The Great Gatsby

Like so many others, I loved the Great Gatsby when I read it… all the way back in high school. A story narrated by Midwesterner turned New York salesman Nick Carraway (narrated by Oscar-nominated Jake Gyllenhaal). It is story of materialism during the Roaring Twenties.

Set amidst the hyper-privileged elite of Long Island, Fitzgerald’s novel follows the titular Gatsby. Let’s turn to the publisher for a quick summary:

After meeting and losing Daisy during the war, Gatsby has made himself fabulously wealthy. Now, he believes that his only way to true happiness is to find his way back into Daisy’s life, and he uses Nick to try to reach her. What happens when the characters’ fantasies are confronted with reality makes for a startling conclusion to this iconic masterpiece.

Gyllenhaal does a great job remaining true to Fitzgerald’s simple yet elegant prose. Have a listen before the movie comes out!

APA Announces Finalists for Audie Awards

The Audie Awards, or Audies as they’re more often called, are awards bestowed since 1996 by the Audio Publishers Association for outstanding audio books. Finalists are announced in the winter, and winners announced in the spring.

Just to whet your appetite here’s the finalists for Fiction:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Read by Claire Danes, this timely dystopian novel studies the role of women in a society which has stripped them of their rights. Danes’ emotional subtleties make this story-following a “handmaid” whose sole purpose is to bear children for a government leader—a consuming listen.

Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon
In the Carolinas just before the passing of the 17th century, beautiful widow Rachel Howarth is tried for witchcraft. Fortunately, the magistrate’s clerk is on her side, and as the two fall in love they must battle the township to save the townspeople.

A Rage in Harlem: A Grave Digger & Coffin Ed Novel by Chester Himes
Set in 1950s Harlem, Chester Himes tracks down Imabelle after she scams him and runs off with a truck of gold ore. The dark humor mirrors impoverished and delinquent characters and bungled situations, and narrator Samuel L Jackson animates all of them.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Narrator Edoardo Ballerini is the solo voice behind the array of characters, time periods, and events traced through this story which wrestles with the essentials of dreams, love, and life, with stories shifting from 1960s Italian innkeppers to present-day Hollywood production assistants.

The Bartender’s Tale by Ivan Doig
Set during “the summer of everything,” 1960, a young Rusty Harry falls in love, dives into drama and story, and discovers the truth behind his father’s mysterious trips to Canada. The highlight with this audio book is the rich dialog, replete with colloquialisms, allowing characters to develop and genuinely respond to one another.

The full list of finalists for the Audie Awards is available at The Audies Official Site, hosted by Audiofile.

Grammy Award Winner: Society’s Child

The Grammy Awards, which took place February 10th, announced the winner of this year’s Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album:

Society’s Child by Janis Ian
An autobiography read by author Janis Ian. In this fascinating memoir of her more than 40 years in the music business, Ian chronicles how she did drugs with Jimi Hendrix, went shopping for Grammy clothes with Janis Joplin, and sang with Mel Tormé, all the while never ceasing to create unforgettable music. In Society’s Child, Janis Ian provides a relentlessly honest account of the successes and failures – and the hopes and dreams – of an extraordinary life.


The year has seen the transformation of Simply Audiobooks into the formidable Audible-competitor, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.

In hand with its anniversary, the site has introduced a significant price drop; joining the site used to cost $25 a month for two books. That’s been slashed to $14.95 for one book a month, and $22.95 for two per month. You can still join under their free trial program.

In the past year they’ve also put out an iPhone app and an Android App. The catalog isn’t quite as expansive as Audibles—25,000 titles compared to the Amazon subsidiary’s 100,000-and doesn’t support as many platforms, but at the end of the day some users prefer the user experience. Give their free trial a shot if you aren’t happy on the Audible bandwagon.

Introducing the Timeline

We’re very proud to introduce a new feature today: The Timeline.

This page allows you to go back in time and see which audio books were most popular throughout the past year. Whether you want to see what’s popular now, or what was popular over the summer (the sweltering Fifty Shades Trilogy), we’ve got your back. To our knowledge, we’ve got the only one of these that exists.

We’ll be curating this list, adding new time points as Audible releases them, and we won’t ever take away old days. You’ll also find our own take for many of the books that appear in these lists. Check it Out!

Audible sources both iTunes and Amazon, commanding the audio book market, so their top selling titles are representative of the industry.We’ve made it easy to check out more information at Audible if you want to learn more about an audio book… go have a look! We hope you find it as useful and interesting as we do!

Goodreads Choice Awards : Winners

More than one million votes have been cast in the only major book awards chosen by readers, over at Goodreads. We’ll be adding a more exhaustive and interactive roundup shortly, but here’s a few titles whose audio books have stood out over the year:

Best Fiction went to J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, which stood out among its competition, featuring titles as Emily Giffen’s Where We Belong, Kristin Hannah’s Home Front, and Karen Walker’s The Age of Miracles.

Susan Cain’s debut of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking took home Best Non-Fiction. Other notable entries include Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

Chart-topper Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn came away with the award for Best Mystery without a scratch.

The award for Historical Fiction went by a tight margin to M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans, just edging out Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Best Fantasy novel was claimed by powerhouse author Stephen King for The Wind Through the Keyhole.

Oh, and unsurprisingly the Fifty Shades trilogy that made headlines year-round and took women (and apparently men) by storm “dominated” the Romance category with Fifty Shades Freed.

Congratulations to all the winners! Grab yourself something for the holidays!

Goodreads Choice Awards

Goodreads Choice Awards 2012 Logo

Now in its fourth year, the Goodreads Choice Awards now holds rein the biggest competition in books to be decided by readers. Books were nominated based on the number of ratings and average rating of books added by users over the course of the year.

Goodreads now boasts over 12 million members, and nominations have become more significant each year. The competition began with 15 nominees in each of 20 categories, but there’s been a few write-ins, so that number’s up to 20 in each category. The final round will cut that in half, allowing you to vote on the top 10 books of each category.

Vote for you favorite books you’ve read (or listened to!) over the past year — semifinals run through November 17th, and the Final round runs from November 19-27.

Introducing the Blog

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes. We’ve set up this blog, where we’ll be keeping you up to date on major audio book releases and news in the industry. We have some exciting new features around the site and audio book featurettes we plan to add in the near future.

There’s one we’re particularly excited about — we’ve been aggregating audio book bestsellers from various sources for some time now, and we’re going to roll out an easy way to see which books have been popular over the past year.

You’ll be able to go back through time not only to see the arc of a best-seller’s popularity, but we’ll make it easy to see what others have said about the book, and give you our own take. Keep checking back in the coming months.

We’ll be revamping the whole site soon. Stay tuned.