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Viewing Blog: Audiobook Blog - Audiobooker, by Mary Burkey - Booklist Online, Most Recent at Top
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Mary Burkey is a National Board Certified teacher-librarian in the Olentangy School District in Columbus, Ohio. She is the past chair of the American Library Association‚Äôs Notable Children‚Äôs Recordings, was part of the Odyssey Award Task Force, and served as the chair of ALA‚Äôs first Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production committee. She currently serves as a judge for the Audio Producers Association‚Äôs Audie Awards, reviews for Booklist Magazine, and writes Book Link Magazine‚Äôs audiobook column ‚ÄúVoices in My Head.‚ÄĚ Although Mary does occasionally take off her headphones, she listens to audiobooks while on her daily commute, while walking her dog, and during way-too-seldom trips to the gym. Mary‚Äôs Audiobooker blog serves as an online scrapbook of audiobook minutia, digital literature ramblings, and random ridiculous addendums.
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1. Freebie Friday: Audiobooks for your Easter basket from Christian Audio

This month’s free download plus a bonus title free until Easter – Two freebies for the Easter season from Christian Audio:

Normal Christian Life_largeNormal Christian Life, by¬†Watchman Nee, narrated by Paul Michael. This month’s free download is a 7 Hrs. 45 Min.¬†classic work which unfolds the path of Christian faith and presents the eternal purpose of God in simple terms


A Spiritual Formation Primer, by¬†Richella Parham, narrated by Karyn O’Bryant. This two-hour audio¬†lays out the basics of Christian spiritual formation, free until Easter.

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2. Elevating the Art of the Audiobook: Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry & Technology

Bob Deyan

New media = new methods for a growing industry. Audiobook publishing is booming, with Audio Publishers Association statistics noting

6 million more audiobooks were sold in 2012 than¬†were sold in 2011, representing a 13.5% increase in revenue reported by the publishers who shared data¬†for both 2011 and 2012.¬†The sales growth can be attributed in part to the fact that the total number of titles published in 2012 in¬†the audio format has nearly doubled year over year. The format is thriving with the widest selection of¬†titles ever available‚ÄĒ13,255 titles were published as audiobooks in 2012, up from 7,237 the previous¬†year. Publishers continue to increase their output to ensure that the most popular trade titles are released¬†simultaneously in print and audio formats.

Even the Wall Street Journal is sitting up and taking note, in The New Explosion in Audio Books: How They Re-emerged as a Rare Bright Spot in the Publishing Business. 

As media combine into transmedia formats blending text, visuals, and audio there’s a growing need for trained voices and technical experts. There have long been audiobook narrator workshops, led by industry experts such as Pat Fraley,¬†Johnny Heller, Robin Miles, Paul Ruben &¬†Bettye Seitz. In response to this growing need for audiobook artists and technical gurus, Bob & Debra Deyan have announced the creation of the Deyan Institute of Vocal Artistry and Technology, a campus environment where, according to the Institute’s press release,

This believed to be the first of its kind worldwide… Institute’s initial lineup of courses includes introductory intensives and master classes for audiobook narrators,¬†specialized courses for voiceover artists, as well as technical courses on production and post-production for both¬†voice actors competing in the ever-increasing self-recording market and audio engineers alike. Deyan Institute¬†instructors are each acclaimed experts in their respective areas of specialty.

I featured the Deyans in my “Voicing a Cause” blog post after the¬†Audio Publishers Association honored the pair with this year‚Äôs Lifetime Achievement Award. For over 20 years, Bob has been dedicated to creating great audios, in partnership with his wife Debra. But the couple has turned their focus to making a positive impact in the world of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig‚Äôs disease. Now Debra Deyan says,

It’s hard to express how much it means to me to launch this school in honor of my husband, Bob Deyan. Bob is riveted by excellent acting, loves the human voice and particularly the ancient art of storytelling. He spent his life’s work directing actors and preserving the human voice experience for generations to come. It is my vision that Bob’s legacy will live on through Deyan Institute.

Best of luck in your new cause, Bob & Debra!

1 Comments on Elevating the Art of the Audiobook: Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry & Technology, last added: 3/13/2014
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3. News you can use: Audiobooks coming to 3M Cloud Library

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More options for audio.¬†Findaway World, the parent company of ¬†Playaway, has partnered with the 3M Cloud Library to offer 40,000 eAudiobook titles though 3M’s established library download interface & app, ¬†and all¬†eAudio titles will be compatible on all devices. This new enhancement to the 3M Cloud Library will debut at the American Library Assoication’s PLA division conference in Indianapolis next week. ¬†Find out more on this press release.

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4. Freebie Friday: Oscar Wilde classic & an epic fantasy short story


Two free audio goodies – grab them now!

The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, is available as a free iTunes app from L.A. Theatre Works. Download this free app to any Apple device, and enjoy not only the full play, but also the entire text so you can read it standalone or follow along with the audio. The app also includes an interview with director Michael Hackett, Professor of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA as well as pop-up annotations that follow the audio. The production stars James Marsters as Jack, Charles Busch as Lady Bracknell, and Emily Bergl as Cecily. A must-have for any educational drama program!

The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale), written by Michael J. Sullivan & narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds, is a free short story download from Audible. This hour-long production will give you a stand-alone introduction to Sulivan’s action-packed epic fantasy world.

Happy listening!

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5. On writing The Wolves of Midwinter theme song for Anne Rice

Mary Fahl shares how audio production can go beyond the narrator behind a mic, by enhancing the experience with an original musical setting, on Random House Audio’s The Wolves of Midwinter.¬†On the American Songwriter blog,¬†Fahl¬†explains¬†that it¬†all started when the singer-songwriter, and long-time Rice fan, gave a copy of her¬†album Love & Gravity to the novelist before it was released. Fahl was flattered to¬†receive¬†a galley copy of Rice’s newest work in return, via her¬†publicist¬†- it was the¬†

The Wolves of Midwinter with an inscription that read ‚ÄúFor Mary Fahl of the supernatural voice‚Ķ‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúGive this to Mary‚ÄĚ, Anne said, ‚ÄúTell her she‚Äôs in the book.‚ÄĚ ¬†Some discussion followed and it was decided that it would be a great idea for me to write a song for the audiobook version of the novel.

In Fahl’s blog post, she shares exactly how she met this challenge:

Random House needed the recording in less than two weeks, and with my already packed schedule, I was left with a little more than 6 days to write, arrange, record, mix and master the song. I hadn’t even read the book yet.  As you might imagine, nausea ensued, but I had already committed to the project, and not being one to back out of a promise, I plunged in.

Audiobooks can be magical when the publishers provide a soundscape that enhances and extends the author’s text. Whether it’s the inspired casting of the perfect narrator, or the care involved in crafting a soundscape that includes music or sound effects, ¬†listeners know that production preparation = audiobook awesomeness.


Give a listen to Fahl’s theme song below, and read the whole blog post here:¬†http://www.americansongwriter.com/2014/02/songwriter-u-guest-blog-mary-fahl-approached-anne-rice-write-theme-song-exiles-wolves-midwinter-new-audiobook/


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6. Freebie Friday: A Dr. Seuss audio celebration to download or embed on your website!


Just in time for Read Across America Day, the March 2nd national celebration of¬†Dr. Seuss‘ 110th birthday! Listening Library is offering¬†star-power read-alouds of seven beloved favorites, for your free download. Or schools & libraries have full permission to embed the nifty player widgets on your website – just click on the links below to download or embed . You can even share each of the audios on any (or all!) of your social media accounts. So make this Sunday, March 2nd, a Seuss-tastic day of audio awesomeness – send audio clips of Seuss happiness to everyone you know!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, read by Walter Matthau
The Bippolo Seed, read by Neil Patrick Harris
Yertle the Turtle, read by John Lithgow
The Cat in the Hat, read by Kelsey Grammer
Green Eggs & Ham, read by Jason Alexander
Horton Hears a Who, read by Dustin Hoffman, Billy Crystal and Mercedes McCambridge
The Lorax, read by Ted Danson

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7. Fascinating! Origins of recording the oral tradition, lost & now found


New Sounds, Old Voices“, written by Jacob Mikanowski in this week’s New Yorker, holds interest for recording techies and audiobook historians alike.¬†Mikanowski follows the research path of¬†Carl Haber, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and winner of the¬†MacArthur genius grant for his work on sound restoration. Haber and his team have developed a technology which can more or less photograph the earliest methods of recording sound and translate into digital audio – from disintegrating wax cylinders to the ¬†phonautograph, or ‚Äúspeech writer.‚ÄĚ The most interesting part of the article, for me, is Haber’s work with Milman Parry’s recordings – here’s a quote form the article (and you can see the inspiration for ALA’s Odyssey Award):

Since receiving the MacArthur grant, Haber has been working on restoring a collection of sounds that might shed light on the origins of the Western literary tradition. In 1933, a young Harvard scholar named Milman Parry travelled to Yugoslavia in hopes of solving the Homeric Question: How were the Iliad and the Odyssey composed? Classicists had debated for over a century whether the epics were written by a single, literate author or improvised in stages by numerous musicians and bards elaborating on a series of set themes. Parry believed that the answer could be uncovered by analyzing the work of living bards, mainly found among Bosnia’s Muslims, who still sang tales of heroes and wars, especially during the thirty nights of Ramadan.

In my book Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature, the first chapter looks at the history of children’s audiobooks. When doing the research, I became fascinated with the science of sound recording – and articles such as¬†Mikanowski’s show that new discoveries are still in store.¬†What might future researchers discover in those moldering reel-to-reel & cassettes in the basement ;-)¬†If you’re interested in that first chapter, you can read it online here:¬†http://www.alastore.ala.org/pdf/9780838911570_excerpt.pdf

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8. Audiobook news you can use: OverDrive coming to Roku

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Check out free streaming video & audiobooks from your library and enjoy on Roku. OverDrive will roll out its free Roku channel later this year, and those attending the PLA Conference can have a sneak preview March 11-15 in Indianapolis. Here’s a quote from the full press release:

Libraries and schools that have MP3 audiobooks and Streaming Video through OverDrive will have their library’s available titles in the new Roku channel. After registering their library card number in the initial visit, users simply choose the OverDrive channel from the Roku menu, select their library, and borrow Streaming Videos and audiobooks that their library has available for checkout.

Nice! Hope that Apple TV and Chromecast get similat treatment, as well.

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9. Happy Birthday Winnie-the-Pooh! Listen to A.A. Milne read from When We Were Very Young

NPR has a short homage to everyone’s favorite bear of very little brain – Christopher Robin’s beloved Winnie-the-Pooh. It was 90 years ago this month that the immortal residents of the Hundred Acre Wood first made an appearance in “Teddy Bear,” published in Punch magazine on Feb. 13, 1924.¬†Included in the Weekend Edition tip-of-the-hunny-pot is a recording made by Milne himself, in which we meet Pooh & Piglet, hunting the mysterious Woozle. Listen in!


I am the proud owner of a pre-Disney Winnie-the-Pooh, a permanent resident of my bedroom for over 50 years, along with Eeyore and his button-on tail. Memorizing the Pooh verses was one of my earliest pre-reading adventures, and I still remember when those words on the page actually turned into meaning in my head. I love any audiobook of Milne’s work, but have especially fond memories of the old LP recordings we had growing up in the 1950s, featuring Maurice Evans. Look what I found on YouTube!


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10. Looking for the best in audiobooks? 2014 Audies finalists announced


Judged by the Audio Publishers Association: 29 categories, with 5 or 6 finalists in each – a terrific batch of titles to add to your listening list or promote in your library. There’s something for everyone, with recommendations from children’s audios to business titles, erotica to faith-based fiction. I’ve had the privilege to judge quite a few Audies categories over the years, from Audiobook of the Year to Narration by the Author, and the Audies titles always introduce me to an audio or narrator that I’d never have discovered without this competition. Take a look at the full list below, and grab a few titles out of your typical listing zone – I guarantee you’ll hear something great! And stay tuned for the announcement of the top Audies award finalists, Distinguished Achievement in Production and Audiobook of the Year,¬†to be revealed in April, with the whole roster of winners announced at the Audies Gala on May 29, 2014, at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York.

The Fall of the Kings; by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman; Narrated by Ellen Kushner, Nick Sullivan, Neil Gaiman, Simon Jones, Katherine Kellgren, Robert Fass, Richard Ferrone, and Tim Jerome; SueMedia Productions for Neil Gaiman Presents/Audible, Inc.
Hollywood Said No!; by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross; Narrated by Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and a full cast; Hachette Audio
Marvel Civil War; by Stuart Moore; Narrated by Richard Rohan, Richard Cutting, Tim Getman, James Keegan, Kimberly Gilbert, and a full cast; GraphicAudio
Oliver Twist; by Charles Dickens; Narrated by Joe Holgate, Henry Goodman, Bill Sykes, Geoffrey Palmer, Roy Hudd, Finty Williams, and full cast; Tyndale House
Screaming with the Cannibals; by Lee Maynard; Narrated by Ross Ballard II; MountainWhispers.com Audiobooks
War of the Worlds; by M.J. Elliott and H.G. Wells; Narrated by The Colonial Radio Players; The Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air
[sic]: A Memoir; by Joshua Cody; Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini; Audible, Inc.
The Elephant Whisperer; by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence; Narrated by Simon Vance; Tantor Media
I Am Malala; by Malala Yousafzai; Narrated by Archie Panjabi; Hachette Audio
My Beloved World; by Sonia Sotomayor; Narrated by Rita Moreno; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
World on a String; by John Pizzarelli and Joseph Cosgriff; Narrated by John Pizzarelli and Joseph Cosgriff; Audible, Inc.
The Everything Store; by Brad Stone; Narrated by Peter Larkin; Hachette Audio
The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance; by Russell D. Roberts; Narrated by Kirby Heyborne; Audible, Inc.
Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army; by Robert Watson; Narrated by Bob Souer; eChristian
Leading Apple with Steve Jobs; by Jay Elliot; Narrated by Richard Davidson; Audible, Inc.
Naked Statistics; by Charles Wheelan; Narrated by Jonathan Davis; Audible, Inc.
Without Their Permission; by Alexis Ohanian; Narrated by Alexis Ohanian; Hachette Audio
A Long Walk to Water; by Linda Sue Park; Narrated by David Baker and Cynthia Bishop; Full Cast Audio
Magic Marks the Spot: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates; by Caroline Carlson; Narrated by Katherine Kellgren; HarperAudio
Matilda; by Roald Dahl; Narrated by Kate Winslet; Penguin Audio
Sugar; by Jewell Parker Rhodes; Narrated by Bahni Turpin; Brilliance Audio
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp; by Kathi Appelt; Narrated by Lyle Lovett; Simon & Schuster Audio
Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake; by Michael B. Kaplan; Narrated by Katherine Kellgren; Live Oak Media
Creepy Carrots!; by Aaron Reynolds; Narrated by James Naughton; Weston Woods
The Dark; by Lemony Snicket; Narrated by Neil Gaiman; Hachette Audio
Hooray for Anna Hibiscus; by Atinuke; Narrated by Mutiyat Ade-Salu; Recorded Books
Nelson Mandela; by Kadir Nelson; Narrated by Forest Whitaker; Weston Woods
Stink and the Freaky Frog Freakout; by Megan McDonald; Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat; Brilliance Audio
Coming of Age in Mississippi; by Anne Moody; Narrated by Lisa Reneé Pitts; Tantor Media
The Complete Sherlock Holmes; by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Narrated by Simon Vance; Brilliance Audio
Frankenstein; by Mary Shelley; Narrated by Dan Stevens; Audible, Inc.
The Great Gatsby; by F. Scott Fitzgerald; Narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal; Audible, Inc.
Love in the Time of Cholera; by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Narrated by Armando Duran; Blackstone Audio Inc.
Carrie’s Story: An Erotic S/M Novel; by Molly Weatherfield; Narrated by Shana Savage; Audible, Inc.
Fallen Too Far; by Abbi Glines; Narrated by Jennifer Bronstein; Audible, Inc.
The Killer Wore Leather; by Laura Antoniou; Narrated by Lauren Fortgang; Audible, Inc.
Release Me (The Stark Trilogy); by J. Kenner; Narrated by Sofia Willingham; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
This Man; by Jodi Ellen Malpas; Narrated by Edita Brychta; Hachette Audio
Wuthering Nights; by Emily Bronte and I.J. Miller; Narrated by Joy Pratt; Hachette Audio
Kill City Blues; by Richard Kadrey; Narrated by MacLeod Andrews; HarperAudio
The Republic of Thieves; by Scott Lynch; Narrated by Michael Page; Tantor Media
The Rithmatist; by Brandon Sanderson; Narrated by Michael Kramer; Macmillan Audio
Swords of Waar; by Nathan Long; Narrated by Dina Pearlman; Audible, Inc.
Wisp of a Thing; by Alex Bledsoe; Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki; Blackstone Audio Inc.
Doctor Sleep; by Stephen King; Narrated by Will Patton; Simon & Schuster Audio
The Golem and the Jinni; by Helene Wecker; Narrated by George Guidall; HarperAudio
The Good House; by Ann Leary; Narrated by Mary Beth Hurt; Macmillan Audio
The Imposter Bride; by Nancy Richler; Narrated by Tavia Gilbert; Tantor Media
Jacob’s Oath; by Martin Fletcher; Narrated by George Guidall; Macmillan Audio
The Ocean at the End of the Lane; by Neil Gaiman; Narrated by Neil Gaiman; HarperAudio
C.C. Pyle’s Amazing Foot Race; by Geoff Williams; Narrated by Robertson Dean; Tantor Media
Devil in the Grove; by Gilbert King; Narrated by Peter Francis James; HarperAudio
Frozen in Time; by Mitchell Zuckoff; Narrated by Mitchell Zuckoff; HarperAudio
The Hour of Peril; by Daniel Stashower; Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini; Macmillan Audio
Nero’s Killing Machine: The True Story of Rome’s Remarkable 14th Legion; by Stephen Dando-Collins; Narrated by Robert Fass; Audible, Inc.
One Summer; by Bill Bryson; Narrated by Bill Bryson; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
How I Slept My Way to the Middle; by Kevin Pollak with Alan Goldsher; Narrated by Kevin Pollak; Brilliance Audio
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls; by David Sedaris; Narrated by David Sedaris; Hachette Audio
Someone Could Get Hurt; by Drew Magary; Narrated by Drew Magary; Penguin Audio
The Stench of Honolulu; by Jack Handey; Narrated by Jack Handey; Hachette Audio
Still Foolin’ ’Em; by Billy Crystal; Narrated by Billy Crystal; Macmillan Audio
Icecutter’s Daughter; by Tracie Peterson; Narrated by Stina Nielsen; Recorded Books
Illuminations; by Mary Sharratt; Narrated by Tavia Gilbert; Tantor Media
A Story of God and All of Us; by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey; Narrated by Keith David and the Authors; Hachette Audio
Truth-Stained Lies; by Terri Blackstock; Narrated by Gabrielle de Cuir; Zondervan
Unveiled: Tamar; by Francine Rivers; Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat; Recorded Books
Break Out!; by Joel Osteen; Narrated by Joel Osteen; Hachette Audio
Called to the Fire; by Cheston M. Bush; Narrated by David Cochran Heath; eChristian
Grace Happens Here; by Max Lucado; Narrated by Wayne Shepherd, Kate Rudd, and Luke Daniels; Brilliance Audio
Keeping Hope Alive; by Dr. Hawa Abdi; Narrated by Robin Miles; Hachette Audio
Sparkly Green Earrings; by Melanie Shankle; Narrated by Melanie Shankle; eChristian
Amy Falls Down; by Jincy Willett; Narrated by Amy McFadden; Brilliance Audio
The Curiosity; by Stephen Kiernan; Narrated by Kate Udall, Erik Bergmann, Jason Culp, and George Guidall; HarperAudio
The Goldfinch; by Donna Tartt; Narrated by David Pittu; Hachette Audio
The Son; by Philipp Meyer; Narrated by Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Shepherd, and Clifton Collins, Jr.; HarperAudio
The Testament of Mary; by Colm Toibin; Narrated by Meryl Streep; Simon & Schuster Audio
White Dog Fell from the Sky; by Eleanor Morse; Narrated by Carla Mercer-Meyer; Tantor Media
Ender’s Game Alive; by Orson Scott Card; Narrated by a full cast; Audible, Inc.
The Fall of the Kings; by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman; Narrated by Ellen Kushner, Nick Sullivan, Neil Gaiman, Simon Jones, Katherine Kellgren, Robert Fass, Richard Ferrone, and Tim Jerome; SueMedia Productions for Neil Gaiman Presents/Audible, Inc.
Snowbound; by Richard S. Wheeler; Narrated by Brian Hutchison, T. Ryder Smith, Robert Ian Mackenzie, James Colby, Cellest Ciulla, Scott Sowers, et al.; Recorded Books
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars; by Ian Doescher; Narrated by Daniel Davis, Jonathan Davis, January LaVoy and Marc Thompson; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
World War Z: The Complete Edition; by Max Brooks; Narrated by Max Brooks and full cast; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
Death and the Lit Chick; by G.M. Malliet; Narrated by Davina Porter; Dreamscape Media, LLC
The Enemy of My Enemy; by Richard Bard; Narrated by R.C. Bray; Richard Bard
Heirs and Graces; by Rhys Bowen; Narrated by Katherine Kellgren; Audible, Inc.
He’s Gone; by Deb Caletti; Narrated by Cassandra Campell; Tantor Media
Rage Against the Dying; by Becky Masterman; Narrated by Judy Kaye; Macmillan Audio
Unleashed; by David Rosenfelt; Narrated by Grover Gardner; Listen & Live Audio
Grace: A Memoir; by Grace Coddington; Narrated by Grace Coddington; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
I, Rhoda; by Valerie Harper; Narrated by Valerie Harper; Simon & Schuster Audio
Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish; by David Rakoff; Narrated by David Rakoff; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
The Ocean at the End of the Lane; by Neil Gaiman; Narrated by Neil Gaiman; HarperAudio
Shirley Jones; by Shirley Jones; Narrated by Shirley Jones; Tantor Media
Still Foolin’ ’Em; by Billy Crystal; Narrated by Billy Crystal; Macmillan Audio
Beyond Belief; by Jenna Miscavige Hill; Narrated by Sandy Rustin; HarperAudio
David and Goliath; by Malcolm Gladwell; Narrated by Malcolm Gladwell; Hachette Audio
The End of Nature; by Bill McKibben; Narrated by Jeff Woodman; Audible, Inc.
The Telling Room; by Michael Paterniti; Narrated by L.J. Ganser; Audible, Inc.
Thank You for Your Service; by David Finkel; Narrated by Arthur Bishop; Macmillan Audio
Ender’s Game Alive; by Orson Scott Card; Narrated by a full cast; Audible, Inc.
Letter from a Birmingham Jail; by Martin Luther King, Jr.; Narrated by Dion Graham; eChristian
METAtropolis: Green Space; by Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, Karl Schroeder, Seanan McGuire, Tobias S. Buckell, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Scholes; Narrated by Dion Graham, Robin Miles, Mark Boyett, Scott Brick, Allyson Johnson, Sanjiv Jhaveri, Jennifer Van Dyck, Jonathan Davis; Audible, Inc.
Pete Seeger: The Storm King; by Pete Seeger; Narrated by Pete Seeger; Hachette Audio
Rip-Off!; by John Scalzi, Jack Campbell, Mike Resnick, Allen Steele, Lavie Tidhar, Nancy Kress, and Gardner Dozois; Narrated by Wil Wheaton, Scott Brick, Christian Rummel, Jonathan Davis, Stefan Rudnicki, and L.J. Ganser; Audible, Inc.
Thirteen; by Scott Harrison and others; Narrated by Barnaby Edwards et al.; Spokenworld Audio/Ladbroke Audio Ltd
The Canyon; by Jack Schaefer; Narrated by Eric G. Dove; Dreamscape Media, LLC
Clockwork Angels: The Watchmaker’s Edition; by Kevin J. Anderson; Narrated by Neil Peart; Brilliance Audio
The Ernest Hemingway Audiobook Library; by Ernest Hemingway; Narrated by Various; Simon & Schuster Audio
NPR Laughter Therapy; by National Public Radio; Narrated by Audie Cornish; HighBridge
Sold; by Patricia McCormick; Narrated by Justine Eyre; Tantor Media
The Time Machine; by H.G. Wells; Narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
Ever After; by Kim Harrison; Narrated by Marguerite Gavin; HarperAudio
Inferno; by Sherrilyn Kenyon; Narrated by Holter Graham; Macmillan Audio
Red Moon; by Benjamin Percy; Narrated by Benjamin Percy; Hachette Audio
Reviver; by Seth Patrick; Narrated by Ari Fliakos; Macmillan Audio
Warbound; by Larry Correia; Narrated by Bronson Pinchot; Audible, Inc.
Dream More; by Dolly Parton; Narrated by Dolly Parton; Penguin Audio
Fitness Confidential; by Vinnie Tortorich; Narrated by Vinnie Tortorich; Pistachio Press
Get the Guy; by Matthew Hussey; Narrated by Matthew Hussey; HarperAudio
Happy This Year!; by Will Bowen; Narrated by Will Bowen; Brilliance Audio
The Secret to Success; by Eric Thomas; Narrated by Charles Arrington and Eric Thomas; Eric Thomas
You Are a Badass; by Jen Sincero; Narrated by Jen Sincero; Tantor Media
The Darkest Craving; by Gena Showalter; Narrated by Max Bellmore; Audible, Inc.
For My Lady’s Heart; by Laura Kinsale; Narrated by Nicholas Boulton; Hedgehog, Inc.
Kissing under the Mistletoe: A Sullivan Christmas; by Bella Andre; Narrated by Eva Kaminsky; Oak Press LLC
The Longest Ride; by Nicholas Sparks; Narrated by Ron McLarty and January LaVoy; Hachette Audio
The Wanderer; by Robyn Carr; Narrated by Therese Plummer; Recorded Books
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance; by Lois McMaster Bujold; Narrated by Grover Gardner; Blackstone Audio Inc.
Extinction Machine; by Jonathan Maberry; Narrated by Ray Porter; Macmillan Audio
MaddAddam; by Margaret Atwood; Narrated by Bernadette Dunn, Bob Walter, and Robbie Daymond; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
The Martian; by Andy Weir; Narrated by R.C. Bray; Podium Publishing
Protector: Foreigner Sequence 5, Book 2; by C.J. Cherryh; Narrated by Daniel Thomas May; Audible, Inc.
Shaman; by Kim Stanley Robinson; Narrated by Graeme Malcolm; Hachette Audio
The Ballad of the Sad Café; by Carson McCullers; Narrated by David Ledoux, Joe Barrett, Therese Plummer, Kevin Pariseau, Suzanne Toren, Edoardo Ballerini, and Barbara Rosenblat; Audible, Inc.
The Cage Keeper and Other Stories; by Andre Dubus III; Narrated by Andre Dubus III; Blackstone Audio Inc.
Nine Inches; by Tom Perrotta; Narrated by William Dufris, Andi Arndt, Tom Perrotta, and Rupert Degas; Macmillan Audio
Nothing Gold Can Stay; by Ron Rash; Narrated by Alexander Cendese, Robert Petkoff, Prentice Onayemi, Christian Baskous, and Phoebe Strole; HarperAudio
Sherlock Holmes in America; by John L. Lellenberg et al.; Narrated by Graeme Malcolm; Audible, Inc.
We Live in Water; by Jess Walter; Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini and Jess Walter; HarperAudio
Heartburn; by Nora Ephron; Narrated by Meryl Streep; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
My Beloved World; by Sonia Sotomayor; Narrated by Rita Moreno; Random House Audio/Books on Tape
NOS4A2; by Joe Hill; Narrated by Kate Mulgrew; HarperAudio
The Testament of Mary; by Colm Toibin; Narrated by Meryl Streep; Simon & Schuster Audio
The Twelve Clues of Christmas; by Rhys Bowen; Narrated by Katherine Kellgren; Audible, Inc.
Dimension of Miracles; by Robert Sheckley; Narrated by John Hodgman; Audible, Inc.
Doctor Sleep; by Stephen King; Narrated by Will Patton; Simon & Schuster Audio
Frankenstein; by Mary Shelley; Narrated by Dan Stevens; Audible, Inc.
The Goldfinch; by Donna Tartt; Narrated by David Pittu; Hachette Audio
In a Glass Grimmly; by Adam Gidwitz; Narrated by Johnny Heller; Recorded Books
Warbound; by Larry Correia; Narrated by Bronson Pinchot; Audible, Inc.
Eleanor & Park; by Rainbow Rowell; Narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra; Listening Library
Far Far Away; by Tom McNeal; Narrated by W. Morgan Sheppard; Listening Library
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock; by Matthew Quick; Narrated by Noah Galvin; Hachette Audio
Rose Under Fire; by Elizabeth Wein; Narrated by Sasha Pick; Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Viva Jacquelina; by L.A. Meyer; Narrated by Katherine Kellgren; Listen & Live Audio
The Book of Obeah; by Sandra Carrington-Smith; Narrated by Dave Fennoy; Cherry Hill Publishing
The Fifth Assassin; by Brad Meltzer; Narrated by Scott Brick; Hachette Audio
The Hit; by David Baldacci; Narrated by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy; Hachette Audio
Suspect; by Robert Crais; Narrated by MacLeod Andrews; Brilliance Audio
Sycamore Row; by John Grisham; Narrated by Michael Beck; Random House Audio/Books on Tape

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11. Today only! Free audiobooks: Washington & Lincoln primary sources


Great Common Core resources – grab this freebie from Christian Audio. Two audios featuring selected writings from Presidents Washington & Lincoln, read by Robin Fields. Click here to download!


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12. Freebie Friday: Stars, Serving the Poor, Survey & Sync


Here’s a batch of free audiobook listening for another snowed-in weekend!

Share some great books with kids, and let stars from the Screen Actors Guild do the reading. There are even activity guides to extended the fun at home or at school. Who could resist Betty White performing Gene Zion’s Harry the Dirty Dog? See & hear twenty-three terrific classic pictures books in these video storytimes!¬†http://www.storylineonline.net/

When Helping Hurts, by¬†Brian Fikkert & Steve Corbett and read by¬†Danny Campbell, is this month’s free audiobook download from Christian Audio. This¬†7-hour long audio examines how to alleviate poverty through an¬†effective and holistic ministry to the poor.¬†http://christianaudio.com/free/

Random House Audio has a very short survey on your audiobook listening preferences. Take two minutes and get a free download of a great production of The Call of the Wild by Jack London, read by Jeff Daniels.  http://www.randomhouse.com/audio/blog/2013/12/06/random-house-audio-survey/

Here’s a sneak preview of the fantastic SYNC summertime promotion by the Audio Publishers Association. Sync has two FREE audiobook downloads all summer long, plus plenty of promotional materials for schools & libraries. Take a look at the 2014 line-up, and sign up for email alerts so you won’t miss a single title. I am thrilled to see so many titles recognized by the American Library Association’s media awards & selection lists on this year’s Sync list, many of them my personal favorites, along with great classics for family listening & classroom connections!¬†http://www.audiobooksync.com/2014/02/11/1938/

And as a middle school librarian, I’ve got to pass along a timely free print resource from a Booklist Delivers email I received. Grab a copy of¬†Common Core Standards and Black History Month: A Thematic Guide to Black History in Literature and Informational Texts for Middle School Educators¬†from Open Road Media:


Why not sign up for all of the Booklist newsletters? Here’s the link:¬†http://www.booklistonline.com/newsletters



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13. Ice-T on his attempt to record an audiobook

“Every word you’re saying is made up. M*therf*ckers talk like Yoda.” And it only gets better. You can listen to his most certainly not-safe-for-work podcast detailing the experience here or read the cleaned-up Los Angeles Times story “Ice-T finds recording Dungeons & Dragons audiobook ‘impossible’.”¬†Best audiobook story of the year – so far ;-)

And the podcast is brought to you by Audible. Clever like a fox in booking Ice-T for the audio.




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14. American Library Association’s top audiobooks of 2013

The best audios of 2013 for children, teens, and adults were announced at the ALA  Midwinter conference.


The 2014 Notable Children’s Recordings list contains 30 titles recommended for listeners ages birth through age 14 – readalong book & CD sets, beginning readers, novels, nonfiction and a bit of music. You can see this ALSC committee’s¬†larger discussion list here, as well.


The 2014 Amazing Audiobooks list contains 29 fiction and nonfiction titles for tweens and teens ages 12-18, ranging from memoirs to physiological horror. This YALSA committee also names a Top Ten list of outstanding audios. Take a look at the Amazing Audiobooks nomination list for even more great listens.


The RUSA Listen List¬†¬†highlights outstanding audiobook titles that merit special attention by general adult listeners and the librarians who work with them. I especially like how RUSA chooses 12 titles from the current year, then adds “listen-alike” backlist suggestions – a great listener’s advisory tool.


As a member of the 2014 Amazing Audiobooks committee, I can attest to the tremendous amount of time dedicated to discovering the titles that make the final ALA selection lists – we evaluated 290 audiobooks. I listened to 42,000 minutes of audiobooks – that’s 700 hours, or the equivalent of 17.5 forty-hour work weeks. Phew!

odysseyThe big kahuna of ALA audiobook recognition is the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production, sponsored jointly by ALSC, YALSA, and Booklist. This award names one winner as the best audio for children and/or teens, ages birth through age 18, and may also name Honor titles. This year’s winner proves lightning can strike twice – the exact same team won 2012′s gold for Rotters. Here are the 2014 Odyssey audiobooks:

WINNER:  Scowler, written by Daniel Kraus, narrated by Kirby Heyborne, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group.


Better Nate Than Ever, written by Tim Federle, narrated by Tim Federle and produced by Simon and Schuster Audio.

Creepy Carrots!, written by Aaron Reynolds, narrated by James Naughton and produced by Weston Woods Studios, Inc.

Eleanor & Park, written by Rainbow Rowell, narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra and produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group.

Matilda, written by Roald Dahl, narrated by Kate Winslet and produced by Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Watch the video below to catch the excitement of the Odyssey announcement at the Youth Media Awards, and listen to a clip of the truly terrifying winner, Scowler.

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15. Freebie Friday

Snowbound? Download over 100 hours of FREE epic-length audiobooks! Crime & Punishment, the Bible, and a James Rollins thriller.


This month’s free download from Christian Audio is the¬†ESV Hear the Word Audio Bible – a 75 hour blockbuster narrated by¬†David Cochran Heath, an accurate yet accessible translation. I highly recommend downloading the MP4 version, so that you can easily skip between chapters. Here’s the download link: http://christianaudio.com/free



Z4575.inddDownpour Audio’s monthly freebie is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Constance Garnett, and read by Anthony Heald – a 20.5 hour classic and 2009¬†Audie Award Finalist. Grab this download by entering the promocode “crimefree” when you checkout here.


{CE2F590A-A6A8-4133-8EA6-6B11701E3C79}Img100If you have the Overdrive Media Console installed on your device, you can download & play Map of Bones by James Rollins, narrated John Meagher, courtesy of AudiobookStandDL. This thriller has 14 hours of action Рdownload it here.



There you go – 109 hours of audiobook goodness. So whether you’re battling the blizzard with snow shovel in hand, or curled up on the couch with a hot chocolate in hand, you’ll have plenty of great audios in your ear to survive the storm. Happy listening!



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16. Freebie Friday

Six terrific FREE audio downloads: celebrity reads by Ben Stiller & Tim Curry, well-loved classics, and more to fill your holiday travel time!

mittyPerfectly timed to the release of the movie starring Ben Stiller, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber, read by Stiller, is a free download from Audible available here.



undeadAnother freebie from Audible has a holiday vampire theme – I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas, written by¬†Molly Harper and narrated by Amanda Ronconi, is¬†available here.



z4692.inddCharles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, narrated by Booklist’s Voice of Choice Simon Prebble, is free at Downpour here by using the code freechristmas during checkout.



cc2Compare Prebble’s version to another Audible free download – Tim Curry’s narration of A Christmas Carol.




avatars-000004192298-id7mws-t200x200The New Yorker’s fiction podcasts are a great resource, plus the magazine has added a poetry podcast to the excellent audio author discussions & readings.



LeadershipSecrets_FREE_3DMore than ringing bells & kettles, there’s plenty of business wisdom in¬†Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army, read by authors Robert Watson & Ben Brown – this month’s free download from Christian Audio:¬†http://christianaudio.com



Happy holidays to all and to all great listening!

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17. Top 100


What are the Top 100 audiobooks of 2013 as measured by library downloads? OverDrive Media released a list of the most popular audios downloaded so far this year. In this post on the company’s blog, libraries can take a look at the complete list in the OverDrive Marketplace, to beef up the audiobook collection. Or just click on the image above to read the list for yourself. I noticed plenty of the usual suspects – blockbuster bestsellers, novels turned into current movies, popular YA crossovers – and one surprise, Wheat Belly. But there are also titles that I’ve never heard of – I suspect these are the uber popular Romance titles that drive library downloads, a category that isn’t my strong suit. The titles aren’t ranked by number of downloads, so no one title can take the top dog honors. But take a look – you’ll find lots of great listening, and a good tool for library promotions & marketing!

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18. Freebie Friday


Nine free audiobook downloads – classics & current favorites. Load up your MP3 player or phone with these goodies!

From Random House Audio: The “Try Audiobooks” promotion has something for every type of audiobook listener – and their promotional ideas are a great model for libraries to replicate ;-) . ¬†Grab¬†A Week in Summer¬†by Maeve Binchy;¬†The Cult of the Garage¬†by Chip Heath & Dan Heath;¬†Clan Rathskeller¬†by Kevin Hearne;¬†Lee Child‚Äôs¬†Second Son,¬†read by his partner in crime Dick Hill¬†; and¬†Jack London‚Äôs classic¬†The Call of the Wild,¬†read by Luke Daniels, the tile that inspired my Voices in My Head column¬†‚ÄúIt‚Äôs on the Tip of My¬†Tongue.‚ÄĚ Here’s the promotion’s website where you can download all five:¬†http://www.tryaudiobooks.com/

From Naxos Audio: Two free classic downloads.¬†The Call of the Wild¬†¬†read by¬†William Roberts will gives you a chance to compare how two different fine narrators can interpret a title when paired with the Random House freebie, plus¬†Northanger Abbey¬†beautifully¬†read by¬†Juliet Stevenson. ¬†Naxos also has a free nonfiction children’s title,¬†Famous People in History, Volume 1, along with a supplemental informational booklet. Grab all three here:¬†http://www.naxosaudiobooks.com/m4b.htm

And this month’s free download from Christian Audio is The Cross and the Switchblade¬†by David Wilkerson and John & Elizabeth Sherrill,¬†read by Paul Michael – still a best-seller fifty years after its first publication. Click here to download.

Happy listening!


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19. Last Sync Freebie

FREE two powerful YA audiobooks: National Book Award honoree Sold by Patricia¬†McCormick &¬†Let Me Stand Alone:¬†The Journals of Rachel Corrie, the focus of a “Voicing a Cause” interview with narrator Tavia Gilbert. Both of these amazing audios would make terrific conversation starters for classrooms or family discussions about tough issues, such as American activist Corrie’s¬†death while trying to block the demolition of a Palestinian family‚Äôs home in the Gaza Strip or McCormick’s sensitive free verse novel about a young Nepalese girl sold into human tracking in India. This week’s free downloads are the final selections in this year’s SYNC promotion – a collaborative effort of audiobook producers to provide free audios to young listeners all summer long. If you’ve enjoyed the SYNC downloads, please take time to provide any requested feedback, so that SYNC continues to be a yearly affair!

SoldSold by Patricia McCormick, read by Justine Eyre, published by Tantor Media.

Let Me Stand Alone Audi0Let Me Stand Alone:The Journals of Rachel Corrie by Rachel Corrie, read by Tavia Gilbert, published by Talkbox / Blackstone Audiobooks

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20. Voicing a Cause: Tavia Gilbert

Let Me Stand Alone Audi0

Honoring the message & mission of¬†Rachel Corrie, narrator Tavia Gilbert’s FREE audiobook¬†Let Me Stand Alone:The Journals of Rachel Corrie¬†is a perfect example of how craft & cause can merge into a marvelous reflection of humanity. If you’ve missed other examples of this occasional focus on Audiobooker, please check out the passion of Dion Graham, Xe Sands, and Debra & Bob Deyan, all members of the audiobook community with causes that matter. I am especially honored to feature Tavia’s reflections on the life of Rachel Corrie during the same week that her audiobook memoir is available for FREE through SYNC – but for one week only, so download now! You can learn more about Tavia, a¬†narrator and a producer of solo and multi-voice audiobooks, in this Audiobooker post.¬†Listen to Edward Asner talk about his experience about narrating the introduction, along with Tavia’s reactions here, and scroll down to the bottom of the interview to see a video of Tavia in the recording booth.

Please tell us about your involvement in this cause, Tavia.

My attention was drawn to Rachel Corrie’s story some years ago when my parents heard Rachel’s parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie, speak about the grim reality of day-to-day life for the Palestinian people, and their daughter Rachel’s tragic and unnecessary death in 2003, when she was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while working as a human rights observer in the Gaza strip. I became aware that Alan Rickman, the iconic film actor, had edited Rachel’s writings to craft a one-person show called My Name is Rachel Corrie, then discovered that Rachel’s parents had edited and published a book-length collection of her journal entries, written from the age of ten years until just days before her death.

When I learned that the collection of Rachel’s contemplations had never been put into audio, I felt strongly that it must be recorded. Rachel was remarkably clear-thinking from her very earliest years about the privilege of being a middle-class, white, educated American, and she was troubled by the fact that not everyone in the world lived with the safety and abundance she did, and she wrote beautifully, passionately, and intelligently about her meditations on privilege, her feelings of personal responsibility for perpetuating injustice and taking action against it, and her desire to substantively make the world a more peaceful and fairer place. And I felt that I was the right person to record the book, because the parallels between Rachel’s and my life were striking ‚ÄĒ we were roughly the same age; we both grew up in the West; we were both writers; we had both often felt like outsiders in the culture and community in which we were raised; and from a very early age, we were both very aware of and sensitive to pain and suffering and injustice.

I reached out to the Corries to introduce myself and to ask for their permission to record the book. They were incredibly gracious, grounded, generous, and devoted people, and I was so honored when the eventually agreed to allow me to record their beloved daughter’s words. I asked Ed Asner, a friend and a long-time advocate for Palestinian sovereignty, to record Craig Corrie’s introduction to Rachel’s book, which is called Let Me Stand Alone. The Maine Arts Commission offered me grant funding, and then Blackstone Audio agreed to distribute the book. I am very proud of the work, which I recorded exactly ten years after Rachel was killed. Recording her words on the ten-year anniversary of her death was very difficult, moving, humbling. I felt both the joy of being connected to her unique and beautiful spirit, as well as fresh grief at her loss.

Why have you chosen to go public with your involvement in this effort?

It grieves me to know that had Rachel lived, she would have done notable and powerful social justice work and become a well-known and beloved writer. I think her contribution to the planet would have been enormous, and the fact that her life was cut so short ‚ÄĒ she was only 23 when she died ‚ÄĒ was a loss to us all. My work was to bring Rachel’s voice to life and, I hope, to share her magnificent heart and mind and consciousness with new audiences. It was the least I could do to honor Rachel, her family, the people who continue to advocate for human rights, safety, dignity, and justice for the Palestinians, and the Palestinian men, women, and child to whom Rachel was so devoted and compassionate.

How can other members of the audiobook community ‚Äď listeners, fans, professionals ‚Äď become involved and help?

The community can listen to Rachel’s remarkable story, Let Me Stand Alone, as well as educating themselves about the surreal and needless cruelty and apartheid inflicted upon the Palestinian people. Those are strong words, but to call the violence against and degradation of the Palestinians anything else would be disingenuous and divorced from reality.

Thank you for sharing your passion for this project, Tavia!¬†Get to know Tavia better in the video below…


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21. Voicing a Cause: Xe Sands


Looking for real-world Common Core multimedia & oral language projects? Xe Sands has created the Going Public project, a platform for crowd-sourced audiobooks, as well as an effort to raise funds for literacy. I spoke to Xe as part of an occasional focus here on Audiobooker about members of the audiobook community who are voicing a cause, such as Dion Graham and Debra & Bob Deyan. Going Public is a great way for audiobook fans, aspiring narrators, students and teachers to join with audio professionals in creating audio productions. Want more on audiobooks and the Common Core? Check out this “Voices in My Head” column.

Xe, please tell us about your involvement in Going Public & Reach Out and Read.

Thanks so much for asking about this, Mary. The Going Public…in Shorts project grew out of my weekly side effort, Going Public ‚Äď a platform for folks (professional narrators and others) to record and share public domain letters, poems, stories, etc. purely for the joy of doing it and giving back.

For June is Audiobook Month this year, I wanted to build on last year’s efforts during Audiobook Week, and suggested to a number of my narrator colleagues that we produce an audio short story series to be released as a ‚ÄúThank You!‚ÄĚ for listeners throughout the month of June. Karen White suggested that we broaden the effort into a philanthropic campaign, and Johnny Heller threw in the idea of supporting children’s literacy, and steadily our initially modest listener give-back had grown into an amazing, ambitious effort to that brought together 38 narrators reading 38 short pieces, 35+ bloggers helping to promote the¬† project, and a way to give back to listeners, feed our creative souls, and support Reach Out and Read, an innovative literacy advocacy organization working with physicians to serve more than 4 million children and their families across the nation. It was a phenomenal effort that brought together narrators, listeners, bloggers and publishers, for the love of listening and in support of children’s literacy. And I am overwhelmed by the support of the community for the project, and honored to have the participation of so many industry and narrator colleagues.

Please share your role in the audiobook community, and how you have found a platform to voice your cause.

My intent has always been to act as a positive, connective force in the industry, forging direct ties between the listening community and narrators, and shining a light on the books, performances or efforts of others that might otherwise be lost in the furor over heavily promoted projects. For me, as with all aspects of life, it’s all about individual relationships ‚Äď about reaching out on a grassroots level, one listener or blogger or reader at a time and establishing a genuine, personal connection based on mutual interests ‚Äď audiobook related or not. So once we decided we were really going to do this crazy thing, I reached out to the various folks I’ve connected with who have expressed interest in audio and/or literacy, or who just have a love for all things BOOK, and asked if they might be willing to help us get the word out. I was simply blown away by the outpouring of support, time and energy that we received in return. We simply couldn’t have done this without the audio and print blogging community and supportive outlets such as Publishers Weekly, Salon, AudioFile Magazine and you, Mary. Here’s a list of all the June blog posts featuring Going Public…In Shorts narrators.

Why have you chosen to go public with your involvement in Reach Out and Read?

By talking about this here, there and, well, everywhere, I’m hoping to raise awareness of both the treasures awaiting readers in the public domain, and the importance of Reach Out and Read’s and other children’s literacy organizations’ efforts. By offering the public a wonderful, diverse collection of public domain work, we hope to help listeners (re)discover some amazing writing and authors, while also helping an organization dedicated to getting books into the hands of children in very innovative ways, thus boosting literacy and creating a whole new generation of readers.

How can other members of the audiobook community ‚Äď listeners, fans, professionals ‚Äď become involved and help?

In the short-term, for listeners and fans, the easiest way to help is to purchase either individual stories or the full compilation, as all proceeds go to Reach Out and Read, and then spread the word to others via social media, blogs, word-of-mouth. Check out sound clips from each of the stories on SoundCloud.

For professionals, what would help most is what so many have already been doing (and for which we are so grateful!) – spread the word via your various connections. And let me know if you would be interested in participating in any similar future efforts.

In the long-term, I strongly encourage everyone to donate to Reach Out and Read or other literacy advocacy organizations, read to children at their local libraries, and read to their own children…and also consider joining me over at Going Public by sharing a piece of public domain work that really resonates with you, whether you record it or simply share the text or visual. I produce Going Public weekly, so there is always an opportunity to join me.

Thanks so much for spearheading this great effort, Xe! I am looking forward to sharing the Going Public project with teachers & students as we head into the classroom. What a great way to connect Common Core standards – students recording their own performances of public domain works – back to school with sound literature :-)




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22. Freebie Friday

Free fairytale audio downloads: ¬†Through the Looking Glass & Enchanted, a Teens Top Ten 2013 nominee. Two great titles for family listening, whether you choose the classic title that follows Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland¬†or Alethea Kontis’ clever fairy tale mash-up Enchanted, a 2013 Audies Award finalist featuring Booklist Voice of Choice Katherine Kellgren, which is also nominated for the¬†2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. Alethea Kontis created an Enchanted book trailer that includes Kellgren’s narration to celebrate her title’s free download on SYNC this week and the & $1.99 Kindle download special all month. Click the links below to grab the downloads¬†through Aug 14, and scroll down to watch the book trailer.


Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, read by Katherine Kellgren, published by Brilliance Audio

In a charming, humorous tumble of fairy tales blended into one novel, Sunday Woodcutter kisses an enchanted frog which then transforms back into the crown prince of Arilland‚Äďa man Sunday‚Äôs family despises.


Through The Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll, read by Miriam Margolyes, published by Bolinda Audio

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23. Back to School with Sound Literature

Sound Literature_crop

Practical tips for librarians & teachers integrating audiobooks in their collection. The June issue of American Libraries included an excerpt from my book Audiobooks for Youth , which I thought I’d share with you. Here’s the complete¬†Sound Literature¬†article, with lots of ideas for any audio collection, not just children’s or Young Adult titles.

And for great ideas for including audiobooks in the classroom curriculum, be sure to check out Voices in My Head: Audiobooks and the Common Core, featuring recommendations from Sharon Grover & Lizette Hannigan, authors of Listening to Learn: Audiobooks Supporting Literacy Рan essential title for educators. 

Looking for educational rationale & research to support building an audiobook collection? Check out the Slide Share links below. You’ll find PowerPoint presentations, plus printable resources if you click the “More” tab on the right of the slide show.

Beyond the Printed Word, a presentation at the International Reading Association 2012 Conference Рby Mary Burkey РTeacher-Librarian, Olentangy Local Schools, Michele Cobb: President РAudio Publishers Association, Francisca Goldsmith РInfopeople Project, Sharon Grover РHead of Youth Services, Hedberg Public Library (Janesville WI), and  Liz Hannegan, retired library media specialist from the Arlington (Virginia) Public Schools.

Evaluating Audiobooks: Selecting the Best for Children and Teens, a presentation at the 2009 American Library Association Annual Conference – by the members of the 2008 Odyssey Award committee.

I’ll be heading to ¬†my school library next Monday, looking forward to my nice long commute. More time for listening to great new audiobooks! For those of you starting back to school – ¬†best wishes for a great year. For those of you who have just wrapped up Summer Reading Club – take a well-deserved break! And for those gearing up for the school schedule family taxi service – don’t forget to stock up on plenty of great family listening ;-)

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24. Voicing a Cause: Dion Graham


Dion Graham: gifted narrator, speaking out for causes dear to his large heart.¬†I caught up with what’s new from Booklist Voice of Choice Graham, a multi-talented actor, narrator, director, and producer – a natural choice to feature in “Voicing a Cause,” an occasional look at members of the audiobook community using their role to give back. I started our conversation with questions about all things audio, and then learned more about two wonderful efforts where Graham has put his talents to work: the Pa’s Hat Foundation and Going Public…In Shorts.

Dion, your work as an actor has taken you from stage to screen and into the audiobook sound booth.  How have your experiences in front of live audiences and while working collaboratively with a television cast informed your work as an audiobook narrator? And conversely, how has your stellar career as a narrator affected your other pursuits as an actor? 

Great question, Mary. I think my work in all the various realms has led me to be more open to my own creative impulses, to allowing myself to be free in responding to the material. I approach each book differently based on how I respond to the author’s writing. It’s exciting to take imaginative risks in audiobook narration, allowing the narration to be as bold or as simple as the piece requires.
And it’s a big circle. My narration informs my acting in ¬†the same way.

Your audiobook credits run the gamut ‚Äď a spectrum of genres for all ages, with your performances always establishing a strong connection with the listener. Are there special considerations that you keep in mind when recording a picture book title for a very young listener as opposed to that of a classic work for an adult?

Another good question! What I try to keep in mind is the audience I’m that I’m bringing the story to life for. How would I tell this story to ¬†young person? If it’s a picture book, what are the illustrations telling us? If it’s a mystery or a western or a classic that’s targeted toward adults, how can I best channel the book to illuminate the author’s intent? Sometimes books have audiences that range across age and genre. I’m always interested in finding a way for the listener to organically connect to the story. Of course, it’s told through the lens of how I connect to the story. For me, it’s not formulaic. It depends on how I respond to the material. But by all means, I do think it’s important to bring it to life. Listeners respond to that.

In your role as audiobook director, you were recently nominated for the Audies Awards for both Children’s Titles for Ages Up to 8 and¬† Distinguished Achievement in Production. Are you exploring new paths in audio production?¬†

Well, I guess you could say that I AM exploring new paths in audio production via directing and producing. I’m very proud of We Are America:¬†A Tribute from the Heart,¬†though it’s not the first thing I’ve directed in audio or otherwise. I’m particularly proud because it’s the first time that a read-along picture book was recognized with a Distinguished Achievement In Production nomination so that says something about the quality of content, performance, and production. Certainly We Are America – with poetry by author Walter Dean Myers and illustrations by Christopher Myers – ¬†is much more than a simple picture book for kids. It speaks to us all. I’m delighted to continue my collaboration with Arnie Cardillo at Live Oak Media and honored that he asked me to direct it. Check it out folks, it’s a great listen! And there are other interesting things coming.

Two recent projects show your desire to give back ‚Äď tell us a little about the Pa’s Hat Foundation and your meeting with the president of Liberia.

Thanks for asking about the ¬†Pa’s Hat Foundation, Mary! Yes, I recently founded Pa’s Hat Foundation with colleague¬†Cori Thomas. We’re both co-directors. We established it to support arts education work with some of the former child soldiers in Liberia. Our aim is to to do some rigorous work together that we also hope will be fun. In this way we hope to provide an opportunity for growth and development for these young folks who have lost so much of their childhood to what they were forced to do. We also hope, in some small way, that The Liberia Project will be a source of healing. In due time we intend to expand the project to a wider participant group in Liberia. It’s likely that a documentary will follow the work that we do together which we intend to be ongoing.
We’ve recently returned from a very successful few weeks there getting the project off the ground – you can see a photo at the top of this post. We met with a number of possible young participants and others. And we were granted a private audience with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was most gracious and very supportive of our venture. I’m excited by our prospects and the challenging work ahead of us. We plan to be on the ground again in Liberia in 2014 after some successful fundraising.
You can find out more on our Facebook page,  https://www.facebook.com/PasHatFoundation and tax deductible donations can be made at http://www.pashatfoundation.org. Click on the flag!

I’ll be speaking with Xe Sands here on Voicing a Cause – tell me about your involvement in this cause.

Lastly, yes, I’m very happy to have participated in Going Public…In Shorts put together by Xe Sands. Several narrators contributed narrations of short pieces to benefit Reach Out and Read, an organization that promotes literacy for young children. The entire compilation is reasonably priced and all proceeds go to Reach Out and Read. I narrated Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address. That historic speech has always seemed a call to reach across boundaries to promote healing. Considering the times we’re living in, it seemed like a worthy choice.

What new titles are coming up for your audiobook fans?

In case folks are interested upcoming recordings are: The Double, the second book in the Spero Lucas series by George Pelecanos, Cave of Wonder (Infinity Ring, Book 5), and Full Moon is Rising by Marilyn Singer.

Thanks so much for taking time for Audiobooker, Dion. It’s always great to have you share your thoughts here!

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25. Voicing a Cause: Debra & Bob Deyan

Bob Debra Deyan

Bob Deyan, award-winning audiobook producer and man with a cause: fighting ALS. The list of accolades for titles produced by California-based¬†Deyan Audio is long and includes every audiobook honor imaginable, including Audies, Grammy Awards, plus recognition from the Audio Publishers Association with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Bob & Debra Deyan. For over 20 years, Bob has been dedicated to creating great audios, in partnership with his wife Debra. But the couple has turned their focus to making a positive impact in the world of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. I spoke with Debra to learn more about how she and Bob are voicing their cause.

Debra, you and Bob are so well-loved and respected in the audio production world. How have you involved the audiobook community in your cause?

Last week, we put up a Facebook page about Bob and his fight with ALS. We invited our personal friends from our own individual Facebook accounts to view it. During the first week over 10,000 people went to the site. We were dumbfounded and honored.

Please tell us about the path from diagnosis to your dedication to make a difference in the fight to find a cure and why have you chosen to go public with your involvement.

When Bob was diagnosed with ALS by the first of five neurologists who subsequently confirmed the diagnosis at the beginning of this year, we said what-what-what? What is ALS? What does that mean to us? What surgery, pill or cure is there and how fast can we do whatever Bob’s needs to do to get well? After all, every time Bob had something medically wrong with him in the past, there indeed was a pill or a surgery that fixed everything.¬†We were surprised to learn that there was no cure. And, even more surprised that the specialists kept saying that 50 percent of their ALS patients died within the first year. Most of the others died by the end of year two!

However, one doctor at Cedars Sinai Hospital and one doctor at USC University Hospital said they each had a patient alive that was on their 6th year and another patient on their 10th year out of over 100 patients each. That gave us hope. The most disturbing thing we kept hearing from each doctor is how many ALS patients are taken advantage of by criminals. We were strongly warned that there IS NO CURE and anyone saying they could help us would most likely be a fraud. ALS organizations and ALS doctors have been working with the media and the FBI to stop this. There are 20/20 investigation type shows documenting the great lengths that criminals will go to extort money from terminally ill ALS patients.

So, armed with this knowledge, we began to look under every rock to see what is happening with ALS research and how we could be a part of a solution. It occurred to us that we had lived a very deep and fulfilling life in the heart of the Hollywood acting scene and linked to the amazing industry of publishing. Between these two highly influential circles there might be a way to bring voice to an illness that not everyone had heard of. We found that there are three upcoming stem cell research clinical trials to be held in the US this year. We found ALS.org was helping raise money for research, but they were also helping those who have ALS with practical advice and assistance. ALS.net (or ALS-TDI) was conducting pharmaceutical research. The MDA also had a branch that helped ALS patients. Steve Gleason the former NFL football player had an organization that raised awareness and funds to help ALS patients live an active life. And, there are others out there fighting the good fight against ALS.

Bob has chosen to go public with his involvement to fight ALS because he and I both feel a sense of responsibility to the patients that come behind us. The sooner we can find a cure, the more lives we can save.

How can other members of the audiobook community ‚Äď listeners, fans, professionals ‚Äď become involved and help?

We began to film a short documentary about Bob’s life to be posted on http://www.bobdeyan.com/¬†and on the Facebook &¬†Twitter¬†sites for ALS Bob. Our plan is to post the video by August 1st and to let everyone in our circle of actors and publishing know about it. Hopefully, the ones we touch will then pass it on to their circles, much in the way you are doing by putting something about Bob’s ALS fight in your blog.

We have begun putting together a group that will walk to raise awareness and funds for ALS.org in October. The walk will be in Exposition Park in LA.
We will put donation buttons on the http://www.bobdeyan.com/ website that will direct folks to donate to worthy ALS organizations like the ones I described above.

The medical community believes that there is a cure and that they can find it with the right funding. Most in the medical community believe that the cure is at least 5, if not 10 years and a billion dollars away. So, we have a lot of work to do ahead of us! I hope others do get involved in this fight along side of Bob, listeners and fans of audiobooks along with other professionals in publishing and acting. I think they can all help by making this disease widely known. Pass the information from Facebook page to Facebook page. Or re-tweeting to their own circles. Also, donating to worthy causes, or being part of a Walk to end ALS and donating their time while collecting funds from others.

We have been considering ways to expand our efforts and a benefit concert is just one possibility. We are open to any and all ways that can be thought of to spread the word and raise money for research.

Thank you much for inspiring me to take part on Team Deyan in the Walk to Defeat ALS – and to start a new focus here on Audiobooker to highlight how other members of the audiobook community are voicing a cause. And a special thanks for the inspiring story you’ve shared with us today. Much love to you and Bob.¬†

Thanks for caring about Bob and his fight. He really is one of the bravest and loveliest people I have ever known. Even in our private moments he’s never been depressed or angry. Although he desperately wants to live and help in any way to find a cure, he tells me he is at peace with whatever happens. And, I think he is. His strength of character and resolve inspire me to keep it together and to do all I can to help him enjoy our family, friends and work while he is able.¬†I love your idea to make a special feature for your fantastic blog called “Voicing a Cause”! There are so many worthy causes that need attention and social media is an amazing place to give voice to worthy causes and garner support.

Take a moment to watch the video below of Bob & Debra’s Lifetime Achievement Award presentation at the Audies Awards on May 30, 2013, one of the loveliest and most heartfelt events I’ve ever had the honor to attend.

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