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The Listen Up Awards The Best Audios of 2007
[January 10, 2008]

The Listen Up Awards The Best Audios of 2007

(Publishers Weekly Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) During 2007, PW
reviewed a record-breaking 325 audiobooks in the magazine and online. Its been an outstanding year, full of quality productions. This year, relative new-kid-on-the-block Graphic Audio (launched in 2004) gained national exposure when it signed a licensing deal with DC Comics. Graphic Audios initial release, Infinite Crisis Part 1

, brought the company critical acclaim and recognition in the audio industry with its full-cast productions featuring sound effects and music.

The Six Best Audios of 2007Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale (Listening Library/Random House).

on Dale: Dale tackles Harrys last hurrah with the same undercurrent of excitement and mind-boggling roster of distinct character voices that he brought to his previous six performances. Dale is at the top of his game, drawing listeners into the orbit of his comforting voice.

Dale on Deathly Hallows
: The recording sessions were almost surrealistic. Everything was secret. The name of the book was not allowed to be mentioned. It had a code name, which I kept forgetting. As I recorded the script, the pages were collected and placed in a safe. There were also a number of VIPs visiting the recording studio to witness the last recording. Its a wonder we ever managed to record the book in the time we had. I have never felt so pleased, relieved and forever grateful for having had the opportunity to leave a little something for not only my great-grandchildren, but for millions of great-grandchildren yet to come.

Michael Tolliver Lives
by Armistead Maupin, read by the author (HarperAudio).

on Maupin: Maupins the perfect reader.... Although more sexually explicit that the previous novels, Maupins cheerful and reassuring delivery makes it all good fun. This is the tale of Michaels move beyond his suspended boyhood, and this return visit will enchant Maupins legion of fans.

Maupin on Michael Tolliver
: I couldnt be more pleased. Ever since I was Cub Scout Ive loved telling stories to my friends, so this recognition feels like applause around a campfire.

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
by Tim Weiner, read by Stefan Rudnicki (Blackstone).

on Rudnicki: For an important book like this one, its important for an audiobook narrator to have a certain gravitas, and Rudnicki has plenty. Rudnicki is one of the best narrators in the business and hes in top form hereLegacy of Ashes

is one of the best audiobooks of the year.

Rudnicki on Legacy of Ashes
: Similar to first-rate fiction, which is generally driven by narrative thrust and strong characters, good nonfiction usually has a unique and identifiable tone. Its the audiobook narrators job to suss out that tone, and to locate its counterpart in his own vocal repertoire. I found Tim Weiners tone to be one of profound authority tempered with a delicious sardonic edge. It made the book great fun to read.

The Tin Roof Blowdown
by James Lee Burke, read by Will Patton (Simon & Schuster Audio).

on Patton: Will Patton, who has come to embody the heart and soul of Burkes weary, Southern knight, matches the authors prose in all its intensity and pain. Pattons insightful interpretation of Burkes darkly expressive imagery makes for a rich literary experience rarely achieved in crime fiction today.

Patton on Tin Roof
: It was great that Tin Roof Blowdown
was about Katrinathats a powerful thing. He really got to what that was, from the inside. He always seems to have this sense of conscience. Hes like a brother to me, hes in my blood.

Rhett Butlers People
by Donald McCraig, read by John Bedford Lloyd (Macmillan).

on Lloyd: Lloyds reading is well paced, never rushing to cover the abundance of material in the lengthy text. With a cast as large as the sprawling settings and landscapes of the story, the opportunity for improvisation is abundant. With a profusion of drama, action, romance and tragedy, Lloyd gets it right every time and never fails to convey the underlying tension throughout.

Lloyd on Rhett Butler
: I have done a great many audiobooks and been challenged by creating the voices of aliens, babies, inanimate objects and the most bizarre collection of humanity imaginable. However, I have never been so daunted as when faced with the single line Fiddle-dee-dee. My director, Robert Kessler, and I tried out hundreds of variations before landing on something that worked. I am glad no one wandered into the studio while we were both trying to get in touch with our inner Southern belle.

by Alex Haley read by Avery Brooks (BBC Audio America).

on Brooks: Avery Brooks proves to be the perfect choice to bring Haleys devastatingly powerful piece of American literature to audio. Avery Brookss rich, deep baritone brings a deliberate, dignified, at times almost reverential interpretation to his reading, but never so reserved as to forget that at its heart this is a story about people and family.

Brooks on Roots
: It was an honor and a privilege to participate in the 30th anniversary of the publication of Alex Haleys Roots

, one of the most important and seminal literary works of the 20th century in America. The journey of a family, indeed, of my people, illuminates profoundly the necessity of the preservation of all cultures in the world.

FictionThe Abstinence Teacher
by Tom Perrotta, read by Campbell Scott (Macmillan)

by Amy Bloom read by Barbara Rosenblat (HighBridge)

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures: Stories
by Vincent Lam, read by Christopher Lane (Brilliance)

Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz, read by Jonathan Davis with Staci Snell (Penguin)

The Dead Fathers Club
by Matt Haig, read by Andrew Dennis (HighBridge)

said, [The} decision to cast 11-year-old Andrew Dennis to read the novel pays off. His most impressive feat is the level of emotion and intensity he maintains through many of the scenes.

Invisible Monsters
by Chuck Palahniuk, read by Anna Fields (Blackstone)

Place on Earth
by Wendell Berry, read by Paul Michael (Christian Audio)

The Religion
by Tim Willocks, read by Simon Vance (Macmillan)

Special Topics in Calamity Physics
by Marisha Pessi, read by Emily Janice Card (Penguin)

ClassicsCatch 22
by Joseph Heller, read by Jay O. Sanders (Caedmon)

said, It would be difficult to imagine richer material for an audiobook reader, comedically speaking.

A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess, read by Tom Hollander (Caedmon)

The Eight
by Katherine Neville, read by Susan Denaker (Random)

I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson, read by Robertson Dean (Blackstone)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
by Jack Finney read by Kristoffer Tabori (Blackstone)

Jonathan Winters Performs A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens (HighBridge)

The Letter of Marque
by Patrick OBrian, read by Simon Vance (Blackstone)

by Jane Austen, read by Juliet Stevenson (Naxos)

The Third Policeman
by Flann OBrien, read by Jim Norton (Naxos)

Fun FictionAustenland
by Shannon Hale, read by Katherine Kellgren (Macmillan)

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
by Laurie Viera Rigler, read by Olagh Cassidy (Penguin)

Plum Lovin
by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King (Macmillan)

Sweet Potato Queens 1st Big-Ass Novel
by Jill Conner Browne, read by Browne (Brilliance)

said, [Brownes] friendly, intimate narration draws listeners in and makes this highly entertaining and engaging book even more appealing on audio.

MysteryBones to Ashes
by Kathy Reichs, read by Linda Emond (S&S)

Christine Falls
by Benjamin Black, read by Timothy Dalton (Macmillan)

Crooked Little Vein
by Warren Ellis, read by Todd McLaren (Tantor)

Daddys Girl
by Lisa Scottoline, read by Barbara Rosenblat (HarperAudio)

Dark of the Moon
by John Sandford, read by Eric Conger (Penguin)

Dry Martini
by J.A. Konrath, read by Susie Breck and Dick Hill (Brilliance)

Mrs. McGintys Dead
by Agatha Christie, read by Hugh Fraser (Audio Partners)

Naming the Dead
by Ian Rankin, read by James Gale (Hachette)

New England White
by Stephen L. Carter, read by Bahni Turpin (Random)

The Overlook
by Michael Connelly, read by Len Cariou (Hachette)

A Pocket Full of Rye
by Agatha Christie, read by Rosalind Ayres (Audio Partners)

said, Ayres produces an amazing range of voices and accents to create her own one-woman full-cast audio book.

Red Cat
by Peter Spiegelman, read by Elliott Gould (Phoenix Audio)

Sliver of Truth
by Lisa Unger, read by Jenna Lamia (Random)

T Is for Trespass
by Sue Grafton, read by Judy Kaye (Random)

The Yiddish Policemens Union
by Michael Chabon, read by Peter Riegert (HarperAudio)

FantasyHis Majestys Dragon
by Naomi Novik, read by David Thorn (Random)

Infinite Crisis Part 1
and Part 2
by Greg Cox, read by a full cast (Graphic Audio)

said, Graphic Audio delivers an action and sound effect-loaded audiobook that lives up to its tagline: 'A movie inside your mind.

Its Superman!
by Tom DeHaven, read by Scott Brick (Blackstone)

Little Fuzzy
by H. Beam Piper, read by Brian Holsopple (Audio Realms)

by Neil Gaiman, read by author (HarperAudio)

Soon I Will Be Invincible
by Austin Grossman, read by J. Paul Boegmer and Coleen Marlo (HighBridge)

BiographiesEdith Wharton
by Hermione Lee, read by Kate Reading (Random)

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power
by Robert Dallek, read by Eric Conger (HarperAudio)

Einstein: His Life and Universe
by Walter Isaacson, read by Edward Herrmann (S&S)

said, Herrmanns reading offers solid, enjoyable and informative listening. Herrmanns perfect reading is filled with warmth and accuracy.

Brother, Im Dying
by Edwidge Danticat, read by Robin Miles (Recorded Books)

Clapton: The Autobiography
by Eric Clapton, read by Bill Nighy (Random)

Author-ReadBorn Standing Up
by Steve Martin (S&S)

I Am America (And So Can You!)
by Stephen Colbert (Hachette)

Mississippi Sissy
by Kevin Sessums (Macmillan)

The Old Way: A Story of the First People
by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (Tantor)

On Chesil Beach
by Ian McEwan (Random)

said, McEwans performance is mesmerizing.

ThrillerBlood Lies
by Daniel Kalla, read by Anthony Heald (Blackstone)

Brother Odd
by Dean Koontz, read by David Aaron Baker (Random)

Heart-Shaped Box
by Joe Hill, read by Stephen Lang (HarperAudio)

by R.J. Hillhouse, read by Hillary Huber (Blackstone)

said, Both author and reader are talents to watch.

The Secret Servant
by Daniel Silva read by Phil Cigante (Brilliance)

said, This excellent match-up between reader and author makes this a chilling and riveting listen and one of the best audio productions of the year.

by Thomas Perry, read by Michael Kramer (Tantor)

Three Bags Full
by Leonie Swann, read by Josephine Bailey (Tantor)

History/PoliticsThe Assault on Reason
by Al Gore, read by Will Patton (Penguin)

Botany of Desire
by Michael Pollan, read by Scott Brick (Audio Evolutions/Gildan Media)

Buried in the Bitter Waters
by Elliot Jaspin, read by Don Leslie (HighBridge)

Empire of Blue Water
by Stephan Talty, read by John H. Mayer (Random)

First into Nagasaki
by George Weller, read by Stefan Rudnicki (Blackstone)

said, [Rudnickis] reading gives punch and immediacy to Wellers solidly constructed first person reports on the horrors of war.

Power, Faith and Fantasy
by Michael B. Oren, read by Norman Dietz (Tantor)

The Shock Doctrine
by Naomi Klein, read by Jennifer Wiltsie (Macmillan)

The War: An Intimate History 19411945
by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, read by Burns and others (S&S)

The World Without Us
by Alan Weisman, read by Adam Grupper (Macmillan)

InspirationHere If You Need Me: A True Story
by Kate Braestrup, read by the author (Hachette)

Heres the Bright Side: Of Failure, Fear, Cancer, Divorce and Other Bum Raps
by Betty Rollin, read by Pam Ward (Blackstone)

said, This is an ideal gift for anyone facing hardships.

In An Instant: A Familys Journey of Love and Healing
by Lee and Bob Woodruff, read by the authors (Recorded Books)

Leading a Worthy Life: Sunday Mornings in Plains: Bible Study with Jimmy Carter
by Jimmy Carter, read by the author (S&S)

Full Cast/Multiple VoicesMary Stuart
by Peter Oswald (LA Theatre Works)

Selected Shorts: Food Fiction
collected by Symphony Space (Symphony Space)

said, The performances would get five stars from any food critic and the audio is worth its weight in pate.

Selected Shorts: Pets!
collected by Symphony Space (Symphony Space)

Shadow Puppets
by Orson Scott Card (Macmillan)

ChildrensThe Aurora County All-Stars
by Deborah Wiles, read by Kate Jackson (Listening Library/Random House)

Igraine the Brave
by Cornelia Funke, read by Xanthe Elbrick (Listening Library/Random House)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick, read by Jeff Woodman (Scholastic Audiobooks)

said, [Woodman] dives in, reading with both a bright energy and an air of mysterybefitting the adventurous plot. Listeners will likely cotton to Woodmans affable tone and be fascinated by all the unusual elements here, including the sound-effects sequences (footsteps, train station noises) that stand in for Selznicks black-and-white illustrations, which appear like mini silent movies in the book.

The One and Only Shrek!: Plus 5 Other Stories
by William Steig, read by Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci (Macmillan)

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart
by Ian Beck, read by John Curliss (HarperChildrens Audio)

Secrets of a Civil War Submarine
by Sally M. Walker, read by J.R. Horne (Listening Library/Random House)

The Wednesday Wars
by Gary D. Schmidt, read by Joel Johnstone (Scholastic Audiobooks)

The White Giraffe
by Lauren St. John, read by Adjoa Andoh (Listening Library/Random House)

TeensBefore I Die
by Jenny Downham, read by Charlotte Parry (Listening Library/Random House)

said, Parry laudably colors her reading with the broad range of raw emotion that Tessa experiences, from rage and fear to even a few moments of euphoria.

Bloody Jack
by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren (Listen & Live Audio)

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