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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Best Audiobooks, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. 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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2. Best Audiobooks of 2012


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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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…


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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5. TODAY! What’s New in Audiobooks

Free webinar for fans & librarians Tuesday June 12, 2pm Eastern. Celebrate National Audiobook Month this June with Booklist! Representatives from AudioGO, Books on Tape/Random House, Dreamscape, Recorded Books, and Tantor Audio will discuss the latest audios and upcoming trends in this hour-long, free webinar. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with audiobook experts and get a preview of summer and fall listening titles. If you can’t attendin real time, sign up any way – you’ll get a link to the archived webinar

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6. Freebie Friday

Including MUST-HAVE audiobook Skulduggery Pleasant, one of my all-time favorites! Grab this Odyssey Honor title – you’ll fall in love with Rupert Degas’ amazing narration.

This week’s two free downloads from SYNC:

 Skulduggery PleasantBy Derek Landy. Read by Rupert Degas. Published by HarperAudio
When a not-so-innocent twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie inherits her eccentric uncle’s estate, she must join forces with Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton mage, to save the world from an ancient evil.

 Dead Men Kill (Stories from the Golden Age). By L. Ron Hubbard. Read by Jennifer Aspen and a Full Cast. Published by Galaxy Press

When several of the city’s most respected citizens are inexplicably killed by what appear to be zombies, all Detective Terry Lane has to go on is a blue-gray glove, a Haitian pharmacy bill for some very unusual drugs, and a death threat from a mysterious stranger.

Next week with be the last week of the completely fantastic SYNC promotion. Hope you’ve downloaded all of the great FREE audios!


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7. #JIAM Booklist audiobook webinar available online

Miss last week’s suggestions of great new titles? The session is now available in the BooklistOnline archive of past webinars – here’s a direct link, just click the Playback button. Here’s a description of last Tuesday’s event:

Top new titles featured in Booklist magazine’s What’s New in Audiobooks webinar this coming Tuesday, June 14.  June is National Audiobook Month and the perfect time to experience a lively and informative hour of audiobook talk, moderated by Booklist Media editor Sue-Ellen Beauregard. Join Michele Cobb from AudioGo, Andrea McLin from Books on Tape/Listening Library, Brad Rose from Dreamscape, Susan Lovley from HighBridge Audio, and Trond Knutsen from L.A. Theatre Works for an enlightening discussion of audiobook trends and titles. Learn about the latest audios and where audios are heading in the future. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with audiobook experts and get a heads up on summer listening titles.

The archived event has the PowerPoint slides, a complete list of suggested titles, and the audio of the webinar. And be sure to check out ALL the past Booklist webinars by clicking  here- great ideas for book lovers, audiobook fans, adults, teens, kids, librarians, teachers – something for everyone!

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8. 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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9. A+ Audio: Dead End in Norvelt

Jack Gantos: amazing author and outstanding narrator. Read my interview below, first printed at BooklistOnline, to hear what Gantos thinks about the value of audiobooks, the power of a male voice, and the need for more humor in literature for kids & teens. And be sure to listen to the audiobook of Dead End in Norvelt, Gantos’ newest novel, brilliantly narrated by the author. Sure, it will probably be shelved in the youth department of your library, but the story set in 1962 will resonate with adult listeners, garnering tears, laughter, and heart-tugging affection for the title’s main character Jack Gantos. There’s even a terrific interview with the author at the end of the audio, where you’ll learn just how autobiographical the story really is. Get more details from my starred review of this marvelous family-listening,  must-have audiobook for all library collections.

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 eno

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10. 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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11. 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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12. 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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13. 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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14. 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!


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

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.

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

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

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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15. Best in Children’s & YA Audiobooks

I’m still thrilled about the Youth Media Awards announcements yesterday morning – especially the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. This year’s Odyssey roster has an interesting theme of multiplicity: Odyssey winner Live Oak Media gathered its second gold medal for Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken, Listen & Live Audio now has three Odyssey Honors for the Bloody Jack series with In the Belly of the Bloodhound the 2010 honoree, and Brilliance Audio is a double honor recipient this year for Peace, Locomotion and We Are the Ship. Kudos to Odyssey chair Sharon Grover and her stalwart crew of  committee members for their countless hours under the headphones. Now I’m waiting for the ALA youth audiobook selection lists Notable Children’s Recordings and Amazing Audiobooks to be posted on their websites. What a great year of listening to children’s & YA literature! Here’s the complete ALA press release about the Odyssey Award:

2010 Odyssey Award Audiobook

Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken, produced by Live Oak Media, written by Kate DiCamillo, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

Louise, a French chicken with wanderlust, finds adventure in Kate DiCamillo’s comical picture book. Whimsical sound effects, playful background music and Barbara Rosenblat’s impressive repertoire of voices combine in this tour-de-force listening experience.

“These productions showcase the talents of three extraordinary narrators, who craft a diverse range of voices and characters appealing to a wide variety of ages,” said Odyssey Award Committee Chair Sharon Grover.
2010 Honor Audiobooks

In the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber, written by L.A. Meyer, narrated by Katherine Kellgren, produced by Listen & Live Audio, Inc.

Katherine Kellgren pulls out all the vocal stops, singing and spinning yarns in her dynamic reading of L.A. Meyer’s fourth dramatic Bloody Jack escapade.

Peace, Locomotion, written by Jacqueline Woodson, narrated by Dion Graham, produced by Brilliance Audio.

Through Dion Graham’s heartfelt performance, Lonnie Collins shares hopes for peace in letters to his beloved sister, heightening the lyrical narrative of Jacqueline Woodson’s story.

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, written by Kadir Nelson, narrated by Dion Graham, produced by Brilliance Audio.

Bluesy harmonica music introduces

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16. Audies Awards 2010

What a great night of festivities celebrating the best in the audiobook industry! Here’s the complete list of winners:

Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales by Nelson Mandela, narrated by a full cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Helen Mirren, Don Cheadle, and Alan Rickman (Hachette Audio)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett, narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Jenna Lamia, Octavia Spencer, and Bahni Turpin (Penguin Audiobooks)

SOLO NARRATION – MALE For excellence in the solo reading of an audiobook by a male, any category: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, narrated by Charlton Griffin (Audio Connoisseur)

For excellence in the solo reading of an audiobook by a female, any category: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams, narrated by Jenna Lamia (Macmillan Audio)

FICTION For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, and mix of an abridged or unabridged fiction audiobook. This category is for those titles that do not fit into the specific fiction categories below: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, narrated by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer, and Cassandra Campbell (Penguin Audio)

LITERARY FICTION For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, and mix of an abridged or unabridged audiobook of literary fiction: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, narrated by Simon Slater (Macmillan Audio)

MYSTERY For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, mix and abridgment when applicable of an unabridged or abridged mystery audiobook, usually featuring a protagonist trying to solve a crime, usually a murder committed early in the story: Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley, narrated by Michael Boatman (Audible, Inc.)

THRILLER/SUSPENSE For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, mix and abridgment when applicable of an unabridged or abridged thriller/suspense audiobook, usually featuring a protagonist racing to stop a catastrophe from occurring: Darling Jim: A Novel by Christian Moerk, narrated by Stephen Hoye and Justine Eyre (Tantor Media)

ROMANCE For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, mix, and an abridgment when applicable of an audiobook of romance, including romantic suspense, historical romance, and other romance subgenres: The Untamed Bride by Stephanie Laurens, narrated by Simon Prebble (HarperAudio)

SCIENCE FICTION For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, mix, and abridgment when applicable of an unabridged or abridged science fiction audiobook: Bellwether by Connie Willis, narrated by Connie Willis (Blackstone Audio)

CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES UP TO 8 For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, mix, and abridgment (when applicable) of a children’s audiobook. Audiobooks accompanied by book product are accepted in this category: Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat (Live Oak Media)

CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES 8-12 For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, mix, and abridgment (when applicable) of a children’s audiobook for middle readers: Operation Yes by Sara Holmes, narrated by Jessica Almasy (Audible, Inc.)

TEEN For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, mix, and abridgment (when applicable) of a young adult audiobook: Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson, narrated by Dion Graham (Brilliance Audio)

BUSINESS/EDUCATIONAL For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, mix, and abridgment (when applica

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17. APAC & Audies update

Here’s a round-up of links for audiobook fans who missed the big events in NYC that served as a perfect beginning to the bustle of Book Expo America. It was every bit as fun as that big grin on Hachette Audio’s Anthony Goff’s face shows – and check out the Audies in his hands for the 2010 “Audiobook of the Year” Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales and “Personal Development” winner Nurtureshock.

The Audio Publishers Association Conference on Monday, May 24th was a meeting of the minds of audiobook publishers & narrators, with a sprinkling of fans & librarians in the mix. Sessions highlighted the fast-changing world of format and digital rights (with some thought-provoking new iPhone app products), social networking, and new channels of distribution. Preliminary results of APA’s industry survey had some interesting (and positive)  numbers. I’ll report more once the results are final. One minor quibble from this audiobook-purchasing librarian – when describing where consumers got their audiobooks, library access was referred to as “free.” I know that the audience was industry professionals, but last time I checked, libraries pay a premium and are the opposite of illegal downloads. If you’re a librarian and would like to add your two cents in the soon-to-be-completed Audio Publishers Association’s Library Survey, click here and fill out the detailed questions to let your voice be heard. For an insider’s view, Booklist’s 2008 Voice of Choice Simon Vance shared his views about APAC and the Audies on his newly-designed blog – take look here: http://simonvance.com/category/blog/. Or search Twitter for #apac10. In this fast-changing audiobook world that combines the oldest form of literature and digital technology, APAC Keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk had a great take-away quote: “Never the platform, always the message.”

The Audio Publishers Association’s Audies Awards are the industry’s “Oscars” for the best in audiobooks, with criteria is different from that of ALA’s audiobook lists & awards as the packaging, marketing, and publicity are part of the judging. The event is a star-studded night of celebration and this year’s beautiful weather on May 25th made the pre-award dinner & drinks on the terrace of the Museum of the City of New York perfectly enchanting. What fun to chat with amazing authors such as 0 Comments on APAC & Audies update as of 1/1/1900

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18. Top audiobook narrator of 2010: Simon Prebble

Booklist’s “Voice of Choice” recognition honors the stellar performer of over 500 titles in the June “Audiobook Showcase” issue. Joyce Saricks’ feature article highlights the myriad facets of Prebble’s 20-year career narrating an astounding spectrum of top titles. I’m a HUGE fan of Preble’s narration of Anthony Horowitz’s teen/tween novels, especially the creepy Raven’s Gate. I vividly remember the day that Prebble had me so entranced on my morning commute that I was white-knuckles on the steering wheel shouting “Nooo…” while I drove ten miles past my turn-off to work before dazedly registering that I was actually driving a car. Congratulations, Simon, and thank you for so many hours of audiobook enjoyment! What a perfect addition to the dream team of  Barbara Rosenblat & Simon Vance, Booklist’s 2009 & 2008 “Voice of Choice” honorees :-)

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19. Family audiobooks on the go

Need a list of vacation suggestions that appeal to all ages? Here’s the list of great discussion starters, fantastic fantasy, historical heroes, and just plain fun from my “Voices in My Head” column in this month’s Booklist. I selected many of my favorite recent youth and young adult audiobooks that hold lots of  interest for grown-ups, and may even teach both generations a thing or two. Listening together leads to meaningful conversations between parents & children, and sharing great books make lifelong memories. Plus, kids will keep their well-earned literacy skills sharp through listening by building vocabulary and increasing comprehension. So turn your car into a mobile storyteller’s circle as you head out on a well-deserved summer vacation.

Happy listening!

Discussion Starters

The Burn Journals. (Recorded Books, 2008)
Mature teens and adults will be moved by Christopher Evan Welch’s reading of this memoir of a 17-year-old who tried—and failed—to commit suicide by setting himself on fire.

Marcelo and the Real World. (Listening Library, 2009)
Booklist’s 2009 Top of the List winner, read by Lincoln Hoppe, is the tale of a teenager with an autismlike condition who spends the summer at his father’s law firm facing real-world challenges.

Peace, Locomotion. (Brilliance, 2009)
Foster care, separation, war, and peace—topics in 12-year-old Lonnie’s letters to his sister are lyrically spare yet emotionally strong in this 2010 Odyssey Honor title read by Dion Graham.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time. (Recorded Books, 2009)
Greg Mortenson’s mission to repay kindness with education in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan through the power of individual action is revealed in this memoir read by Patrick G. Lawlor.

Fantastic Fantasy

The Demon King. (Recorded Books, 2009)
Carol Monda narrates this story in which a boy wizard, street urchin, and princess are drawn into an epic battle between a malevolent demon and the heir of a warrior queen.

Graceling. (Full Cast, 2009)
Romantic sparring partners Katsa and Prince Po combine their onerous talents on a quest to battle injustice in a lush and dangerous kingdom; the action comes fully alive in this dramatized production.

The Hunchback Assignments. (Listening Library, 2009)
Versatile Jayne Entwistle narrates this ripping yarn featuring a troubled young hero and his plucky female foil battling a mad scientist in richly imagined steampunk London.

Leviathan. (Recorded Books, 2009)
Exiled Prince Aleksandar and Deryn, a female commoner disguised as an airman, make an uneasy alliance in an alternate WWI Europe where living machines battle mechanical weapons. Narrated by Alan Cumming.

History on the Highway

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. (Brilliance, 2009)
Inspirational true story of trailblazing women with the “right stuff” who were denied a place in history because of gender bias; read by Susan Ericksen.

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. (Scholastic, 2009)
Will Patton’s theatrical drawl lends a nineteenth-century tone to this gripping true account of Lincoln’s assassination and hunt for his k

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20. #ALA10 A Listening Odyssey

Need suggestions for great children’s & YA listening? Check out the titles discussed during the American Library Association’s recent Annual Conference. Notable Children’s Recordings evaluates titles for kids ages birth to 14, and includes both music & audiobooks on the 2010 discussion list found here: http://bit.ly/b4sSbs. YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks discussed titles for teens ages 12-18 on the list found here: http://bit.ly/9rd9Yw. The discussions of the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Productions are confidential, with the highly-anticipated results revealed during the Youth Media Awards press conference in January, so you’ll have to wait until then to learn about this year’s selections. But the current Odyssey winner & honor titles are a must-listen for every audiobook aficionado! One of the highlights of ALA Annual was the marvelous Odyssey Award ceremony hosted by ALSC, YALSA, and Booklist magazine. The narrators of the Odyssey titles – Katherine Kellgren, Barbara Rosenblat, and Dion Graham (pictured above LtoR) – shared their love of the audiobook format and even revealed some narration secrets. Next time you see me, ask how Barbara created the gurgling last words of a drowning pirate!  The post-awards ceremony reception hosted by the Audio Publishers Association was a love fest of audiobook fans mingling with the best in audiobook production, direction, and narration. The ceremony will take place on  Monday afternoon at each ALA Annual, so pencil in the date for next year in  New Orleans!

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21. Grammy 2010 audiobook nominees

So have you seen the Grammy nominations for audiobook / spoken word recordings? Looks a bit like the “Best Spoken Word by a Celebrity Reader or Celebrity Author/Reader” category ;-)

But hey, the celebrity readers who are actually great audiobook narrators are few & far between – so kudos to the nominees! (See my reflections on the Brad Pitt factor)

Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling) (Adult titles)

American On Purpose Read/Written by Craig Ferguson [HarperAudio]

The Bedwetter Read/Written by Sarah Silverman [HarperAudio]

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook) Read/Written by Jon Stewart (With Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, Jason Jones, John Oliver & Sigourney Weaver) [Hachette Audio]

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To The Future… Read/Written by Michael J. Fox [Hyperion Audio]

This Time Together: Laughter And Reflection Read/Written by Carol Burnett [Random House Audio]

The Woody Allen Collection: Mere Anarchy, Side Effects, Without Feathers, Getting Even Read/Written by Woody Allen [Audible Inc.]

Best Spoken Word Album For Children
For albums consisting of predominantly spoken word vs. music or song.

Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl: The Definitive Edition Read by Selma Blair [Random House Audio/Listening Library]

The Best Candy In The Whole World Read/Written by Bill Harley [Round River Records]

Healthy Food For Thought: Good Enough To Eat (Read by Various Artists) Jim Cravero, Paula Lizzi & Steve Pullara, producers [East Coast Recording Company]

Julie Andrews’ Collection Of Poems, Songs, And Lullabies Read/Written by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton [Hachette Audio]

Nanny McPhee Returns Read/Written by Emma Thompson [Macmillan Audio With Universal Studios]

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22. 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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23. Musselman Interview

An insider’s look at Odyssey-winner The True Meaning of Smekday. I had the opportunity to talk with one of the very best in the audiobook business, Random House Audio’s director of studio productions Dan Musselman, after the 2011 Odyssey Award winners were announced by the American Library Association. The task of Sarah McCarville’s Odyssey committee of expert listeners was to choose ONE best audiobook out of all the titles produced for children from birth up to & including age 18. After narrowing the field to 429 (!) eligible titles, they selected Musselman’s Random House Audio/Listening Library production of The True Meaning of Smekday, written by Adam Rex and narrated by Bahni Turpin, as the winner.  I was thrilled to hear the announcement of the winner, as Smekday is on my list of all-time favorite audiobooks (as you can tell from my starred review review here). So I was curious to hear what Dan – who has produced over 3,000 audiobooks in his career – would share about his reaction to the Odyssey Award. Read the whole interview here for a fascinating look inside the audiobook studio.

If you’re looking for a great family listening audiobook for your Spring Break car trip, get you hands on Smekday. You’ll laugh your way down the highway – and have some food for thought to trigger thoughtful conversation. And be sure you have all the Odyssey titles in your library collection, including this year’s Odyssey Honor titles:  Revolution, which Musselman coproduced with Orli Moscowitz, Alchemy and Meggy Swann (both from Listening Library), and Brilliance Audio’s The Knife of Never Letting Go and Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

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24. Today’s Video Break: Tim Ditlow

Meet the man with the Midas touch. A lifetime spent in the YA & Children’s audiobook publishing field has given Tim Ditlow an unparalleled depth of knowledge. From his groundbreaking work leading Listening Library, the company founded by his mother & father, to his current position as Vice President, Young Adult and Children’s Acquisition Editor for Brilliance Audio, the Ditlow touch has resulted in countless unforgettable audio productions.

Setting the standard for unabridged children’s novels? Ditlow. Securing U.S. rights for for the Harry Potter audiobooks and casting Jim Dale as narrator? Ditlow. Spearheading the full cast recording of The Golden Compass with author Phillip Pullman as narrator? Ditlow. Initiating the availability of visual content, such as photos and illustrations, on disc as audiobook bonus content? Ditlow. You can hear the result of his Midas acquisition touch on two of this year’s Odyssey Honor titles: The Knife of Never Letting Go and will grayson, will grayson.

Today’s video is courtesy of Ed Spicer‘s spicyguyreader YouTube channel. Enjoy this nine minute video – here’s Ed’s description:

Tim Ditlow talks about the world of audio books. He talks about how students could explore becoming a narrator, about what makes a good audio book, and the differences between audio and print. He makes a great case for why audio books are an important and necessary addition for schools and teachers. He does all this and still seems like someone we would want for our best friend.

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25. Audiobooks on NPR

The 2011 Audies Awards featured on Talk of the Nation today, with Arnie Cardillo (Live Oak Media), narrator George Guidall, and Janet Benson, president Audio Publishers Association, the guests. Cardillo spoke about about his production Here in Harlem, by Walter Dean Myers, the winner of this year’s Distinguished Achievement in Production award, and mentioned ALA’s Odyssey Award. Guidall shared his opinions on the value of listening and how he became a narrator. Benson spoke about current challenges facing publishers with the transition to digital, and mentioned synced text & audio – the toggle effect I am SO waiting for!!

And here’s a conundrum – NPR uses the term “audio book.” The Audio Publishers Association has championed the adoption of the single-word name audiobook. And just recently I picked up a flyer in a local public library where both terms were used! Of course, there are plenty out there that still call CDs & digital downloads “books on tape.” :-)

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