Audiobook Blog – Audiobooker, by Mary Burkey – Booklist Online
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Audiobook Blog - Audiobooker, by Mary Burkey - Booklist Online


A Booklist Blog
Mary Burkey, a teacher, librarian, and audiobook addict, writes about listening, learning, and the joy of headsets

Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:11 am
Classics: Perfect Audiobook Listening! #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey

Readers’ Advisory expert Joyce Saricks is an audio addict – a perfect combination for suggesting top audiobooks. Here’s what she says in her recent Booklist “At Leasure” column:

Here it is June again, the month we celebrate audiobooks and the pleasures they bring to listeners everywhere. It’s a time when addicts like me would like to make the entire column a platform to share favorite titles and narrators, must-listens from the past year or all time. It has certainly been a good year for audio, more titles published, more genres available, more interesting uses of voice and sound effects to please listeners. Check out my thoughts on trends on the first page of this section. One trend, however, demands special attention: the increase in well-narrated new editions of classics.

Looking for a fresh take on an old favorite? Rather listen to that book you never read in your English class? Need a terrific audio that will satisfy everyone on that upcoming vacation trip? Read Joyce’s whole articl for great listening for all ages! Here’s the link:

Friday, June 27, 2014 12:33 pm
Booklist Names Top Ten Audiobook Biographies for #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey

Listeners love a good biography, one of the most popular audiobook genres. If you are looking for your next great listen, try the titles on this list, which includes celebrity memoirs, autobiographies and scholarly studies, published over the past two years. You’ll find something perfect for drive-time enjoyment, whether a two hour listen for around town  or one just made for a marathon cross-country trip at 37 hours! One of my personal favorites from last year’s on the list:  Still Foolin’ ’Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys , written & read by Billy Crystal – so funny & heart-warming. Here’s the link to the whole Top Ten list:

Thursday, June 26, 2014 12:49 pm
What’s Trending & Coming Up Next in the Audiobook World? #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey

Booklist Audio Editor Joyce Saricks reports in on the rapid changes in the audiobook publishing world. From statistics to shifts in popular  genres, there are terrific tidbits of audio insider news to know. Plus, there’s plenty of suggestions as Saricks names great newly published listens for every audio fan. Here’s the link to the article:


If you want to get a sneak peek at upcoming audios, take a look at Booklist‘s compilation of titles to be published this Fall, grouped by adult genre. You’ll also find youth & teen titles included. Although not every title has a narrator listed, there are plenty of star-power readers coming your way. Start placing your orders now to get first pick of hot new audiobooks! Here’s the link:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 12:01 pm
Audiobooks at ALA Vegas Celebrate #audiomonth!
Posted by: Mary Burkey

FREE audiobooks? Join the party at the American Library Association audiobook events during the 2014 Annual Conference!

Learn more about audiobook advisory by dropping into an open meeting of one of these two committees:

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults: Saturday, June 28, 2014 – 1:00pm to 5:30pm, Flamingo Hotel, Valley of Fire II room. Stop by and listen in as the best in audios for ages 12-18 will be discussed. Here’s the list of nominated titles – a great shopping or listening list!

Notable Children’s Recordings: Saturday, June 28, 2014 – 1:00pm to 5:30pm & Sunday, June 29, 2014 – 1:00pm to 4:00pm, Flamingo Hotel, Reno I room. Drop in to observe the evaluation of audiobooks & musical recordings for ages birth – 14 during this committee’s meetings. Here’s the list of titles that will be discussed:

Get ready to party at these audiobook celebrations:

PopTop Stage: Daniel Kraus, with Kelly Gildea and Kirby Heyborne:  Sunday, June 29, 2014 – 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Las Vegas Convention Center Exhibit Hall – PopTop Stage. Team Scowler - this year’s Odyssey Award-winning producer Kelly Gildea, author Daniel Kraus, and narrator Kirby Heyborne – will have a conversation with Book on Tape’s Marketing Director, Cheryl Herman. Be sure to visit the BOT booth #542 immediately following,  3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m, to meet the author, narrator, and producer and get a FREE audiobook or book signed, courtesy of Random House!

2014 Odyssey Award CeremonyMonday, June 30, 2014 – 3:30pm to 5:30pm, Las Vegas Convention Center, room N256. The Odyssey committee meetings are closed to observers, but the party is a must-do ALA event! Celebrate the best in audiobooks produced for children and young adults at the annual presentation of the Odyssey Award. Listen to your favorite narrators perform a piece from their Odyssey Award-winning audiobooks, then join us for a reception with free snacks & a cash bar sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association following this engaging event. There will be FREE audiobooks for attendees! Here’s the marvelous Odyssey titles that will be featured:

WINNER:  Scowler, written by Daniel Kraus, narrated by Kirby Heyborne, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group.


Better Nate Than Ever, written by Tim Federle, narrated by Tim Federle and produced by Simon and Schuster Audio.

Creepy Carrots!, written by Aaron Reynolds, narrated by James Naughton and produced by Weston Woods Studios, Inc.

Eleanor & Park, written by Rainbow Rowell, narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra and produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group.

Matilda, written by Roald Dahl, narrated by Kate Winslet and produced by Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Hope to see you in Vegas! And if you can’t attend, here is Kirby Heyborne, narrator of Odyssey Award-winner Scowler, as he rocked the house during the 2012 Odyssey ceremony.

Sunday, June 22, 2014 4:32 pm
Philip Glass opera about audiobook narrator stuck in a closet: #audiomonth gold!
Posted by: Mary Burkey


So Carin Gilfry heads into a closet to record an audiobook… Sounds like the set up to a joke perfect for “June is Audiobook Month.” But no, this is a true story, shared for the world on This American Life. Listen in to hear the world’s first audiobook opera, composed by Philip Glass. (Spoiler alert: the lyrics – or should I say lyric – is “Help”). The multi-talented, operetically-trained Gilfry sings her own tale of woe – and fills the audience in on the backstory. Listen for free this week at 

Here’s the link to buy, or check out the podcast schedule for 528: The Radio Drama Episode :

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:59 pm
Amp Up Your Audiobook Advisory Skills during #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey


Love to suggest great audiobooks? Take a look at my “Voices in My Head” column in this month’s Booklist, which features a host of all things audio to celebrate “June is Audiobook Month.” Here’s the link:

No matter if you’re a busy librarian helping patrons find the next great listen, or if you’re an audiobook addict gathering ideas for your listening list – you’ll find some tips for finding gold in the ever-increasing number of audio releases. Audiobook experts Jessica Moyer & Renee Young stop by with advisory expertise, and I share the secrets of mining Booklist Online for the best in audiobooks. Plus, you’ll find info about NoveList’s terrific new Audio Appeal Terms, and reminders about my Audiobook Lexicon and “Sounds Good to Me: Listening to Audiobooks With a Critical Ear.” So be sure to read “Audiobook Advisory” and help spread the audio gospel!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 12:29 pm
Love audiobooks & #audiomonth? Talk the Talk with the Audiobook Lexicon!
Posted by: Mary Burkey

tiny dictionary

The good (listener engagement), the bad (dry mouth), and the ugly (woofing the mic) – just a few format-specific, audio-advisory terms in an extensive list of lingo I first compiled as Chair of the American Library Association’s inaugural  Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production in 2007. Most book lovers are comfortable with literary terms from their days in school, and audiobook fans carry over concepts such as “mood” and “tone” to their conversations about the spoken word medium. But audiobooks have unique characteristics that challenge description, and I wanted our audio evaluation committee to be able to “talk the talk” of the audiobook community. So I interviewed a diverse spectrum of industry experts for the initial Lexicon, and asked for help revising the list when I wrote Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature, published last year.  The new, improved Lexicon is an Appendix in my book. I have so many requests for use of the Lexicon that I’ve requested that ALA Editions make the Lexicon available for free in a printable PDF format. You can grab your own copy by looking for the “Read a sample of the book and Appendix A: Audiobook Lexicon now!” links on the ALA Store website here:


Thanks so much to the wonderful audio experts below who shared their knowledge as I compiled the Lexicon:

Arnie Cardillo
Michele Cobb
Bruce Coville
Tim Ditlow
Todd and Brett Hobin
Paul Gagne
Eileen Hutton
Troy Juliar
Pete Pantelis
David Rapkin


Friday, June 13, 2014 1:27 pm
Freebie Friday: Don’t miss Booklist’s Top Audiobook of 2012 Code Name Verity!
Posted by: Mary Burkey

One of my all-time favorite audiobooks is FREE until through Wed. June 18. You absolutely MUST download this fabulous title from Brilliance Audio. But don’t just take my word for it – Printz-honoree Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein was named Booklist’s “Top Audiobook of 2012.” This brilliantly-plotted historical fiction is enhanced by the subtle and superb dual-narration by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell. Give this crossover YA title a listen. You will be astounded! And then you’ll want to listen to the companion title Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein and narrated by Sasha Pick – a 2014 Audies award nominee.

Paired with Code Named Verity – and also FREE – is the classic title The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom with John Sherrill & Elizabeth Sherrill, narrated by Bernadette Dunne from Christian Audio. Two perfect family listens with inspiring tales of  World War II bravery and resistance. Thanks to the awesome SYNC promotion for these marvelous freebies – here’s the link to download:

Plua, a big congratulations to Jez, winner of my Still Foolin’ ‘Em freebie. You will LOVE it!

Friday, June 6, 2014 2:55 pm
Freebie Friday: 43 narrators read to you for #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey


Free – great short works read by top audiobook talent every day of June is Audiobook Month. Check out the Going Public web link to hear the audio selections from Spoken Freely 14 - click here for the whole schedule. I interviewed narrator Xe Sands about her Going Public brainchild in this “Voicing a Cause” post when she first began this now-yearly philanthropic campaign. It’s a terrific way to sample the best narrators in quick  segments.

Here’s more about the project:

The audiobook community is giving back! Spoken Freely, a group of more than 40 professional narrators, has teamed with Going Public and Tantor Media to celebrate June is Audiobook Month (JIAM) by offering Summer Shorts ’14, an audio collection of poetry, short stories and essays. All proceeds from sales of the collection will go to ProLiteracy, a national literacy outreach and advocacy organization.

Throughout June 2014, 1-2 stories, poems and essays will be released online each day via Going Public, as well as on various author and book blogs. As a “Thank you!” to listeners, pieces will be available for free online listening on their day of release. As a bonus for those who purchase the full collection from Tantor Media in support of ProLiteracy, there are over 20 additional tracks only available via the compilation download.You can purchase the collection HERE. Special pricing of $9.99 through June 30th, in celebration of JIAM. $14.99 from July 1st forward.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014 6:14 pm
Robin Miles is 2014 Voice of Choice #audiomonth
Posted by: Mary Burkey


Each year , the American Library Association’s Booklist magazine selects a single honoree as the year’s top audiobook narrator. The 2014 “Voice of Choice” award goes to the versatile Robin Miles. Read more about Ms. Miles in this just-released column by Joyce Saricks.

I’ve been fortunate to have Robin as a guest here on Audiobooker. In this post, she discusses her multiple roles in the audiobook community: narrator, audiobook director and founder of Voxpertise, an audiobook education and production center. In another post,  we spoke about her narration of one of my favorite titles, The Freedom Maze, and the challenges faced by narrators.

Congratulations to Robin Miles, the 2014 “Voice of Choice,” joining previous honorees George Guidall,  Dion GrahamKatherine KellgrenSimon PrebbleSimon Vance, and Barbara Rosenblat. Truly the very best in audiobook narration!

Robin Miles Inthebooth

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