international spies, but her memory does not return until events of derring-do and heart-stopping danger “unstop” her mind.

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins. Read by multiple narrators. Simon & Shuster, 2011. 8 hours; 7 discs. 978-1-4423-4493-8. This companion novel to Hopkins’s Impuse explores what lies beneath the surface of a group of affluent teens who appear to have it all, revealing hard truths about sexuality, abuse and addiction. Written in chapters that alternate between characters.

Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie. Read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance, 2012. 9 hours, 8 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4692-0637-0. Haunted by the death of his brother, TJ, Matt uncovers secrets about TJ’s life as a soldier when three foot lockers are delivered to the house.

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow. Read by Bruce Mann. Books on Tape, 2012. 978-0-3078-7959-2. Trent’s artistic passion is sampling movies downloaded from the Internet and recombining them into his own creations.  But in a slightly in the future England, such “piracy” can result in a family’s loss of the ‘net–and a prison sentence.  Running away to London, Trent finds like-minded friends and spearheads a campaign to change the law.

The Princess of Iowa by M. Molly Backes. Read by Shelby Lewis. Brilliance, 2012. 12 hours, 39 minutes; 11 discs. 978-1-4558-5201-7. Though Paige has grown up knowing she will be a princess her senior year, life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect and in Paige’s life, this could be a good thing.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Read by Will Patton. Scholastic, 2012. 11 hours, 9 minutes; 10 discs. 978-0-5454-6593-9. Blue has rules, and one of them is to stay away from Raven Boys, rich students at Aglionby, the local private school. But when she sees one of them in a ritual with her psychic mother that indicates he is either her true love or that he will die this year, she finds herself pulled into his and his friends’ quest to find a lost Welsh king.

Rebel Fire (Young Sherlock Holmes series) by Andrew Lane. Read by Daniel Weyman. Macmillan, 2012. 7 hours, 30 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4272-1360-0. 14-year-old Sherlock Holmes discovers John Wilkes Booth, deranged and injured after his assassination of Lincoln, in England. He follows him to the United States and foils the plans to rebuild the Confederacy and the plans of the U.S. Army to exterminate the neo-Confederates.

The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy  by James Cross Gilbin. Read by Elisabeth Rodgers. Brilliance, 2011. 9 hours, 50 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-5843-3. The story of Senator Joe McCarthy: who he was, how he achieved a position of almost unlimited power, and how the American system of government ultimately brought him down.

The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein. Read by Wanda McCaddon. Tantor, 2011. 13 hours; 10 discs. 978-1-4526-0598-2. Arrested by soldiers from the Hungarian Army, Sara [Seren] is brought to Ravensbruck concentration camp where she, her sister Esther, and two friends are subjected to the vile treatment meted out to Jewish prisoners by the German guards.

See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles. Read by Kate Rudd. Brilliance, 2012. 5 hours, 49 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-8958-7. The four siblings endure humiliation through their restaurant father’s attempts to promote the family business, including photos of them wearing “See You at Harry’s” t-shirts, to the addition of their three-year-old brother Charley’s face on the ice cream truck. Beginning middle school, 12-year-old Fern is mortified when classmates pick up the ‘see you at Harry’s’ chant; 14-year-old Holden struggles with admitting he’s gay; 18-year-old Sarah works at the family restaurant; and 3-year-old Charley keeps the family laughing … until the day he dies and each family member feels a different sort of guilt.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Read by Mandy Williams. Listening Library, 2012. 13 hours, 15 minutes; 11 discs. 978-0-3079-6894-4. Seraphina’s heritage as daughter of a human father and a dragon mother has been kept hidden, but now that she’s the assistant to the music master at court, she must be even more careful to hide the few bands of scales on her body. As dissension rises between humans and dragons, her unusual abilities draw her into the center of the conflict.

The Serpent’s Shadow (Kane Chronicles) by Rick Riordan. Read by Katherine Kellgren and Kevin R. Free. Brilliance, 2012. 11 hours, 29 minutes; 10 discs. 978-1-4558-0845-8. In this final (for now) installment of the Kane Chronicles, siblings Carter and Sadie lead the House of Life and an assortment of Egyptian gods in a final battle against the serpent Apophis and the forces of Chaos.

Shadows (Ashes trilogy) by Ilsa J. Bick. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Brilliance, 2012. 13 hours, 16 minutes; 11 discs. 978-1-4558-5849-1. The story of Alex’s struggle to survive her own demons as well as the Changed continue in this second installment of the Ashes trilogy.

Shine by Lauren Myracle. Read by Elizabeth Evans. Brilliance, 2011. 8 hours, 59 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4558-7960-1. Cat severed ties with her friends a few years ago, but when one of her former friends, Patrick, is the victim of a hate crime targeting him for being gay, Cat is determined to find out who’s responsible.

Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott. Read by Benjamin L. Darcie. Brilliance, 2012. 3 hours, 33 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4558-8638-8. Living as a foster child after his beloved mother dies, D is taken in by Mrs. Martin, a white, elderly foster mother. When she also takes in a crack baby, D spends more time away from his Brooklyn home but is luckily befriended by two other African American students at his school, Hakeem and Nyla. A bird watching trip in Prospect Park leads the three on a supernatural journey that ends at the African Burial Ground in Manhattan.

Son by Lois Lowry. Read by Bernadette Dunne. Books on Tape, 2012. 8 hours, 11 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-4490-1448-6. In this sequel to The Giver, young Claire is assigned her role as a birth mother, gives birth to “product” number 36, but then is decertified and sent to the fish hatchery. She accidentally hears of her son, number 36, and develops an unusual interest in him, which leads to her willingness to give up everything to spend time with him.

Spies of Mississippi by Rick Bowers. Read by Peter Jay Fernandez. Recorded Books, 2011. 2 hours, 45 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4498-5102-6. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission was created in Mississippi to keep its 200 years of segregation a way of life during the tumultuous Sixties and the rise of the Civil Rights Movement.

Starters by Lissa Price. Read by Rebecca Lowman. Listening Library, 2012. 10 hours, 20 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-3079-6836-4. Callie attempts to save her ill younger brother by going to work for Prime Destinations, where her young body will be rented by an Ender for a few weeks, during which time the 150-year-old Ender can re-experience youth and agility. This new “job” exposes Callie to Prime Destinations’s real plans, which extend far beyond simple “renting” young bodies like hers. Murder, brain surgery, bombs, desperation, and love sweep Callie along.

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal. Read by Sean Runnette. Macmillan, 2012. 5 minutes, 53 seconds; downloadable. 978-1-4272-2566-5. This biography of Steve Jobs takes him from birth to his death last year.

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski. Read by Natalie Ross. Brilliance, 2011. 4 hours, 37 minutes; 4 discs. 978-1-4558-3492-1. Birdi’s family, the Boyers, move to the farm next door to the Sleators where the Boyers plan to raise strawberries and ship them north on the railroad, a new concept to the Sleators who have squatted on the land for years and let their scrawny cattle run wild. Florida of the late 1930s and early 1940s is so backwoods that the people are proud of the their “cracker” culture, or lack thereof. The Boyers face outright hostility from the Sleators, a grass fire, livestock poisoning, the school teacher getting beat up, and the daily hard work of bringing strawberries or any crop to the table.

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach. Read by Fred Berman. Recorded Books, 2011. 8 hours; 7 discs. 978-1-4618-1640-9. Felton Reinstein already has a lot to deal with in his life besides unpopularity: his dad’s suicide ten years earlier, his mom’s sudden weirdness, a little brother who’s a piano prodigy, and his best friend’s news that he’ll be spending the entire summer in Venezuela. As if that isn’t enough, the summer he turns sixteen, Felton hits puberty and it hits back, hard, with height and hair and muscle and blazing speed–and suddenly, Felton Reinstein, nerd extraordinaire, turns into a top football prospect.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. Read by Jessica Roland. Brilliance, 2011. 7 hours, 12 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4558-5855-2. A white bear offers a woodcutter money for his daughter’s company. She ends up learning about patience, compassion, and friendship and falling in love.

Superman Versus the Ku Klux Klan by Rick Bowers. Read by Johnny Heller. Recorded Books, 2012. 3 hours, 30 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4640-4022-1. This nonfiction work recounts the creation of the Superman character by two Jewish boys and how the character developed through comics, newspapers, and radio shows. Then the account changes to the rise and fall and rise again of the Ku Klux Klan until the Superman franchise hits on the scheme of pitting Superman against the Klan in 16 episodes of the radio show.

Take My Advice (Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker series) by Robin Palmer. Read by Shana Dowdswell. Brilliance, 2012. 5 hours, 14 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4558-5879-8.
Lucy B. Parker takes the job of writing the advice column at school, and she proves to be a success at it, while she can’t take her own advice. Her problems run the usual teen girl gamut,  from asking a boy to a dance to getting her first period to living with her blended families.

Tempest by Julie Cross. Read by Matthew Brown. Macmillan, 2012. 11 hours; 9 discs. 978-1-4272-1502-4. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a rich kid with a great girlfriend. His life is normal—except for the fact that he can time travel. Although it’s not normal time travel—he can go to the past, but his actions have no affect on the future. That is, until mysterious men barge into his girlfriend’s dorm and shoot her. Watching his girlfriend gasp for breath, Jackson unwillingly time travels two years into the past, to 2007, but this time, he’s actually there and he can’t return to his present.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. Read by Michal Friedman. Penguin, 2012. 8 hours; 7 discs. 978-1-6117-6136-8.
A murder brings police to the little town of Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, and into the lives of Mo Lobeau, her colorful foster parents Lana and The Colonel, and their friends and neighbors.   Is The Colonel, who has suffered from amnesia for twelve years, somehow involved in a crime?  And will Mo ever find the Upstream Mother who abandoned her as a baby at the height of a hurricane?

Tiltawhirl John by Gary Paulsen. Read by Todd Haberkorn. Brilliance, 2012. 3 hours; 3 discs. 978-1-4692-4129-6. A young runaway spends time in a labor camp picking beets until he and the owner tangle, causing the teen to flee until he’s picked up by a carny ride operator named Tiltawhirl John, who learns that sometimes a runaway needs to return home.

Titanic: Voices From the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson. Read by Mark Bramhall and Peter Altschuler with additional voices. Listening Library, 2012. 4 hours, 55 minutes; 978-0-4490-1505-6. This nonfiction account of the sinking of Titanic is woven of the testimony of survivors and witnesses, including a nine-year-old, a stewardess, a high school senior, a seaman, a mother, and many others.

True Legend by Mike Lupica. Read by Prentice Onayemi. Pengin, 2012. 7 hours; 6 discs. 978-1-6117-6100-9. Drew Robinson is such a great basketball player that, even as only a high school junior, he has people looking out for him, from a good friend who drives him everywhere to an older man who’s smoothing his way to the pros, including finding a job for Drew’s mother. But a washed-out former playground legend helps Drew get a grip on his life.

The Underdog by Markus Zusak. Read by Stig Wemyss. Brilliance, 2011. 3 hours, 16 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4558-4353-4.
The youngest siblings in the Wolfe family, Ruben and Cameron, establish themselves as inseparable partners in (fairly minor) crime as they scout out possible girlfriends and nearly give the neighbor’s Pomeranian a heart attack.

Vanish (Firelight series) by Sophie Jordan. Read by Therese Plummer. Brilliance, 2011. 7 hours, 44 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-6172-9. Jacinda, her twin, Tamra, and their mother must flee back to their “pride” when Jacinda shows her true self to the boy, Will, she loves, who is a member of a family who hunts her people. The draki then decide that Jacinda must marry the pride’s heir apparent, Cassian, who Tamra wants.

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals. Read by Lisa Renee Pitts. Tantor, 2011. 13 hours; 10 discs. 978-1-4526-0494-7. The memoir of Melba Pattillo Beals tells of 1957 when nine African American students became the first to integrate Central HS in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they were met with harassment, name calling, and physical attacks on a daily basis, yet were told not to resist or retaliate to avoid further dissension.

The Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf. Read by Michael Page, Phil Gigante, Christopher Lane, Laural Merlington, and Angela Dawe. Brilliance, 2011. 10 hours, 16 minutes; 9 discs. 978-1-4558-2937-8. Many different characters based on some true stories, from a range of passenger classes, as well as SOS telegraphs and other items, tell the story of the sinking of the Titanic.

What Dies in Summer by Tom Wright. Read by Chris Patton. Blackstone, 2012. 7 hours, 30 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4551-5893-5.
Jim (Biscuit) spends his summer in Dallas, Texas, with his cousin Lee Ann (L.A.). They find the body of a brutally murdered girl in the weeds, and they learn unbearable family secrets. Biscuit falls in love, while L.A. tries to overcome demons, real and psychological.

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle. Read by Sarah Grace. Brilliance, 2012. 7 hours, 53 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-1896-9. With a nod and a wink to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Searl’s story of Rosaline and her next door neighbor Rob touches on the high points of that tragedy. Rose has one memorable date with Rob when, after years of childhood friendship, he finally shows a real interest in her. But that next night her cousin Juliet, who’s just returned to town, manages to captivate Rob at the Fall Back Dance, and Rose sees her love become infatuated with the wrong person as Rob and Juliet being their tragic journey.

Witches! by Rosalyn Schanzer. Read by Jessica Almasy. Recorded Books, 2012. 2 hours, 25 minutes; 2 discs. 978-1-4640-4314-7. In this multiple award-winning account of the “disaster” in Salem, Massachusetts, in the 1600s, events and consequences are explained in a clear, nuanced account.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Read by Dianna Steele, Nick Podehl, and Kate Rudd. Brilliance, 2011. 8 hours, 12 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4558-4420-3. A fifth grade boy who has a facial anomaly has to navigate school for the first time. It’s a difficult journey to make friends, deal with bullies, and learn just how much he is needed in the world.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy. Read by Ariana Delawari. Scholastic, 2011. 978-0-5454-7282-1. Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed.

A World Away by Nancy Grossman. Read by Jessica Lawshe. Listening Library, 2012. 10 hours, 42 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-4490-1044-0. Eliza Miller has lived the “plain” life of the Amish for 16 years. Now she wants to experience life outside her community and live like the “English,” going to movies, talking on the phone, and riding in fast cars. Once she is there, will she ever be able to go back?

Worldshaker (Worldshaker series) by Richard Harland. Read by Adrian Mulraney. Bolinda, 2012. 10 hours, 2 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-7431-8091-4. Just as 16-year-old Col is being named the heir to the title Supreme Commander of the juggernaut Worldshaker, he discovers that all he knew about the “Filthies” on the bottom deck is a lie. Turning his back on his upperclass upbringing, he helps the Filthies stage a revolution.

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2. Audiobook News You Can Use

Booklist‘s 2012 “Voice of Choice” Dion Graham is featured on this recorded show from Boston’s WBGH on the benefits of audiobook listening & the art of narration, along with AudioFile‘s Robin Whitten and  arts critic Alicia Anstead (begins at 18:45 in the show). And don’t forget to wish Dion a Happy Birthday on August 8th ;-)

Love the audiobook connection to the London Olympics, in AT&T’s commercial featuring USA’s runner Ryan Hall listening to The Odyssey and Moby Dick in the video I posted two weeks ago? Learn more about the commercial that showcases Hall’s hometown scenery in “North State Scenery Stars in AT&T Commercial With Marathon Runner Ryan Hall,” by Alayna Shulman.

Check out Salon Magazine’s new audiobook column, featuring the recording of Wallace Stegner’s Pulitzer-winning novel Angle of Repose, narrated by Mark Bramhall.

The always-awesome All About Romance blog has another terrific round-up of reader favorites in a variety of audiobook catagories in “Speaking of Audiobooks: 2012 Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll Results.”

Interested in statistics on audiobook downloads from public libraries? Check out the graphs in Digital Book World’s “Library Patrons Want E-Books Over Every Other Downloadable Media” – there’s plenty of patrons that want digital audiobooks, too.

And be sure to check Audiobooker on Freebie Fridays for limited time free audiobooks!

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3. Looking for an audiobook mystery?

Try these 2012 Audies nominees – from cozy to hard-boiled, there’s something for everyone. May is Mystery Month on BooklistOnline and in Booklist magazine. I’ll be featuring audio mysteries here each Thursday, and often in-between. There’s nothing better than a great detective story in the car CD player on your way to your next heist or on the cell phone while shadowing a suspect. The Audio Publishers Association narrowed down over 1,250 entries to the cream of the crop in preparation for the June 5th Audies Award Gala, where the winners will be announced. There’s great listening in many of the Audies categories…

  • Like your mysteries straight up? Sample the MYSTERY nominees:

Feast Day of Fools, by James Lee Burke, Narrated by Will Patton, Simon & Schuster Audio

Naughty in Nice: A Royal Spyness Mystery, by Rhys Bowen, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren, Audible, Inc.

One Dog Night, by David Rosenfelt, Narrated by Grover Gardner, Listen & Live Audio

Return to Marshall’s Bayou: A Dassas Cormier Mystery, by S.H. Baker, Narrated by a full cast, Siren Audio Studios

Rogue Island, by Bruce DeSilva, Narrated by Jeff Woodman, Audible, Inc

  • Prefer a twist of trouble? These THRILLER/SUSPENSE nominees are for you:

Adrenaline, by Jeff Abbott, Narrated by Kevin T. Collins, Hachette Audio /AudioGo

The Bone House, by Brian Freeman, Narrated by Joe Barrett, Blackstone Audio

A Kiss Before Dying, by Ira Levin, Narrated by Mauro Hantman, AudioGO

The Nightmare Thief, by Meg Gardiner, Narrated by Susan Ericksen, Brilliance Audio

Out of My Head, by Didier van Cauwelaert, Narrated by Bronson Pinchot, Blackstone Audio

Silent Screams, by Karen Rose, Narrated by Marguerite Gavin, Blackstone Audio

  • Got a taste for Country Noir? The CLASSIC category has a sure-fire favorite:

Deliverance, by James Dickey, Narrated by Will Patton, Audible, Inc.

  • Snack-sized bites? SHORT STORIES/COLLECTIONS classic tales:

Black Mask: Doors in the Dark, Edited by Otto Penzler, Narrated by Eric Conger, Oliver Wyman, Alan Sklar, Pete Larkin and Jeff Gurner, HighBridge Company

  • How about a fresh take on a classic character? Try this ORIGINAL WORK:

The New Adventures of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, Vol. 3, by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane, Narrated by Stacy Keach and a full cast, Blackstone Audio

  • Savoring a sc

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4. #JIAM2012 Audies Awards announced

Congratulations to the winners of the Oscars of the audiobook world! 2012′s top narrators & producers were recognized at the Audio Publishers Association’s Audies Award Gala June 5th at the New York Historical Society in New York City. Comedian, actor, writer and director Michael Showalter emceed the event, where I was thrilled to be in the company of the stars of the industry. The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the Audiobook of the Year recognized for unparalleled listening experiences; creative, innovative and effective marketing; and significant sales impact on the audiobook industry.

Congratulations to the three finalists for Audiobook of the Year:
American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman, Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, Sarah Jones and a full cast (HarperAudio)
Go the F**k to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson (Audible)
Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, narrated by Dylan Baker with an introduction by the author (Simon & Schuster Audio)

AND THE AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR WINNER IS: Bossypants, written and narrated by Tina Fey (Hachette Audio)

The prestigious Distinguished Achievement in Production Award recognizes a production that represents the best the format has to offer in listening excellence. Congratulations to the three finalists:

The Mark of Zorro, by Yuri Rasovsky, narrated by Val Kilmer and a full cast (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)
She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems, selected, introduced and narrated by Caroline Kennedy and a full cast (Hyperion Audio)
The Witches of Lublin, by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz and Yale Strom, Narrated by Tovah Feldshuh, Neil Gaiman, Simon Jones, Barbara Rosenblat, Elizabeth Boskey, Joanne Borts, Yelena Shmulenson, Joyce Feurring, Tim Jerome, Miriam Margolyes and a full cast (SueMedia Productions)

AND THE DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION AWARD WINNER IS: The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic, by Allan Wolf, narrated by Michael Page, Phil Gigante, Christopher Lane, Laural Merlington and Angela Dawe (Candlewick on Brilliance Audio)

And the winners of the following Audies cataories…

SOLO NARRATION—FEMALE

Rosalyn Landor, narrator of The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley, Audible, Inc.

SOLO NARRATION—MALE

Simon Vance, narrator of The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, Tantor Audio

AUDIO DRAMA

I, Claudius, by Robert Graves, Narrated by Derek Jacobi, Tim McInnerny, Harriet Walter,  AudioGO/BBC Audio

BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR

Bossypants, by Tina Fey, Narrated by Tina Fey, Hachette Audio

BUSINESS/EDUCATIONAL

The Barefoot Executive, by Carrie Wilkerson, Narrated by Carrie Wilkerson, Oasis Audio

CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES 8-12

Heart and Soul, by Kadir Nelson, Narrated by Debbie Allen, HarperAudio

CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES UP TO 8

Django: World’s Greatest Jazz Guitarist, by Bonnie Christensen, Narrated by George Guidall, Live Oak Media

CLASSIC

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, by Charles Dickens, Narrated by Simon Vance,

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5. Audiobooks at ALA Annual

Narrators, autographs, FREE audios - #JIAM2012 June is Audiobook Month at the American Library Association’s Annual Convention in Anaheim. If you are attending, add these terrific FREE events to your calendar!

SUNDAY June 24, 1:00pm – 4:00pm PopTop Stage,  located at the end of the 2700 aisle on the Exhibit Floor.
Audio Publishers Association hosts “Get Caught Listening!”

Featured will be the various aspects of audiobooks with a mix of authors, voice talent and actors. The APA consists of audio publishing companies and allied suppliers, distributors, and retailers of spoken word products and allied fields related to the production, distribution and sale of audiobooks. Drop by these FREE sessions:

1:00pm   Ramon de Ocampo narrator of the Wimpy Kid series and award-winning Producer Bob Deyan, Recorded Books

1:20pm   Maggie Stiefvater, Steve West & Fiona  Hardingham, author and narrators of 2012 Odyssey Honor, Scorpio Races, Scholastic Audio

1:40pm   Nancy Cartwight, voice of Bart Simpson, and Travis Oates, voice of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Piglet, performing radio theater “Stories from the Golden Age”, Galaxy Press

2:00pm  Daniel Kraus and Kirby Heyborne, author and narrator of 2012 Odyssey Award winner, Rotters, Listening Library/BOT

2:20pm  Trent Reedy and Ariana Delawari, author and narrator, Words in the Dust, Scholastic Audio

2:40pm  Director of Audio Production, Dan Zitt and narrator Kathe Mazur to discuss the art of audiobook-making, Random House Audio/BOT

3:00pm  Kelly Gildea and Lincoln Hoppe, producer and narrator 2012 Odyssey Honor, Okay for Now, Listening Library/BOT

3:20pm   Jennifer Bradshaw and Antony Ferguson, reading from a collection of short stories and The Missing of the Somme, AudioGo

3:40pm   David Cochran Heath will be selections from reading from the Bible, Christian Audio

MONDAY June 25, 4:00pm – 5:30pm, Anaheim Convention Center, Room 213D. Cocktail Reception to Follow.        The Sweet Sounds of the Odyssey Ceremony – FREE to attend!

The Odyssey Award is given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children  and/or young adults, available in English in the United States. Stepping out from behind the recording booth, your favorite narrators perform a piece from their Odyssey Award-winning audiobooks at this engaging presentation. Celebrating the magic of audio and storytelling has never been so much fun.
PLUS, every attendee walks away with a FRE

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6. #JIAM 2012 Audies Awards

See & hear the audiobook gala hosted by Michael Showalter on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at the New-York Historical Society in New York City. You can get an idea of the glittering fun by clicking this link to 213 photos from the Audies Awards 2012. It would be great if there was some way to tag the names of the faces, so that you could match the real person to your favorite narrator. I’m lucky enough to be next to Dion Graham in #79 & Johnny Heller in #107. Want to hear the ceremonies? You have two chances to tune in…

Here are details from the Audio Publishers Association on how you can listen to the whole event:

Tune into SiriusXM’s Book Radio to Listen to a Recording of the Audies!

Are you still coming down off the great high of this year’s Audies Gala? Do you wish you could relive the night and share the excitement of the evening with family, friends and colleagues who couldn’t be there?

You can!

Tune into SiriusXM’s Book Radio (Channel 80) to listen to a complete broadcast of the awards ceremony.

Airtimes are as follows:

Thursday, June 28 (that’s today!) – 9:30-11:00pm ET/6:30-8:00pm PT
Sunday, July 1 – 4:00-5:30pm ET/1pm-2:30 PT

SiriusXM subscribers can also access the broadcast online or via the Book Radio app.

Not a SiriusXM subscriber? You can try SiriusXM’s Internet Radio free for 30 days

 

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7. A+ Audio: Happy Accidents

Jane Lynch: my new BFF! Heartfelt audiobook memoir as perfect girl-talk car commute companion. The power of hearing the author sharing every detail of life’s happy accidents? You’ll be driving around the block to spend more time with Jane, as you bond together over her acting insecurities, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and critical success. Happy Accidents is pure listening perfection, inviting you to lean forward with tears in your eyes as Jane shares the letter she wrote to her parents explaining that she is gay, while the next moment you’ll throw your head back in hysterical laughter at the description of life’s crazy relationships. I must admit that I have one CD of this audiobook unheard and can hardly bring myself to listen  – I just don’t want my time with Jane to be over!

I wish that I could have both Jane & my other audio BFF, Lisa Scottoline, in the car at the same time. I think I’ll work on a “If you liked Scottoline’s Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, you’ll like…” listen-alike compliation, with Happy Accidents the first on the list.  I had the honor of speaking with Lisa, her daughter Francesca Scottoline Serritella, and children & YA author Gary Paulsen about their experiences recording their own memoirs in my Voices in My Head column My Life, My Words, My Voice. If you’re interested in how authors react to reading the story of their lives, check it out. I’ll bet the experience is different for actors who record their memoirs. Perhaps I can try to give my new BFF Jane a call to see exactly what she thought about her time in the audiobook studio. Or maybe I’ll just have to settle for watching the in-studio interview that publisher Harper Audio did with Jane! In the video below, Jane gives you some background on how & why she wrote Happy Accidents. And if you haven’t seen Jane and Lara’s It Gets Better video, watch it as well. Now do yourself a favor – go get a copy of the audiobook for yourself & listen :-)

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8. Neil Gaiman on The Simpsons

Best line of the episode? ”And the audiobook is only available abridged. ABRIDGED!” followed by maniacal laughter from the evil CEO of TweenLit Inc, played by Andy Garcia. I’m glad that Gaiman - a huge proponent of audiobooks -was able to include an audio reference in the show “The Book Job,” which focused on Lisa Simpson’s disillusionment over the fact that her favorite tween book series was the creation of a focus-group guided stable of writers out for the big bucks. *cough*Alloy Entertainment*cough*

A quick synopsis: Homer Simpson created a cabal of Springfield writers going for a cool million dollar payoff from TweenLit, adding Gaiman to the mix as the catering crew.  Neil Gaiman’s cameo role allowed the mega-star author to appear in a cartoon version of an off-hand remark he made after winning the Carnegie Medal for The Graveyard Book: when asked about the copycat publishing phenomenon triggered by Twilight & vampires , he answered that the next teen horror trend might be trolls. You can watch for yourself here – but not until the episode unlocks in a week.

Personally, I’d rather spend some time having Gaiman read his books to me. He is one on the very best author-narrators, with his reading of  The Graveyard Book of of my all-time A+ audios. Just visit Gaiman’s website to experience his storytelling genus.

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9. Audiobook Grammy Nominees

Announced last night: Adult titles vying for recognition as 2011′s best by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. Sadly, there’s no Children’s category - they killed that off last April. Here’s the five finalists:

Catagory 51: Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audiobooks & Story Telling)

Bossypants, Tina Fey (Hachette Audio) (Check to see if this free download offer is still in effect!)

Fab Fan Memories – The Beatles Bond, Various Artists / Nathan Burbank, Bryan Cumming, Dennis Scott & David Toledo, producers(WannaBeats Records)

Hamlet (William Shakespeare), Dan Donohue & Various Artists Oregon Shakespeare Festival(Blackstone Audio)

If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t), Betty White (Penguin Audio)

The Mark Of Zorro, Val Kilmer & Cast(Blackstone Audio)

You can check out the complete list of nominations in this press release. Great ideas for new listens or for a fresh display in the library audio-visual department or website!

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10. Notable Children’s Recordings discussion list

These audiobooks are the year’s top titles under consideration at the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference in Dallas. The cream of the crop will appear on the 2012 Notable Children’s Recordings list, as must-have recommendations of music & audiobooks for libraries serving children ages birth – fourteen years. If you are attending Midwinter, pop in to any of the committee’s scheduled meetings to observe the evaluative discussions of the titles – very illuminating if you are new to the world of  audiobook reviewing! The final list will appear on the Association for Library Service to Children’s website (where you can find lists of all past Notable Children’s Recordings),  following the excitement of the Youth Media Awards press conference, where this year’s Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production will be named. The Odyssey committee discussions are closed to the public, but you can share the announcement via the live webcast on Monday, January 23. The Young Adult Library Services Association’s 2012 list of Amazing Audiobooks will also be announce at Midwinter – I’ll let you know about that discussion list when it is announced!

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11. Odyssey, Notable Recordings, Amazing Audiobooks

The year’s best listening named by the American Library Association’s youth divisions in a just-completed conference in Dallas. Yes, the total list of award-winners announce yesterday has plenty of great titles, too. But there are three committees that focus on the unique attributes of audiobook production and narration when selecting the best.

ALSC, the Association for Library Service to Children, evaluates titles for children from ages birth through fourteen, and includes music in the Notable Children’s Recording list. Check out the list of 28 titles available here: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncr

YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, selects audiobooks for listeners ages twelve through eighteen for their list. You can see this year’s list of 30 titles here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/audiobooks/2012

And the Big Kahuna is the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. The Odyssey committee, comprised of both ALSC and YALSA members, collaborate to name one winner and honor titles as the most distinguished examples of sound literature, for listeners ages birth through eighteen. This year’s winner is Rotters, written by Daniel Kraus, narrated by Kirby Heyborne, and produced by Odyssey-winner Listening Library. Mesmerizing, horrifying, yet grounded in solid reality – Rotters is utterly amazing. You can read my starred review here, and my “Talking With” interview with Dan about his reactions to revisiting his work as an audio production here. Liz Hannegan & her stalwart committee members -who listened to over 500 submissions (yes, you read that right!!) – shared a happy moment with Booklist consultant Sue-Ellen Beauregard and author Kraus right after the award announcement in the photo above.

There were four Odyssey Honor titles:

Ghetto Cowboy, written by G. Neri, narrated by JD Jackson and produced by Brilliance Audio.

Okay for Now, written by Gary D. Schmidt, narrated by Lincoln Hoppe and produced by Listening Library.

The Scorpio Races, written by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Steve Westand Fiona Hardingham and produced by Scholastic Audiobooks.

Young Fredle, written by Cynthia Voigt, narrated by Wendy Carter and produced by Listening Library.

So get your headphones warmed up and start listening – if you manage one title a week, that’s more that a year’s worth of great audiobooks!

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12. Interview with Jack Gantos

2012 Newbery winner for Dead End in Norvelt on audiobooks, books for boys, and the power of sound literature. Jack Gantos has garnered book awards galore, from the Newbery to National Book Award finalist. Not only is he one of the most thoughtful – and funny – writters for any age listener, he’s a top author-narrator. I featured my Booklist interview with Gantos when Dead End in Norvelt was first published, but am hitting replay today as his insights are just too awesome to resist. Can’t get enough Gantos? Check out the video from Macmillan Audio at the end of the interview!

The Booklist Interview: Jack Gantos

By Mary Burkey

Jack Gantos began narrating his own books in 1999 with his reading of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (Listening Library). Should he ever decide to leave his award-winning (Newbery, Printz, Sibert, and more) writing career behind, he has the vocal talent to become a sought-after audiobook reader. From voicing Rotten Ralph Helps Out (Live Oak, 2006) to reading his deeply personal autobiography, Hole in My Life (Listening Library, 2007), and the fictional escapades of young Jack Gantos in Dead End in Norvelt (Macmillan, 2011), he has proven himself an outstanding audiobook reader. I was fortunate to talk with Gantos in a phone conversation as he walked home from the Boston Athenaeum, where he goes daily to write.

BKL: You recorded a wonderful author interview at the end of the marvelous audiobook production of Dead End in Norvelt (given a starred review in the October 15, 2011, issue of Booklist). Is the story a reflection of your childhood? And how did you start narrating audiobooks?

GANTOS: Well, I was born in Norvelt, though I didn’t grow up full time there. My mom was raised there, and my dad grew up in a town a stone’s throw away. I have to say that even though I didn’t spend a lot of time in Norvelt, the western Pennsylvania voice has stayed within me. Joey Pigza is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania (not quite as far west as Norvelt), and I sound like I belong there. When you write picture books, such as the Rotten Ralph titles, you read them aloud so you can hear how that spare text rolls off the tongue—or not. I never thought of myself as having a voice worth recording. But after I listened to the first—and only—book of mine narrated by someone else, I thought, “Dang, I know I’m not good, but I’m better than that!” The book is funny, and the guy couldn’t deliver a joke. He was so slow that you could drive a truck between every sentence. I realized, “He’s got no feel for the material. He’s got no zip on his fastball. All the fun is sponged up out of it.” Then at the National Book Award readings, I read a portion of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, and Tim Ditlow, then at Listening Library, came up and said he wanted me to record the novel. I was a bit stunned, but he was very enthusiastic and persuasive. I’m so fortunate that he was generous enough to offer me the opportunity.

BKL: What’s the recording process like for you?

GANTOS: It’s really hard work because you have to put your heart and soul into it. I can’t do voices. I can’t sound like a Frenchman, a German, or a Spaniard, but I can give emotional modulation to the characters. But it just wears you ou

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13. 2012 Audies Finalists announced

The Audio Publishers Association will award the “Oscars” of audiobooks, the Audies, on June 5, 2012. Today the APA announced the finalists for this year’s honors. Take a look at all the nominees below for a fantastic list to add to my compilation of 2011 audiobook “Bests.” This announcement is perfect timing for library A/V departments looking for a new audiobook display or website splash page – why not capitalize on Oscar fever with a feature on possible Audies winners? And for audiobook listeners, time to reserve & download selections from the nominee list to catch this year’s best listening!

 

AUDIO DRAMA
The Arthur Miller Collection, by Arthur Miller, Narrated by Stacy Keach, Richard Dreyfuss, Ed O’Neill, Brian Cox and a full cast, L.A. Theatre Works

The Graduate, adapted for the stage by Terry Johnson, based on the novel by Charles Webb and  the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, Narrated by Bruce Davidson, John Getz,  Jamison Jones, Devon Sorvari, Linda Purl, Matthew Rhys and Kathleen Turner, L.A. Theatre  Works

I, Claudius, by Robert Graves, Narrated by Derek Jacobi, Tim McInnerny, Harriet Walter,  AudioGO/BBC Audio

The Mark of Zorro, by Johnston McCulley and Yuri Rasovsky, Narrated by Val Kilmer and a full cast, Blackstone Audio

We’re Alive, by Kc Wayland, Narrated by a full cast, Blackstone Audio

BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
Bossypants, by Tina Fey, Narrated by Tina Fey, Hachette Audio

The Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert, Tantor Audio

Here Comes Trouble, by Michael Moore, Narrated by Michael Moore, Hachette Audio

My Dog Tulip, by J.R. Ackerley, Narrated by Ralph Cosham, Blackstone Audio

Until Tuesday, by Louis Carlos Montalvan, Narrated by Louis Carlos Montalvan, Audible, Inc.

BUSINESS/EDUCATIONAL
23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, by Ha-Joon Chang, Narrated by Joe Barrett, Audible, Inc.

Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown, by David Wiedemer, Robert A. Wiedemer and Cindy S. Spitzer, Narrated by Christopher Kipiniak, Audible, Inc.

The Barefoot Executive, by Carrie Wilkerson, Narrated by Carrie Wilkerson, Oasis Audio

The Blue Sweater, by Jacqueline Novogratz, Narrated by Jacqueline Novogratz, Audible, Inc.

I’m Feeling Lucky, by Douglas Edwards, Narrated by Douglas Edwards, Audible, Inc.

The Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk, Narrated by Gary Vaynerchuk, HarperAudio

CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES 8-12
Countdown, by Deborah Wiles, Narrated by Emma Galvin, Random House Audio/Listening Library

The Flint Heart, by Katherine Paterson and John Paterson, Narrated by Ralph Lister, Brilliance Audio

Heart and Soul, by Kadir Nelson, Narrated by Debbie Allen, HarperAudio

The Hidden Valley: The Incorrigible Children of Aston Place: Book II, by Maryrose Wood, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren, HarperAudio

A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz, Narrated by Johnny Heller, Recorded Books, LLC

CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES UP TO 8
Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson, by Charles R. Smith, Jr., Narrated by Dion Graham, Live Oak Media

Django: W

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14. Audiobook of the Year and Distinguished Achievement in Production Finalists

Big news from the Audio Publishers Association:

APA Announces the 2012 Finalists for Most Prestigious Audie Awards

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has selected four finalists for the prestigious Audiobook of the Year Award and four finalists for the Distinguished Achievement in Production Award. The winners will be announced at the 17th Annual Audies® Gala and Awards Presentation on Tuesday, June 5 at The New-York Historical Society in New York City.

The four titles in the running for the 2012 Audiobook of the Year Award are:

  • American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition, by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Neil Gaiman, Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, Sarah Jones and a full cast (HarperAudio)
  • Bossypants, written and narrated by Tina Fey (Hachette Audio) [Booklist's Top the List 2011 Editor's Choice]
  • Go the F**k to Sleepby Adam Mansbach, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson (Audible)
  • Steve Jobsby Walter Isaacson, narrated by Dylan Baker with an introduction by the author (Simon & Schuster Audio)

The Audiobook of the Year Award recognizes the audiobook that, through quality, innovation, marketing and sales, has had the most significant impact on the audio industry.

The four titles selected to compete for the 2012 Distinguished Achievement in Production Award are:

  • The Mark of Zorro, by Yuri Rasovskynarrated by Val Kilmer and a full cast (Zorro Productions, Inc., and Blackstone Audio, Inc.)
  • She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems, selected, introduced and narrated by Caroline Kennedy and a full cast (Hyperion Audio)
  • The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic, by Allan Wolf, narrated by Michael Page, Phil Gigante, Christopher Lane, Laural Merlington and Angela Dawe (Candlewick on Brilliance Audio)
  • The Witches of Lublin, by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz and Yale Strom, narrated by Tovah Feldshuh, Neil Gaiman, Simon Jones, Barbara Rosenblat, Elizabeth Boskey, Joanne Borts, Yelena Shmulenson, Joyce Feurring, Tim Jerome and a full cast (SueMedia Productions)

The Distinguished Achievement in Production Award is presented to an audiobook that demonstrates excellence in all areas of production.

“This year has truly shattered the sound barrier,” said Ellen Myrick, Chair of the Audies judging committee, citing the record number of submissions and high quality of nominated titles in all categories. “This year’s finalists have most certainly won new fans to the format by the thousands.”

Click here to see the full press release including comments and insight into the selection of these finalists from this year’s judges.

 

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15. A+ Audio: Odyssey Honor titles for FREE

Treasure Island read by Alfred Molina & Bloody Jack read by Katherine Kellgren – both recognized by the American Library Association’s Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production – are yours for FREE for one week only, starting today. Anyone can download these two great family listening A+ Audios with no need for personal information or credit card number – you just need the free OverDrive software (which many of you may all ready have to download titles from your public library).

It’s all part of the SYNC promotion: two top titles tied together by a similar theme – one classic, one YA – to hook listeners young & not-so-young on the best in audiobooks. But each title is only available for a week – so load up that MP3 player with great FREE listening to last long after summer vacation. This week’s theme is “Sailors & Scallwags,” a perfect choice for promoting audiobooks in your library’s summer reading “Make a Splash / Make Waves @ Your Library” programs.  Combine a display of listen-alikes with a printable bookmark featuring the free SYNC titles or add an audio clip from the audiobook publisher’s site to your library web page to entice patrons with a freebie to give downloading with OverDrive a try. Not enough audiobooks of summer reading assignment titles in your collection? Check the Sync list – it might be there. Are you & your patrons anxiously awaiting the release of Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay? Appease that hunger with the perfectly-timed free download of The Hunger Games, the first in the series. There’s a whole social network o of fans, narrators, and authors ready to discuss these titles & all thing audiobook at the Audiobook Community site.

Best of all, this is a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the Odyssey Award for free – and for libraries to promote the best in audiobook listening. So visit the Sync website and get downloading! :-)

Here’s the rest of the Sync summer line up:

Available July 15 – July 21
Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Treasure Island<

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16. A+ audiobooks

Kaite Mediatore Stover can’t get enough of great books. When she’s not gathering great titles for her “He Reads..She Reads…” column with David Wright in Booklist, Kaite’s tracking down the perfect match for patron requests as Head of Readers’ Services for Kansas City Public Library. But in her spare time, she slaps on the headphones and picks an awesome audiobook for her own enjoyment. In true librarian spirit, she couldn’t keep quiet about three new favorites and bounces over here from her Book Group Buzz blog as today’s guest. Take it from here, Kaite…

It only takes one stellar audiobook and the next thing I know I’m committing crimes against nature, food, and bicyclists. Perhaps I should elaborate.

I was listening to Rain Gods by James Lee Burke and narrated by Tom Stechschulte when I realized I’d been taking the long way to the grocery store, the vet, the library. This border-town noir is enthralling. Stechschulte voices every character in this dry-heat Texas mystery and I could keep every one of them separate. From the raspy voice of aging sheriff Hackberry Holland to the creepy whisper of Preacher Jack to the beehive-hairdo-sized drawl of a lady deputy, Stechschulte is obviously enjoying himself with his vocal acrobatics. I must have left a carbon footprint the size of godzilla’s butt on Kansas City the weekend I listened to that.

Then I fired up Raisins and Almonds by Kerry Greenwood and narrated by the vocal virtuoso Stephanie Daniel. Daniel is the audio-creator of Jazz Age jazz baby detective Phryne Fisher, queen of the demi-monde in Melbourne, Australia. Like Stechschulte, Daniel revels in the range of voices. Two cheery, yet serious young girls, chirp their way through Phryne’s household along with a prim-voiced, but loving ladies’ maid. Guest accents for Daniel to play with come in the form a tightly-wound Jewish mother, a soft-spoken Rabbi, a slightly sneery Italian waiter, and a breathy with love young man. Even while baking every thing in the house just to keep listening, I never lost track of who was who. Cat pie, anyone?

Finally, I nearly caused an accident on the local bike path while listening to Sherman Alexie read his novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I was laughing so much I didn’t see where I was going and I couldn’t hear the bike horn. Alexie reaches into his memory to grab the perfect cadences and slang of a teenage boy and his adolescent conundrums involving basketball and his best friend, his girlfriend and the school dance, and his affectionate, if hapless parents. I want to listen to Alexie read Wendy’s drive-thru menu.

Although if he did, I’d probably be causing congestion at the pick-up window, just waiting for him to say “drive through please.”

Well, Kaite’s done her job for me – I have two new great audiobooks to add to my listening pile. And now I want to go back & listen to Sherman Alexie’s Odyssey Award-winning audiobook all over again. Thanks for stopping by, Kaite!

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17. Production preparation = audiobook awesomeness

What do Harry Potter audiobooks and Odyssey Award Honor titles have in common? Solid team work that turns an outstanding text into an awesome listening experience through careful preparation. I had the pleasure of chatting with three audiobook pros about their role in creating the very best in literary listening: David Rapkin, director & producer of scores of outstanding titles, including the Harry Potter series; Paul Topping, the linguistic expert who handles research for Recorded Books; and narrator Katherine Kellgren, the voice of three Odyssey Honor titles. Each echoed the same theme: it’s what takes place BEFORE the recording booth mic is turned on that results in the very best audiobook experience. Read my entire Voices in My Head column “It’s on the Tip of My Tongue” on the BooklistOnline website for a fascinating peek inside the production process. Here’s a memorable quote from David Rapkin:

The audiobook director is a specialist. It doesn’t stop at pronunciations. You must give a sense of where the characters are from and the attitudes of the people at that time. The sharper a director can create the image of the book, the more enthralling and magical the experience is for listeners.

The next time you encounter a soul-stirring audiobook, remember to include the entire production team in your applause, from narrator and director to researcher and sound engineer. Even though their names may not be on the tip of your tongue, their talents are ringing in your ear!

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18. Audiobook stars at ALA

Odyssey Award, Amazing Audiobooks, Notable Children’s Recordings: 49 best spoken word productions for children & young adults are the audiobook stars of the American Library Association’s 2011 annual award and recommended selection lists. I’ve compiled a combined list of all three below, to make your ordering & listening easier!

You can find more information and printable annotated lists of ALL current and past recipients on these websites:

Notable Children’s Recordings, ALSC’s recommended spoken word & musical recording for listeners preschool through age twelve. (NCR)

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, YALSA’s recommended titles for ages twelve through eighteen. (AA)

Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production, a joint award from ALSC & YALSA for the best audiobook & honor titles for pre-school through age eighteen, sponsored by Booklist.

2011 ALA Audiobook Stars:

A Savage Thunder: Antietam and the Bloody Road to Freedom. By Jim Murphy, read by Kevin Orton. Recorded Books. (AA)

Alchemy and Meggy Swann. By Karen Cushman. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Listening Library. (Odyssey Honor, AA, NCR)

Beat the Band. By Don Calame, read by Nick Podehl. Brilliance. (AA)

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had. By Kristin Levine, read by Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library. (AA)

Boom! By Mark Haddon. Read byJulian Rhind-Tutt. Listening Library. (NCR)

The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them. By E. Lockhart, read by Kirsten Potter. Listening Library. (AA)

Chicken Little. By Rebecca Emberley & Ed Emberley. Read by Walter Mayes . Weston Woods. (NCR)

Clementine: Friend of the Week. By Sara Pennypacker. Read by Jessica Almasy. Recorded Books. (NCR)

Crocodile Tears. By Anthony Horowitz. Read by Simon Prebble. Recorded Books. (NCR)

The Curious Garden. By Peter Brown. Read by Katherine Kellgren.  Weston Woods. (NCR)

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins. By Barabra Kerley. Read by Jonathan Pryce.  Weston Woods. (NCR)

Dreamdark Silksinger. By Lani Taylor, read by Cassandra Campbell. Brilliance. (AA)

Enola Holmes: The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan. By Nancy Springer, read by Katherine Kellgren. Recorded Books. (AA)

Epossumondas Plays Possum. By Coleen Salley. Read by Cynthia Darlow.  Recorded Books. (NCR)

Finnikin of the Rock. By Melina Marchetta, read by Jeffrey Cummings. Brilliance. (AA)

Forge. By Laurie Halse Anderson. Read by Tim Cain. B

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19. Listen up! It’s National Poetry Month

Audiobooks + poetry = perfect partners. There’s no better way to experience the literary form created for oral expression than through listening to a great recitation. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to carry a poem in your pocket on Thursday, April 14, 2011 (National Poem in Your Pocket Day) or any day during National Poetry Month.

Most major audiobook publishers have poetry in their catalog, but a few companies have extensive, excellent collections: Naxos Audiobooks’ classic poetry, Harper Audio’s Caedmon Essentials collection,  Sourcebooks‘ print + audio CD titles, Live Oak Media‘s youth & teen titles. It’s hard to track down audiobook poetry, as publisher catalogs may list poetry in various location – nonfiction, classics, even drama. The annual Audies award doesn’t include a separate poetry category, but you’ll find poetry sprinkled among each year’s nominees and winners. The Grammy Award spoken word categories often include poetry. ALA recognizes audiobook poetry in the  Notable Children’s Recordings list, the Amazing Audiobooks list, and the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. And BooklistOnline’s advance search function allows users to narrow search results to poetry available in both audio and video formats. Plus, you’ll often find poetry featured on BooklistOnline’s Review of the Day (like my starred review of Walter Dean Myers’ Here in Harlem), or free email newsletters – remember, tons of Booklist reviews are available on our free online resources, greatly expanding the number in the print magazine! And Book Link’s Everyday Poetry column by Sylvia Vardell is an absolute must-read for poetry lovers.

Audio clips of poetry abound on the web: the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Out Loud project’s website site that contains lesson plans and activities for teachers and librarians eager to assist students in

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20. #JIAM Odyssey Award celebration at ALA NOLA

June 27th: Top narrators, a goody bag & reception, all for FREE. A great finish to the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans, whether you are an audio aficionado or new to the genre.

Celebrate the spoken word at the 2011 Odyssey Award Presentation featuring clips from the 2011 winners of the award that highlights the most excellent audiobook productions for children and young adults. Bahni Turpin, the reader of Odyssey winner The True Meaning of Smekday (Listening Library), is slated to speak as are MacLeod Andrews (narrator of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, Brilliance Audio), Emma Bering and Emily Janice Card (narrators of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Listening Library), Booklist’s Voice of Choice Katherine Kellgren (narrator of Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman, Listening Library), and Nick Podehl (narrator of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Brilliance Audio).

This free program concludes with a reception sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association and a cash bar. The Odyssey Award is presented annually to the best audiobook production for youth. It is co-administered by YALSA and ALSC and is sponsored by Booklist magazine. The Odyssey Award Presentation and Program, will take place Monday, June 27,  from 4:00-5:30pm in room 356-357, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Hope to see you there!

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21. FREE audiobooks: Hot YA titles & classics

SYNC has 2 audiobooks for you every week this summer – all free, all easy MP3 downloads ready to add to your phone, iPod, or other media device. But each pair is available for ONLY one week. So get the whole scoop about this great program to promote audiobook listening in my previous post about all sixteen SYNC give-aways. And promote on your website using the materials available from the SYNC toolkit! These audiobooks are yours to keep forever – so be sure to download, even if you don’t have time to listen now. A great way to start your own personal audiobook collection, for either yourself or your kids!

LAST CHANCE TODAY! Available July 7 – July 13
Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah
A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

Available July 14 – July 20
The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Beowulf Translated by Francis B. Gummere

I love that SYNC introduces listeners to titles, authors, or audiobook publishers they may be unfamiliar with – I’m betting that once you listen to Australian publisher Bolinda’s title by Abdel-Fattah, you’ll want more from both. And audios are a great way for the whole family to experience classic literature, no matter if listeners want  romance or heroic battles. And you MUST listen to The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch, one of my personal all-time favorite audiobooks, or give it to a tween or teen uninterested in summer reading – I guarantee they’ll head straight to the library for the rest of the titles in this creepy supernatural fantasy series!

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22. Read Around the World with Your Ears

Audiobooks provide an authentic cultural listing experience. You’ll find selected titles for both kids & teens in two full-color handout flyers perfect for libraries gearing up for the start of the school year. Part of the resources available on the American Library Association’s  Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table website, the audiobook recommendations are ideal to have as flyers near the audiobook collection, as handouts for teachers, or as selection guides for building your personal or library collection. Audiobook expert Sharon Grover, from the Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, Wisconsin and past chair of the Odyssey Award committee,  selected over 35 titles to represent the voices of our global society. Consider these essential additions to any audiobook collection:

Read Around the World with Your Ears for Kids

Read Around the World with Your Ears for Teens

 

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