Last year at this time, I was tethered to my headphones, constantly listening to the best audiobooks of the year as chair of the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. This year, I can indulge in the speculation about which titles will be under discussion behind locked doors in Denver. And I can’t wait for the thrill of sitting in the audience as the winner & honor titles are announced in the Youth Media Awards press conference! Kudos to this year’s chair, Pam Spencer Holley, and her stalwart 2009 Odyssey committee members for their dedication to the cause. As Sylvia Vardell stated in her article chronicling the adventures of the 2008 Odyssey committee, our listening total was nearly 2,000 hours, with each member listening nonstop for more than five full-time workweeks. Add to that our “critical listening” of the final nominees, and the total was increased by 130 hours. And you can’t speed-read an audiobook!
I’d like to start the speculation on this year’s Odyssey medalists by asking readers to leave a reply with your picks for winner & honor titles. The Odyssey criteria can be found here, highlighting the qualities needed by the best audiobook for listeners ages 0-18. What better place to start the Odyssey conversation than on Booklist Online, as Booklist Magazine is the sponsor of the Odyssey Award? I will hold off on my picks for now, but you can find my favorites of the year in my Audiobooker’s Choice parts One, Two, & Three. But I am sure there are titles that are your favorites that are still on my to-listen list! What audiobook do you think should be awarded the Odyssey seal?