Archive for Readers Advisory

ALA unveils shortlist for 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction!

2014shortlist_titles_feature slide

2014 shortlisted titles are:

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction Shortlist

On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History, by Nicholas A. Basbanes. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. Combining crisp technical explanations with vivid historical and contemporary profiles, Basbanes unfolds the two-thousand-year story of paper, revealing in the process that paper is nothing less than an embodiment of humanity.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, by Sheri Fink. Published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.  As the floodwaters rose after Hurricane Katrina, patients, staff, and families who sheltered in New Orleans’ Memorial Hospital faced a crisis far worse than the storm itself. Fink’s breathtaking account of the storm and what happened at Memorial offers a fascinating look at how people behave in times of crisis.

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Published by Simon & Schuster. This masterful study examines the complex relationship between two presidents, Roosevelt and Taft, who played major roles in the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century. Acclaimed historian Goodwin offers a superb re-creation of a period when many politicians, journalists, and citizens of differing political affiliations viewed government as a force for public good.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction Shortlist

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
To the women in the hair-braiding salon, Ifemelu seems to have everything a Nigerian immigrant in America could desire, but the culture shock, hardships, and racism she’s endured have left her feeling like she has “cement in her soul.” Americanah is a courageous novel of independence, integrity, community, and love.

Claire of the Sea Light, by Edwidge Danticat. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
In interlocking stories moving back and forth in time, Danticat weaves a beautifully rendered portrait of longing in the small fishing town of Ville Rose in Haiti. The stories flow seamlessly one into another and are distinguished by Danticat’s luminous prose.

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. Published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
In the wake of his nefarious father’s abandonment, Theo, a smart, 13-year-old Manhattanite, is extremely close to his vivacious mother—until an act of terrorism catapults him into a dizzying world bereft of gravity, certainty, or love. Tartt writes from Theo’s point of view with fierce exactitude and magnetic emotion.

The awards, established in 2012, recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year and serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. They are the first single-book awards for adult books given by the American Library Association and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers. Nancy Pearl, librarian, literature expert, NPR commentator, and best-selling author of Book Lust, serves as chair of the awards’ selection committee.

The awards are made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York in recognition of Andrew Carnegie’s deep belief in the power of books and learning to change the world, and are co-sponsored by ALA’s Booklist publications and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).

Annotations and more information on the finalists and the awards can be found at http://www.ala.org/carnegieadult.

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction & Nonfiction Longlist Announced!

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction & Nonfiction were established by Carnegie Corporation of New York and ALA in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books written for adult readers and published in the U.S. the previous year. The Medals and the lists leading up to the selection of the winners serve as a guide to selecting quality reading material.

Forty-four books comprising the “longlist” for consideration for the 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction have been selected from the most recent Booklist Editors’ Choice and RUSA Notable Books List.

Six-title shortlist; three fiction and three nonfiction medals will be announced in late April. The two winners will be announced at ALA Annual Conference in June in Las Vegas. The longlist is available on the awards’ website.

Awards Longlist:

Start reading these 2014 longlist titles now to count down to the shortlist announcement this spring! The titles under consideration for the 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction are:
Fiction

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah. (Knopf)

Atkinson, Kate. Life after Life. (Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur)

Barrett, Andrea. Archangel. (Norton)

Bass, Rick. All the Land to Hold Us. (Houghton)

Danticat, Edwidge. Claire of the Sea Light. (Knopf)

Eggers, Dave. The Circle. (Knopf)

Garey, Juliann. Too Bright to Hear, Too Loud to See. (Soho)

Gilbert, Elizabeth. The Signature of All Things. (Viking)

Harding, Paul. Enon. (Random House)

Horn, Dara. A Guide for the Perplexed. (Norton)

Hosseini, Khaled. And the Mountains Echoed. (Riverhead)

Jansma, Kristopher. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards. (Viking)

Koch, Herman. The Dinner. (Hogarth)

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Lowland. (Knopf)

Marra, Anthony. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. (Hogarth)

McBride, James. The Good Lord Bird. (Riverhead)

Messud, Claire. The Woman Upstairs. (Knopf)

Ozeki, Ruth. A Tale for the Time Being. (Viking)

Shacochis, Bob. The Woman Who Lost Her Soul. (Atlantic Monthly)

Silber, Joan. Fools. (Norton)

Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch. (Little, Brown)

Nonfiction

Anderson, Scott. Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East. (Doubleday)

Arana, Marie. Bolivar: American Liberator. (Simon & Schuster)

Aslan, Reza. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. (Random House)

Basbanes, Nicholas. On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History. (Knopf)

Beam, Cris. To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care. (Houghton)

Berg, A. Scott. Wilson. (Putnam)

Brown, Daniel James. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. (Viking)

Buruma, Ian. Year Zero: A History of 1945. (Penguin)

Fink, Sheri. Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital. (Crown)

Fox, Margalit. The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code. (Ecco)

Garfield, Simon. On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks. (Gotham)

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. (Simon & Schuster)

Hilburn, Robert. Johnny Cash: The Life. (Little, Brown)

Koerner, Brendan I. The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking. (Crown)

Labor, Earle. Jack London: An American Life. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Lepore, Jill. Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin. (Knopf)

Morell, Virginia. Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of our Fellow Creatures. (Crown)

Packer, George. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Roach, Mary. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. (Norton)

Rodriguez, Richard. Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography. (Viking)

Schlosser, Eric. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. (Penguin)

Solnit, Rebecca. The Faraway Nearby. (Viking)

Wright, Lawrence. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. (Knopf)

Find out more about the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.

Leave a Comment

BREAKING NEWS: RUSA’s 2014 Reading List Announced: Librarian’s top picks in adrenaline, mystery, romance, sci-fi, women’s fiction and other genres

PHILADELPHIA—The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced its selections for the The Reading List Book Council Award List.

Established in 2007 by the CODES section of RUSA, The Reading List seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merit special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them.

The 2014 winners are:

Adrenaline

“Red Sparrow” by Jason Matthews (Scribner, 9781476706122)

This modern spy novel pits two covert operatives against each other in an intricate cat-and-mouse game. As Dominika and Nathaniel ply their tradecraft, they navigate the moral ambiguities of a post-Cold War world where no one is as they seem and betrayal is business as usual.

 

Read-alikes

“Night Soldiers” by Alan Furst

“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” by John le Carré

“Skinner” by Charlie Huston

 

Adrenaline Short List

“The Caretaker” by A.X. Ahmad. (Minotaur Books, 9781250016843)

“Ghostman” by Roger Hobbs. (Alfred A. Knopf, 9780307959966)

“Lexicon” by Max Barry. (The Penguin Press, 9781594205385)

“Lost” by S.J. Bolton. (Minotaur Books, 9781250028563)

 

Fantasy

“Vicious” by V.E.Schwab (Tor Books, 9780765335340)

A friendly rivalry turns vicious when college friends Victor and Eli obtain super-human powers and use them for very different purposes. This dark paranormal fantasy, a riveting tale of vengeance and redemption, proves that extraordinary powers don’t necessarily make superheroes.

 

Readalikes

“Invincible” by Robert Kirkman

“Ex-heroes” by Peter Clines

“Steelheart” by Brandon Sanderson

 

Fantasy Short List

“The Necromancer’s House” by Christopher Buehlman (Ace Hardcover, 9780425256657)

“A Natural History of Dragons” by Marie Brennan (Tor Books, 9780765331960)

“American Elsewhere” by Robert Bennett Jackson (Orbit, 9780316200202)

“The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel” by Helene Wecker (Harper, 9780062110831)

 

Historical Fiction

“The Outcasts” by Kathleen Kent (Little Brown and Company, 9780316206129)

Love, morality and greed collide in this Reconstruction Era western. A whore without a heart of gold, Lucinda escapes from a Forth Worth brothel to begin a new life — and a new con. She and her lover are bound to cross paths with Texas Ranger Nate, who is chasing stone-cold killer McGill. Both Nate and Lucinda are unforgettable characters, driven by the need to survive.

 

Read-alikes

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

True Grit by Charles Portis

3:10 from Yuma (film, Lionsgate Films, 2007)

 

Historical Short List

“The Abominable: A Novel” by Dan Simmons. (Little Brown and Company, 9780316198837)

“Longbourn” by Jo Baker (Alfred A. Knopf, 9780385351232)

“Out of the Black Land” by Kerry Greenwood, (Poisoned Pen Press, 9781464200380)

“The Thicket” by Joe R. Lansdale (Mulholland Books, 9780316188456)

 

Horror

“Last Days” by Adam Nevill (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250018182)

Deep in debt, documentary filmmaker Kyle Freeman reluctantly accepts the financial backing of an enigmatic self-help guru to make a movie about infamous cult The Temple of the Last Days. Unique, atmospheric and deeply disturbing, Nevill delivers a visceral horror experience that will haunt readers long after they put the book down.

 

Read-alikes

“The Grin of the Dark” by Ramsey Campbell

“House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski

“Paranormal Activity” (film, Paramount Pictures, 2009)

 

Horror Short List

“Apocalypse Cow” by Michael Logan (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250032867)

“The Daylight Gate” by Jeanette Winterson (Grove Press, 9780802121639)

“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King (Scribner, 9781476727653)

“Red Moon” by Benjamin Percy (Grand Central Publishing, 9781455501663)

 

Mystery

“Murder as a Fine Art” by David Morrell (Mulholland Books, 9780316216791)

London, 1854: The Artist of Death ritualistically recreates the sensational Ratcliffe murders inspired by the writings of the notorious opium addict Thomas De Quincey. In this fast-paced mystery, filled with colorful characters and authentic period detail, Scotland Yard detectives, along with De Quincey and his daughter must find the Artist of Death before he executes another macabre masterpiece.

 

Read-alikes

“The Bedlam Detective” by Stephen Gallagher

“The Maul and the Pear Tree: the Ratcliffe Highway Murders, 1811” by P.D. James and T.A. Critchley

“From Hell” by Alan Moore

 

Mystery Short List

“Alex” by Pierre Lemaitre (The MacLehose Press, 9781623650001)

“The Beggar’s Opera” by Peggy Blair (Pintail: The Penguin Press, 9780143186427)

“How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel” by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books, 9780312655471)

“Seven for a Secret” by Lyndsay Faye (Amy Einhorn Books, 9780399158384)

 

Romance

“Any Duchess Will Do” by Tessa Dare (Avon, 9780062240125)

Desperate for grandchildren, the Duchess of Halford strikes a bargain with her only son, Griff: pick a woman–any woman. If she can transform her son’s choice into duchess material, he must marry the girl. Griff picks the least likely candidate in bluestocking barmaid Pauline, only to quickly realize he has no idea who he is dealing with. A humorous and clever historical romance with engaging characters you won’t soon forget.

 

Read-alikes

This Rake of Mine by Elizabeth Boyle

The Lady Most Willing by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway

Then Comes Seduction by Mary Balogh

 

Romance Short List

“Autumn Bride” by Anne Gracie (Berkley Books, 9780425259252)

“The Heiress Effect” by Courtney Milan (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 9781490994710)

“One Good Earl Deserves a Lover: The Second Rule of Scoundrels” by Sarah MacLean (Avon, 9780062068538)

“The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion (Simon & Schuster, 9781476729084)

 

Science Fiction

“Love Minus Eighty” by Will MacIntosh (Orbit Books, 9780316217781)

Cryogenics adds a darkly humorous twist on dating, love, and relationships in the twenty-second century. This multi-perspective story provides a thought-provoking and poignant social commentary on power dynamics, gender, class, and the ethical issues surrounding life after life-after-death.

 

Read-alikes

“Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance” by Lois McMaster Bujold

“The Curiosity: A Novel” by Stephen Kiernan

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (film, Universal Studios, 2004)

 

Science Fiction Short List

“Abaddon’s Gate” by James SA Corey (Orbit Books, 9780316129077)

“Great North Road” by Peter F. Hamilton (Ballantine Books, 9780345526663)

“Tales of Majipoor” by Robert Silverberg (ROC Trade, 9780451464989)

“Wool” by Hugh Howey (Simon & Schuster, 9781476735115)

 

Women’s Fiction

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes (Pamela Dorman Books, 9780670026609)

Unemployed 26-year-old Louisa takes the only job she can find: as a “care assistant” to 35-year-old quadriplegic Will. When Louisa discovers the depth of Will’s unhappiness, she embarks on a mission to convince him that life is worth living and in the process begins to think about her own future. This bittersweet, quirky novel recounts an unlikely friendship while grappling with complex issues in a realistic and sensitive manner.

 

Read-alikes

“The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving: A Novel” by Jonathan Evison

“Talk Before Sleep: A Novel” by Elizabeth Berg

“You’re Not You: A Novel” by Michelle Wildgen

 

Women’s Fiction Short List

“The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty (Amy Einhorn Books, 9780399159343)

“Necessary Lies” by Diane Chamberlain (St. Martin’s Press, 9781250010698)

“Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins, 9780062225436)

“The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult (Emily Bestler Books, 9781439102763)

 

The winners were selected by the The Reading List Council whose members include Alicia Ahlvers, Chairperson, The Kansas City Public Library; Craig Allen Clark: Stephanie Chase, BiblioCommons; Emily Anne Hamstra, University of Michigan Library: Jennifer Hendzlik, Anythink Libraries: Victoria Kemp, Flower Mound Public Library: Jared Mills, The Seattle Public Library: Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library: Gillian Speace, NoveList: Valerie Morgan Taylor, Chester County Library: Anne Chambers Theis, Henrico County Public Library.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need.  Not a member, but interested in discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at www.ala.org/membership. Learn more about the association atwww.ala.org/rusa.

Leave a Comment

BREAKING NEWS: RUSA’s 2014 Listen List highlights audiobooks that provide extraordinary listening experiences

PHILADELPHIA –The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA serving expert readers advisory and collection development librarians, has announced its selections for the 2014 Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration juried list.

The Listen List highlights extraordinary narrators and audio experiences that merit special attention by general adult listeners and the librarians who work with them. Titles are selected because they are a pleasure to listen to and make one reluctant to stop listening. Titles are also named to the list because the narration of the book creates a new experience, offering listeners something they could not create by their own visual reading; and because the narrator achieves an outstanding performance in terms of voice, accents, pitch, tone, inflection, rhythm, and pace. This juried list, designed for avid listeners and those new to the joys of being read a story, includes fiction and nonfiction and features voices that enthrall, delight and inspire.

The 2014 winners are:

“The Boys in the Boat,” by Daniel James Brown. Narrated by Edward Herrmann. Recorded Books/Penguin Audio. (ISBN 9781470352509). Herrmann’s lively and emotionally connected reading captures the excitement and detail of this real-life Cinderella story of the U.S. rowing team’s journey to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. His masterful command of language and cadence, combined with his deft characterizations, makes this inspiring story a must-listen.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing. Narrated by Simon Prebble. Blackstone Audio.
  • “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand. Narrated by George Newbern. Books on Tape.
  • “Wilt, 1962” by Gary M. Pomerantz. Narrated by Stephen Hoye. Books on Tape.

 

“The Grand Sophy,” by Georgette Heyer. Narrated by Sarah Woodward. NAXOS AudioBooks. (ISBN 9781843797555). Recently arrived on the London social scene, the indomitable Sophy Stanton-Lacey wreaks her own brand of delightful havoc in this charming Regency romp. With a lively pace and deliciously upper crust accent, Woodward’s mirthful tone emphasizes the story’s comically formal dialogue and Austenesque romantic chemistry.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “Emma” by Jane Austen. Narrated by Juliet Stevenson. NAXOS AudioBooks.
  • “The Mischief of the Mistletoe” by Lauren Willig. Narrated by Kate Reading. Recorded Books/Penguin Audio.
  • “What Happens in London” by Julia Quinn. Narrated by Rosalyn Landor. Books on Tape.

 

“Heartburn,” by Nora Ephron. Narrated by Meryl Streep. Books on Tape/Random House Audio. (ISBN 9780385367301). Streep narrates celebrity chef Rachel Samstat’s account of her husband’s betrayal with all the unflagging energy of a pregnant woman scorned, aggrieved, and bereft. Her superb performance, flavored by her wryly snarky and campy yet intimate narration, gives voice to Ephron’s unique brand of smart humor and social commentary.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “Back When We Were Grownups” by Anne Tyler. Narrated by Blair Brown. Books on Tape.
  • “The Family Man” by Elinor Lipman. Narrated by Jonathan Davis. Blackstone Audio.
  • “Good in Bed” by Jennifer Weiner. Narrated by Laura Hicks. BBC Audiobooks America.

 

“Longbourn,” by Jo Baker. Narrated by Emma Fielding. Books on Tape/Random House Audio. (ISBN 9780804149426). Fielding narrates Baker’s extraordinary revisionist take on Pride and Prejudice with a quiet, shimmering assurance, as she exposes the upstairs-downstairs dynamics of the Bennet family. Her elegant delivery and mastery of pitch, rhythm, and emphasis turn each sentence into a seduction.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “French Lieutenant’s Woman” by John Fowles. Narrated by Paul Shelley. Chivers Audio Books.
  • “Middlemarch” by George Eliot. Narrated by Juliet Stevenson. NAXOS AudioBooks.
  • “Tigers in Red Weather” by Liza Klaussmann. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Recorded Books/Hachette Audio.

“The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” by Neil Gaiman. Narrated by Neil Gaiman. Harper Audio. (ISBN 9780062263032). Gaiman, as both author and narrator, immerses listeners in a modern fairy tale in which two stalwart children pit themselves against dark and relentless terrors. Through an exquisite management of pace and inflection, his voice becomes the story’s doorway just a surely as any rabbit hole or wardrobe.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “The Book of Lost Things” by John Connolly. Narrated by Steven Crossley. Recorded Books.
  • “Ragnarok” by A.S. Byatt. Narrated by Harriet Walter. Brilliance Audio.
  • “The Winter Ghosts” by Kate Mosse. Narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt. Recorded Books.

 

“Oleander Girl,” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Narrated by Sneha Mathan. Recorded Books/Simon & Schuster Audio. (ISBN 9781470334420). Upon the death of her grandfather, Korobi learns a shocking family secret and, postponing her wedding, journeys to America, searching for truths that must be discovered before her own life can really begin. Mathan voices an array of exquisite accents and entrancing cadences to imbue Korobi’s quest with the spicy flavor of India.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “Caramelo” by Sandra Cisneros. Narrated by Sandra Cisneros. AudioGo/Blackstone Audio.
  • “Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri narrated by Sarita Choudhury and Ajay Naidu. Random House/Books on Tape.
  • “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan. Narrated by Gwendoline Yeo. Phoenix Audio.

“River of Stars,” by Guy Gavriel Kay. Narrated by Simon Vance. Recorded Books. (ISBN 9781470327521). While barbarians attack the decadent government of Kitai, a fantasy world resembling ancient China, a young man emerges from the provinces to save the empire and becomes a legend. Vance manages the sweeping plot, including a large cast and action-rich details, while masterfully conveying the lyrical, elegiac tone that pervades the novel.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “Gates of Fire” by Steven Pressfield. Narrated by George Guidall. Recorded Books.
  • “Genghis: Birth of an Empire” by Conn Iggulden. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki. Blackstone Audio.
  • “Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara. Narrated by Stephen Hoye. Books on Tape.

 

“The Signature of All Things,” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Narrated by Juliet Stevenson. Penguin Audio/Blackstone Audio. (ISBN 9781482927757).  Stevenson’s sublimely melodious, richly inflected voice brings myriad characters, places, and even plants and animals to life in this story of a fictional 19th century botanist. Alma Whittaker’s goal of finding a connection between all living things takes her on a solo quest to exotic places on this journey of serendipitous self-discovery.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “Bellwether” by Connie Willis. Narrated by Kate Reading. Blackstone Audio.
  • “The Lieutenant” by Kate Grenville. Narrated by Nicholas Bell. Bolinda Audio/Brilliance Audio.
  • “Prodigal Summer” by Barbara Kingsolver. Narrated by Barbara Kingsolver. Recorded Books.

 

“The Son,” by Philipp Meyer. Narrated by Will Patton, Scott Shepherd, Kate Mulgrew, and Clifton Collins, Jr. Harper Audio. (ISBN 9780062280954). Through three interwoven story lines, this powerful, sprawling family saga maps the history of Texas from 1849 onward. A cast of expert narrators immerse listeners in time and place through their voices alone, exquisitely rendering characters and effectively dramatizing this captivating audio production.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “The Searchers” by Alan Le May. Narrated by Tom Stechschulte, Richard Ferrone, and James Jenner. Recorded Books.
  • “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett. Narrated by John Lee. Books on Tape.
  • “All the Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy. Narrated by Frank Muller. Harper Audio/Recorded Books.

 

“Vampires in the Lemon Grove,” by Karen Russell. Narrated by Arthur Morey, Joy Osmanski, Kaleo Griffith, Jesse Bernstein, Mark Bramhall, Michael Bybee, Romy Rosemont, and Robbie Daymond. Books on Tape/Random House Audio. (ISBN 9780385367462). Quirky, innovative, and brightly new, Russell’s collection of short stories blurs the line between horror, fantasy, and myth. Her impressive scope is well matched by the diverse narrators voicing the collection–all of whom fully realize her eerie eclecticism in accent, mood, pace, and quiet terror.

Listen-Alikes:

 

  • “Astray” by Emma Donoghue. Narrated by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, and Dion Graham. Hachette/Blackstone Audio.
  • “Echoes from the Macabre” by Daphne du Maurier. Narrated by Valentine Dyall. Blackstone Audio.
  • “A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan. Narrated by Roxana Ortega. Blackstone Audio.

 

“The Warden,” by Anthony Trollope. Narrated by David Shaw-Parker. NAXOS AudioBooks. (ISBN 9781843796862). Shaw-Parker inhabits the role of Trollope’s amiable narrator in this social drama of English village life as he companionably guides readers through the often-amusing perils of ecclesiastical politics. With a splendid mix of gleeful pomposity and heartfelt sympathy, he portrays the whimsical cast and their stories just as Trollope must have imagined them.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell. Narrated by Nadia May. Blackstone Audio.
  • “My Man Jeeves” by P. G. Wodehouse. Narrated by Jonathan Cecil. Blackstone Audio.
  • “Pickwick Papers” by Charles Dickens. Read by David Timson. Naxos AudioBooks.

 

“World War Z,” by Max Brooks. Narrated by a full cast. Books on Tape/Random House Audio. (ISBN 9780449807897).

Melancholy in tone and rich in social insights rather than action-packed disaster, this futuristic apocalyptic “mockumentary” of life after the zombie wars features vivid characterizations and smart, provocative commentary. The well-staged interviews performed by an all-star cast of 40 skilled narrators project a you-are-there feel.

Listen-Alikes:

  • “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. Narrated by a full cast. Recorded Books.
  • “Earth Unaware” by Orson Scott Card. Narrated by a full cast. Macmillan Audio.
  • “Zone One” by Colson Whitehead. Narrated by Beresford Bennett. Books on Tape.

 

This list was selected by The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration Council, whose members include Jen Baker, Reader Services Librarian, Seattle Public Library; Di Herald, Program & Outreach Manager, Delta County Libraries (CO); Joyce Saricks, chair, Readers’ Advisory Consultant, Downers Grove, IL; Neal Wyatt, Virginia Commonwealth University; Renee Young, NoveList audiobook project team lead, Durham, NC.
The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Not a member, but interested in being part of a member community and enjoying discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at www.ala.org/membership. Learn more about the association at www.ala.org/rusa.

Leave a Comment