Audio Books Annual Awards

Audio books which excel are recognized by the Audio Publishers Association (APA) each year in a ceremony known as ‘The Audies’. The Audies is the audio books equivalent to The Oscars awards for films, and this year takes place in Los Angeles at the end of May.

The APA recognizes the best audio books from over 30 categories and in 2008 they have introduced an additional category, namely, The Achievement in Abridgment Award. There is also an Audiobook of the Year award.

The audio books which have been selected for nomination will be announced in early February 2008.

A selection of Audie award winners for last year 2007 is as follows:

Category: Mystery

For excellence in narration, direction, engineering, mix and abridgment when applicable of an unabridged or abridged mystery audiobook,usually featuring a protagonist trying to solve a crime, usually a murder committed early in the story.

The 2007 winner was Echo Park, Publisher: Hachette Audio, Author: Michael Connelly, and Narrator: Len Cariou.

Echo Park synopsis:

In 1993, Marie Gesto disappeared after walking out of a supermarket in Hollywood. LAPD detective Harry Bosch caught the case, but the young woman never turned up, dead or alive, and it was an investigation Bosch couldn’t close. Now Bosch works in the Open-Unsolved Unit, where he still keeps the Gesto file on his desk, when he gets a call from the DA. A man accused of two heinous killings is willing to come clean about several others in a deal to avoid the death penalty. One of these is the murder of Marie Gesto.

Bosch is now tasked with taking the alleged killer’s confession to make sure he is not scamming the authorities to avoid a date with death. In doing so, Bosch must get close to a man he has sought – and hated – for thirteen years. When Bosch learns that he and his partner missed a clue back in 1993 that could have led them to Gesto’s killer – and that would have prevented all the murders that followed – his whole being as a cop begins to crack.

Michael Connelly’s enthralling new novel in audio book format pits the detective. People magazine calls “one of the most complex crime fighters around” against the most brilliant and sadistic killer he has ever confronted. And it proves once again that “in suspense… Connelly has no superiors” (Washington Post).

Category: Solo Narration – Male

For excellence in the solo reading of an audiobook by a male, any category.

The 2007 winner was Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Publisher: Brilliance Audio, Authors: Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, and The Narrator was: Jim Dale.

Peter and the Shadow Thieves synopsis:

In this riveting and adventure-packed follow-up to the award-winning New York Times bestseller Peter and the Starcatchers, Peter leaves the relative safety of Mollusk Island – along with his trusted companion, Tinker Bell – for the cold,damp, dangerous streets of London.

On a difficult journey across the sea, he and Tink discover the dark and deadly slithering part-man/part-creature Lord Ombra, who is intent on recovering the missing starstuff – celestial dust that contains unimagined powers. In London, Peter attempts to track down the indomitable Molly,hoping that together they can combat Ombra’s determined forces. But London is not Mollusk Island; Peter is not the boy he used to be; and LordOmbra – the Shadow Master – is unlike anything Peter, or the world, has ever seen.

Category: Solo Narration – Female

For excellence in the solo reading of an audiobook by a female, any category.

The 2007 winner was Telegraph Days, Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio, Author: Larry McMurtry and the

Narrator: Annie Potts.

Telegraph Days Synopsis:

When Nellie Courtright and her brother Jackson are unexpectedly orphaned by their father’s suicide, they make their way to the nearby town of Rita Blanca. Once there, Jackson manages to secure a job as a sheriff’s deputy, while the ever resourceful Nellie becomes the town’s telegrapher.

Together, they inadvertently put Rita Blanca on the map when young Jackson succeeds in shooting down all six of the ferocious Yazee brothersin a gunfight that brings him lifelong fame but which lie can never repeat because his success came purely out of luck. Nellie almost conquers the heart of Buffalo Bill, the man she will love most in her long life, and goes to meet, and witness the exploits of Billy the Kid, the Earp brothers, and Doc Holliday.

A big, brilliant saga full of life, love, shootings, real Western heroes and villains, Telegraph Days is Larry McMurtry at his epic best.

Category: Narration by the Author or Authors

For excellence in the reading of an audiobook by the author or authors of that audiobook, any category.

The 2007 winner was The Tortilla Curtain, Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc., Author: T.C. Boyle and the

Narrator: T.C. Boyle.

The Tortilla Curtain Synopsis:

Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacker lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he is a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine.

From the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delany into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.

Looking forward to the announcement of the audio books selected for the 2008 Audies awards nominations. These are due to be released February 4th 2008.

The Most Popular Business Audiobooks

Audiobooks are basically books on tape where talented voice actors, also known as narrators, record an entire book, which usually takes many long hours of reading and recording before it’s finished. Then the book is sold usually either on CD or as an MP3 file from websites like Audible that plays on portable MP3 players such as iPods. Audiobooks are perfect because usually, no matter what you are physically doing, you can be listening to something at the same time.

Audiobooks are especially popular to listen to when one is traveling – whether it’s on the daily commute to and from work, on the way to the store or even on your morning run every day. Squeezing in a good book or two is far easier when you’re able to listen to it on the go instead of having to settle down and actually put aside time to read it. Many people listen to business audiobooks to get new business ideas or insights from the top business gurus.

Here are some of the top business audiobooks:

The most popular business audiobook is the staple How To Win Friends and Influence People, a recording of the Dale Carnegie book, has been a top best seller lists for years because it has helped people to improve upon the success they have built in their own life. People listen to it to find ideas and inspiration. It helps, too, that the audiobook version features some truly remarkable voiceover work by Andrew MacMillan.

Another popular choice is The E Myth Revisited. This particular audiobook, a recording of the Michael Gerber book as well as voiced over by Michael Gerber himself, explains exactly how to properly run a business in today’s world. It also aims at debunking common myths and assumptions, which is a must for anyone looking to start their own businesses so they can avoid the common mistakes. It’s also been a staple for new business owners for quite a few years.

Another popular choice is 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. Ray Porter, the voiceover, explains how entrepreneurs live and explains how even someone who works a 9-5 job can design their life by the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule allows you to increase your productivity, but at the same time, shows you how to make it so that your job becomes a small part of your life and the time you have to yourself is where your true self lives.

Then you have Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking both written and narrated by Malcolm Gladwell. This book takes a look at everything in our world and tries to make us see it in a different light. It shows us how we “think without thinking” and how in doing so, we miss a lot of the world’s complexity. It also aims to explain how our brains work.

Audiobooks can be a chore to put together. They need the perfect narrator, the perfect promotion as well as the perfect story, but in the end, they are popular for a reason. Good audiobooks give us back our ability to “read” and relax into a book, opening our minds to new possibilities.

Don’t Hoot I’m Studying!

One of the “luxuries” of living in the country is the drive that I regularly get to do on route to Cape Town. Rather than curse at the 1.5hrs it takes to complete the journey, I have managed to turn it into quality “me” time. So apart from the occasional singing at the top of my voice, what, you may ask, do I do to fill the time. My answer is audiobooks. For a few days a week I get to spend a 3-5 hours learning stuff. What a fantastic opportunity to keep the gray stuff in my head from shrinking. So what do audiobooks hold in store? Well, anything and everything really. From novels to non-fiction, business to birding, languages to love, it’s all there for the taking, at a price of course.

How do you go about it? There are numerous ways to download material. My favorite is a site called audible.com. You become a member, take out one of their package offers and away you go. However, you might be happier with Amazon, eMusic or iTunes (some good free stuff here). They all have audiobooks on offer.

The device that you listen to the book on does make a difference to the experience. The iPod or iPhone is a great device to use as it will hold your place for you when you turn it off, and it gives you the ability to take it out of the car and continue anywhere else. The best feature for me though is the ability to learn at double speed.

Did you know that our brain can absorb information far quicker than we can speak. This is the reason that we sometimes get bored during conversations…(*yawn). Our mind is way ahead of the topic. The clever people at Apple have taken care of this by giving you the option to listen at double speed. It takes a while for you to get used to it, but after about 5 minutes it sounds no different. Normal conversation seems soooo slow.

So if you spend a couple hours in the traffic everyday, why not turn this time into productive learning time. Traffic jams become a thing of the past. You hardly notice them when you are engrossed in a chapter of a good book. My advice, get off the slow road to gray matter deterioration and onto the super fast learning highway, you won’t look back. So go ahead and do it today. Create your life.