Finding the best audiobooks is a tough task. The underlying book has to be good, but the audio performance has to be good, too. Perhaps some books which aren't so good can be transformed into something stunning by a great audio performance, or a book that's wonderful can be ruined by an audio performer who isn't great at dialogue (say). For guidance on the best of 2020, we turned to the Audie Awards, set up by the Audiobook Publishers Assocation to celebrate books published every year across genres.
In our ‘audiobook of the year’ interview Robin Whitten, founder and editor of AudioFile Magazine (set up in 1992 and an invaluable resource for reviews) and Mary Burkey, who has served on multiple audiobook prize judging panels, talked us through what makes a good audiobook and what to look out for as a listener.
We’ve also got lists we’ve compiled ourselves, including some of the books we’ve come across and enjoyed listening to. They include:
1. Great actors reading great books (e.g. Dan Stevens—of Downton Abbey—doing an incredible narration of Frankenstein)
2. Audiobooks narrated by their author (eg. Michelle Obama, telling us her own story in Becoming).
3. The best audiobooks for kids, but which adults can enjoy too (e.g. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, wonderfully narrated by Jeff Woodman)
Every year, the Audie Awards celebrate the best audiobooks published over the previous year. Veteran audiobook reviewer Robin Whitten of AudioFile Magazine and Mary Burkey, who has served on multiple audiobook judging panels, explain what makes a good audiobook and talk us through the brilliant books that were finalists in the 2020 ‘Audiobook of the Year’ category.
200 Women: Who Will Change The Way You See The World
by Geoff Blackwell, Kieran Scott, Marianne Lassandro, Ruth Hobday & Sharon Gelman
Daisy Jones & The Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Dooku: Jedi Lost (Star Wars)
by Cavan Scott
by Jarrett Krosoczka
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of September 11, 2001
by Garrett Graff
If your idea of an audiobook is a single narrator reading a book out loud, think again. These days many audiobooks are created as dramatic performances with a cast of dozens. Veteran audiobook reviewers Robin Whitten and Mary Burkey talk us through the finalists of the 2020 Audie Awards' 'multi-voiced performance' category—and the books that have been brought to life by dedicated teams of actors, editors and producers.
Audiobooks are a great way to keep teenagers entertained and informed. Mary Burkey, an expert on kids’ audiobooks, and Robin Whitten, editor and founder of AudioFile magazine, talk us through the wonderful titles that were finalists in this year’s Audie Awards in the ‘young adult’ category.