Awards & Recognition Library Journal’s 2013 Best Audio Picks

Zombies, and vampires, and Jane Austen-inspired drama. Oh my! It’s been another all-star year for audio and Library Journal has taken note of eight great offerings from BOT that will add instant appeal to your shelves. LJ proudly proclaims that their list’s “wide variety ensures that there’s something here for every listener,” and we couldn’t agree more. Read their full “Best of Audio” article here or simply scroll down to see–and hear–what wowed their reviewers this year.

What better way to truly experience whispers in stairwells and peek behind-the-scenes of beloved character Elizabeth Bennett’s well-known world than with British actress Emma Fielding leading the way? LJ SAYS: Emma Fielding brilliantly narrates this novel with her smooth English accent and does a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life through inflections in all the right places. A must-listen for fans of historical fiction, Austen, and Downton Abbey.

Already in development to be a film with actress Jennifer Garner’s production company, the audio is poised to take flight in its own right thanks to actress Lorna Raver’s reading of Melanie Benjamin’s latest historical fiction masterpiece. LJ SAYS: Narrator Lorna Raver provides excellent transition from Anne’s educated East Coast voice to Charles’s earnest, reedy Midwestern tones…will inspire listeners to explore further Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s fascinating and challenging life.

Talk about a zombie invasion! Check those holds—Max Brooks’ bestseller is back in a big way—and not just because of Brad Pitt’s blockbuster movie. Fan excitement for this Complete Edition cannot be contained…and will only continue to grow. LJ SAYS: The production is excellent, and each member of the all-star cast (e.g., Martin Scorsese, Mark Hamill, Alan Alda) brings out the nuances of the text. The five hours of material added to the 2007 abridged edition is an incentive for libraries that already own the earlier work to pick up this one, too.

It’s no surprise THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS is climbing to the top of many Best Of lists. A powerful female first-person narrative allows for an electrifying audio that will haunt listeners with many questions. What does it means to be an artist? Or a mother? Can loneliness lead one woman to cross a line? Where does fascination end and obsession begin? The only answer we can give is: Listen. LJ SAYS: Cassandra Campbell does a lovely job of narrating Nora’s inner struggles. The listener easily gets lost in the beauty of her voice and the conviction of her efforts.

Recently named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Karen Russell’s creativity shines through in this short story collection that is so original, the audiobook narrators were easily inspired! After all, “when life gives you a lemon grove…”LJ SAYS: [Pulitzer Prize finalist] Russell’s characters all experience bizarre, profound changes that leave listeners with a sense of unease and strangeness thanks to the weird and wonderful worlds she creates. The multiple narrators, including Joy Osmanski and Jesse Bernstein, do an extraordinary job.

College football has never been more popular but this explosive audio reveals some of the dark truths in play. Perfect for devoted and curious sports fans, this groundbreaking, thought-provoking critique is by two celebrated investigative journalists. LJ SAYS: [T]hese consistently well-written pieces dig deep into their subjects and provide vital insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Mark Deakins’s narration convincingly conveys a variety of moods and personalities.

The world lost a great talent when Nora Ephron passed away in 2012. But her timeless humor and brilliant voice live on in this collection of essays. This edition brings together some of Ephron’s most famous writing on a generation of women (and men) who helped shape the way we live now. LJ SAYS: Kathe Mazur’s smart, conversational tone is a fine match for Ephron’s revealing and humorous voice, giving readers the feeling of having spent an afternoon in the company of one of our very smartest friends.

Also named one of the New York Times’ Top 10 Books of the year, FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL is an experience on audio. Incredible reporting that also unfolds like a suspenseful thriller, this remarkable audiobook will prompt much discussion in your library. Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina is riveting listening that will radically transform patrons’ understanding of human nature in crisis. LJ SAYS: Fink’s meticulous and extensive research is apparent…Reader Kristin Potter narrates professionally and evenhandedly.

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