Awards & Recognition Publishers Weekly’s Listen-Up Awards

When it comes to picking the best of the best, Publishers Weekly knows which audiobooks will really catch your ear, including five Books on Tape titles. In fact, they liked two of them so much, they won in multiple categories! This year’s selections include all-star narrations from Meryl Streep and Sissy Spacek (who both have prior experience enacting their audiobooks on the big screen), a piercing memoir read by Maya Angelou, a fascinating look into the mind of a sociopath, and a riveting narrative about a woman transformed by desire and obsession. View the full list here.

Best of Fiction

 

HEARTBURN by Nora Ephron
Read by Meryl Streep

“Thirty years after its original publication, Ephron’s comic novel has finally come to audio starring the actress who played Rachel Samstat in the 1986 film adaptation. In her narration, Streep perfectly captures Rachel’s self-deprecating humor, resulting in some laugh-out-loud scenes of comic genius. Streep makes us root for Rachel, even as we cringe at her misguided attempts to reconcile with her straying husband. Much of the novel is told through exposition rather than dialogue, so it’s imperative that Streep capture Rachel’s sense of irony without resorting to bitterness—which she does flawlessly. Streep also creates spot-on voices for the cast of mostly upper-crust characters, including dear friend Richard and various Washington swells.”–Publishers Weekly, starred review

THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS by Claire Messud
Read by Cassandra Campbell

“Cassandra Campbell’s narration is pitch-perfect. She shifts back and forth between the different characters, lending all of them unique voices that capture their complexity. Her first-person narration is a delightful blend of restraint and emotion that will keeps listeners slightly anxious at all the right moments. By striking this balance, she captures the hard edge of Nora—and of the text—in a way that will resonate with listeners.”–Publishers Weekly, starred review

Best of Nonfiction

 

CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH by M.E. Thomas
Read by Bernadette Sullivan

“Narrator Bernadette Sullivan’s coolly amused tone effectively conveys Thomas’s charming, detached observations about her life. Calm and self-possessed, Sullivan leads us through Thomas’s narrative as the sociopath speculates about the causes of sociopathy, its implications, and the impact it has had on her life. By turns a confession, an examination, and a self-justification, the veracity of Thomas’s narrative is open to question—she is a self-confessed liar and manipulator—but however fictional or distorted the story may be, Sullivan’s presentation of it is undeniably seductive.”–Publishers Weekly, starred review

MOM & ME & MOM by Maya Angelou
Read by the Author

“Maya Angelou reads this brief but piercing memoir of her relationship with her mother, a woman who loved and hated with equal passion and taught her children to fear no one. As a narrator, Angelou turns in an intimate performance. The sonorous, deep voice she says she was teased about in her youth is in rich supply here, as is her sense of humor. At a few points throughout the audiobook, Angelou’s voice seems to crack with emotion, which adds to the story’s power and immediacy. Whether she is narrating her mother’s fierce protectiveness or her own gradual empowerment when she became a mother herself, Angelou never fails to captivate.”–Publishers Weekly

Classics

 
CARRIE (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Stephen King
Read by Sissy Spacek

“The original actress to play Carrie, Sissy Spacek, narrates this audio tie-in to the new film version of King’s classic novel… The actress moves smoothly from the magazine, newspaper, and official reports to dramatic scenes. Teenagers (some down-to-earth, some unpleasantly arrogant) teachers, moms, matrons, cops, the town drunk—Spacek finds a voice for each of them. And those voices are so dramatically evoked that, if their speech carries a trace of her native Texas drawl in lieu of a Maine accent, no one, including the author, is likely to complain. King reads an introduction in which he describes the book’s origin, his concerns about writing his first novel, especially one told from a feminine perspective, and, finally, how it’s critical and popular success changed his life.”–Publishers Weekly

Read by the Author

MOM & ME & MOM by Maya Angelou

An audiobook so nice, it won twice! “Maya Angelou’s “sonorous, deep voice” makes her “brief but piercing memoir” one of the best author-read audiobooks you’ll hear this year.

Audiobook Narrator of the Year

Cassandra Campbell, narrator of THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS by Claire Messud

One of the best narrators of 2013, Cassandra Campbell provides “a delightful blend of restraint and emotion that will… resonate with listeners.”

Audiobook of the Year

THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS by Claire Messud
Read by Cassandra Campbell

Its riveting storyline and “pitch-perfect” narration make this audiobook a winner three times over, and one of the best audiobooks of 2013.

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