Updated: Jan 25
Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors select the best new audiobooks just for BookTrib’s readers. This month, listeners will hum a few Paul Simon tunes, brace themselves for nuclear warfare, reminisce about C.S. Lewis’ famed wardrobe and more. So, grab your earbuds and queue ’em up!
Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan | Read by Fiona Hardingham Harper Muse | 7 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner Fiona Hardingham showcases great range in her enchanting and touching narration. She enthusiastically portrays Megs Devonshire, a mathematics student at Oxford who sets out to ask C.S. Lewis about the inspiration behind Narnia for her little brother, George. Hardingham’s heartfelt and emotive performance capturing the power of books adds even more magic to Callahan’s beautiful story.
Miracle and Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon by Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam, Paul Simon | Read by Malcolm Gladwell, Paul Simon Pushkin Industries | 5 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner This is one of the finest examples of audio autobiography/biography. Gleaned from 30 hours of conversation, the work features Paul Simon’s exploration of his professional and private lives and songwriting itself. Author Malcolm Gladwell intersperses historical and biographical facts that give even greater context to the musician’s comments. Together they break down the musical and thought processes that went into such legendary songs as “The Boxer” and “The Sound of Silence.” Apparently There Were Complaints: A Memoir Written and read by Sharon Gless Simon & Schuster Audio | 9.75 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner Actor Sharon Gless’ animated yet intimate tone, gentle pacing and husky timbre will keep listeners glued to her fascinating memoir. Listeners learn of her privileged but unsettled childhood, her struggles with weight and alcohol, and her unconventional romantic life. And, of course, there is an extensive behind-the-scenes look at her film, theater and television career, including her Emmy-winning role in the 1980s hit TV show Cagney & Lacey. Listeners will enjoy spending time with the fiercely independent, frank and appealing Gless. Never by Ken Follett | Read by January LaVoy Penguin Audio | 24 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner January LaVoy narrates this epic novel encompassing characters of various nationalities, ethnicities, social standings, politics and motives. LaVoy performs each character with an identifiable voice, keeping listeners engaged and attuned. This cautionary tale strikes on a visceral level as global misunderstandings snowball into the threat of a nuclear war. Follett skillfully weaves four interconnected plotlines. Listeners will be riveted as the unimaginable becomes possible, and LaVoy’s narration becomes unpausable. (Read BookTrib’s review here.) Family Business: Lydia Chin/Bill Smith, Book 14 by S.J. Rozan | Read by Emily Woo Zeller Blackstone Audio | 8.5 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner Emily Woo Zeller delivers a terrific narration of Rozan’s newest mystery, featuring New York City private eye Lydia Chin and her partner, Bill Smith. The complex, fast-paced and witty story involves an old building, Chinatown’s Tong gang, a developer and the historic preservation society. Zeller convincingly transforms herself into a wide range of female and male characters. Her audible smile adds to the humor. And her pacing propels the action. The Vanished Days: Slains, Book 3 by Susanna Kearsley | Read by Robert Ian Mackenzie Recorded Books | 15.75 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner Robert Ian Mackenzie narrates a sweeping romance set against the early years of the Jacobite cause in the mid-1700s. Adam Williamson is drawn into an inquiry regarding a claim made by a young widow to collect her husband’s share of monies owed — but he doesn’t expect all that follows. While the story is dense with religion, history and politics, Mackenzie keeps everything moving with his adroit handling of multiple timelines and numerous characters. The Perks of Loving a Wallflower: The Wild Wynchesters, Book 2 by Erica Ridley | Read by Moira Quirk Hachette Audio | 10.5 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner Narrator Moira Quirk brings an easy charm to a queer Regency romance between bluestocking Philippa York and rakish master of disguise Thomasina “Tommy” Wynchester. Tommy always sounds full of confidence — except when she’s around Philippa. Listeners will shudder at the oppressive tones of Philippa’s mother’s endless urgings that she land a titled man. Quirk amplifies the humor and romance as the two work together and slowly discover a deep attraction that sparkles on audio. Going There Written and read by Katie Couric Hachette Audio | 15.5 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner Listeners will expect Katie Couric to deliver her memoir in the smooth newscaster’s voice we know well, but she catches us off guard by narrating in the heartfelt tone of a tell-all. Throughout, her energy and enthusiasm abound. Couric’s father encouraged her to follow her dreams — and she did so with a single-mindedness that is nothing short of inspiring. Her celebrity stories, about Matt Lauer, for one, should not be missed. She candidly recounts other experiences with both humor and sadness. Look for Me and I’ll Be Gone: Stories by John Edgar Wideman | Read by Dion Graham, Janina Edwards Simon & Schuster Audio | 11 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner Narrator Dion Graham delivers these discursive stream-of-consciousness stories in a powerful, resonant style. His strong articulation, careful tone and calibrated pace create an engaging listening experience. A much-celebrated creator of fiction, Wideman crafts experiments in prose that share his insights into life as a Black American. Graham and Edwards bring these semi-autobiographical fictions luminously to life and give this audiobook a gritty reality. Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente | Read by Karis Campbell Dreamscape | 2.25 hrs. AudioFile Earphones Award Winner Karis Campbell narrates a chillingly familiar story. Sophia and her husband are perfect for each other, and their life together is perfect. Just perfect. Everything is perfect. Or is it … ? As the story unfolds, Campbell subtly shifts her narration from crisp and poised to unsettled and then frantic, reflecting Sophia’s mental unraveling as she learns the awful truth about herself and her husband.
This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with AudioFile and contains material originating from the AudioFile website.
About the Author: AudioFile
AudioFile (www.audiofilemagazine.com) is the magazine for discovering more about audiobooks. It reviews and recommends the best listening, most interesting performances, and what audiobooks are worth your listening time. AudioFile reviews about 50 audiobooks per week, features narrator profiles, and awards exceptional performances with AudioFile’s Earphones Awards. AudioFile publishes in print, newsletters and a blog, and podcasts daily recommendations on "Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine."