Book News and Notes: Audiobook Resources

Ever check an audio book out, hear a voice you didn’t like listening to, and immediately return the book? How frustrating! Finding enjoyable audiobooks can be tough. Thankfully, there are some GREAT online resources out there to help you.



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Books On Tape –

botBooks On Tape allows you to easily navigate lists of subject categories, new releases, award-winners, authors, and narrators. It even provides sample clips for you to listen to the book to ensure you like what you hear! Here are a few lists of great reads from the website:

The Audies –

audiofileDid you know there are audiobook awards given out every year called “The Audies”? It is sponsered by the Audio Books Association. The awards are given in different categories like drama, memoir, teen, multiple narrators, fantasy, fiction, erotica, humor, literary, inspirational, mystery, and nonfiction. Audiofile also provides lists of reviews in different categories, check them out by clicking “Current Reviews” at the top of the page.

Happy Listening!






Weekly Spotlight On…Audiobooks for the Whole Family

The end of summer often inevitably means one last road trip with the family before school starts.  After several people coming up to the desk and asking me for some suggestions on good audiobooks that the entire family can listen to, I have decided to compile a suggestion list of great audiobooks with universal appeal.  When it comes to audiobooks, it is not just the story and writing that matter–it is the narrator and the way that the story is told.  This list takes this idea into consideration, and also includes books that would appeal to younger children, teens, and adults.  The next time you and your family take a trip, don’t get stuck listening to the radio–bring along an audiobook that everyone can enjoy!

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, Narrated by Jim Dale

Here is a rave review of this audiobook from Audiofile: “Jim Dale, with his fully voiced reading, brings the world of wizards to life in ways unimagined even by those who have read and re-read the book. The accents are sure, the inflections perfectly suit the characters, and some of Rowling’s particularly inventive bits, like the game of Quidditch, become clearer. Sometimes poignant, often funny, Dale’s interpretation of this enchanted other world is the consummate family-listening experience.”

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman, Narrated by a Full Cast

Here is a partial review of The Golden Compass, the first book in this trilogy, from Audiofile: “Philip Pullman has created a stunning alternate universe peopled by those who seem familiarly human and by miraculous creatures…Into this complex scenario marches Pullman and a remarkable group of readers, expanding the book in a way one might have thought impossible. This is an example of a full-cast recording at its zenith…This is an incomparable treat for lovers of fantasy literature”.

Lemony Snicket Series by Lemony Snicket, narrated by Tim Curry

Here is a partial review of the audiobook of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the first book in this series, from Audiofile: “Tension-producing orchestral music, scene-setting sound effects, and most of all, Tim Curry’s chocolate-voiced narration captivate the listener in this multicast production of the Lemony Snicket that started it all…The cast of seven at first sound self-consciously formal until one realizes that the acting is supposed to be as mannered as the clever writing. It’s all good fun for listening children and their parents.”

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, narrated by Khristine Hvam

Here is a partial review from Audiofile: “Khristine Hvam portrays a confident, inquisitive, and grounded young woman who lives an ordinary life by day but a far from ordinary life at night. What does Karou, a 17-year-old girl with naturally blue hair and tattooed palms, do when she’s not in art school in Prague? She travels through portals, running errands for the chimaera (half-human, half not) she calls family. As Karou confronts her heritage, Hvam presents the story’s adventure, romance, and humor with a smooth grace.”

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, narrated by Hope Davis

Here is a partial review of the audiobook from Audiofile: “Hope Davis is wonderful narrating Madeleine L’Engle’s children’s classic. The 1963 Newbery Award winner is the first in L’Engle’s Time Quintet, featuring Murry siblings Meg and Charles Wallace, and their friend, Calvin. Through Davis’s appealing performance, listeners share the youngsters’ extraordinary adventures through space and time.”

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper, narrated by Alex Jennings

Here is a partial review of this audiobook from Audiofile: “The opulent voice of Alex Jennings is the perfect match for Susan Cooper’s stylish, magical prose. The steady, measured tones of the Old Ones; the stern comfort of Merriman; the thready lilt of the Lady; the silky, evil overtones of the Rider–each nuance of character is skillfully brought to life in this unvoiced reading.”

The Roald Dahl Audio Collection, written and narrated by Roald Dahl

Here is a review of this collection from Audiofile: “Roald Dahl’s collection of stories for younger children includes classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. There are also lesser-known tales like Fantastic Mr. Fox, in which a loving papa fox outwits a farmer to feed his kits, and The Enormous Crocodile, in which a greedy reptile hunts for a young child to eat. In each story the underdog characters triumph, and evil is punished in intriguing ways.The author reads all these magical tales in his elegant British tones, his pacing showing tenderness for his characters.”

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, narrated by Kate Harper

Here is a partial review of this audiobook from Audiofile: “Harper’s insightful narration shows the depth of her relationship with the story and enhances its beauty. With warmth and awareness, she reveals Sal’s deepest thoughts. Softly and tenderly, she shares Sal’s memories of her mother. With sagacity and humor, she gives us Gram and Gramps. Listeners 12 years old and up will recognize this as a story that should be heard, not just read.”

Looking for more audiobook ideas? recently released “A-List Audiobooks”, which is a list of audiobooks performed by Hollywood’s finest, including actors like Nicole Kidman, Dustin Hoffman, and Colin Firth.  Click here to view this list.  Book Riot then put out a further list of audiobooks read by famous actors including Dowton Abbey’s Dan Stevens. Click here to view Book Riot’s list.

BookRiot also has a fantastic and extensive list of reader-recommended audiobooks.  This one features a few more adult-only books, but it is a great place to get started. Click here for this list.

If you’re interested in new books, RUSA has a list of outstanding audiobook narrators for 2012.  Check it out here.

Still haven’t found anything yet? Check out this list of audiobooks on NPR that will “Make the Family Roadtrip Fly By“.

Ellen’s June Recommendation

Beethoven by Jeremy Siepmann

I recently listed to “Beethoven” by Jeremy Siepmann on Playaway – it’s part of the Life and Works series. I felt it was beautifully done – a narrative biography alternating with selections of Beethoven’s music.  I look forward to hearing more of musicologist Jeremy Siepmann’s  Classic Literature with Classical Music series, and highly recommend this audiobook.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog.

Joan’s December Recommendation

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

“I really enjoyed listening to this book. The characters are all animals, but many of the situations they are in are strangely human. It is narrated by multiple people (including the author) and contains many different types of stories. Some are funny, some heartwarming, and some a little creepy, but they all are great to listen to.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog.

You can find this audio book at CALL # CD BOOK 814.54 SED or the regular book at CALL # 813.54 SED

Mary Ann’s November Recommendation

English Majors: A Comedy Collection for the Highly Literate by Garrison Keillor

“On CD.  A collection of Prairie Home Companion  pieces that treats the classics with wry and/or silly humor.  Hear Mr. Rogers as Macbeth  in a 10 minute version of the play, and John Henry reimagined as a writer pitted against a word processor.  If you know when to use “whom,” you’ll have some laughs.  Keillor is joined by several other narrators.”

Find fiction and non-fiction CD’s and self-contained playaways on the Library’s second floor on the west side.

Read about it or request it from the library catalog.

You can find this audiobook in the library at Call # CD 791.44 ENG

Blaise’s May Recommendation

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

My new favorite thing to listen to in the car during my commute is teen fiction audiobooks. I recently listened to Dairy Queen and it’s sequel, The Off Season, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. These books follow the life of D.J. Schwenk, a 16 year old girl who lives on a Dairy farm in Wisconsin. In the summer before her junior year of high school she is stuck helping out on the farm since her dad is injured and her older brothers are away playing college football. D.J. learns a lot about herself that summer as she gets to know a member of the rival high school’s football team. This story and it’s sequel are funny, relatable and have a lot of heart. I really enjoyed listening to them and I hope that there is a 3rd installment in the series so I can continue to follow D.J.’s story.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog

You can find the audiobook in the library at call # TEEN CD BOOK MURDOCK. 

You can find the book at Call # TEEN FICTION MURDOCK

Mary Ann’s March Recommendation

Dead Father’s Club by Matt Haig

“A  modern ghost/mystery  story told by a young boy whose father died.  The boy’s view of events is very amusing.   Lots of fun-to-find references to Hamlet. 

The boy narrator on the Play-away  is wonderful. A Play-away is a small, pre-loaded digital book-  just put in earphones and press play!  Stop in and see our other play-aways, or search the Library Catalog using “Playaway” as a keyword.”

Read About It or Request It here

You can find this item in the library at CALL # DIGITAL MEDIA HAIG