2013’s best audiobooks, part one

grammy

The Spoken Word Grammy nominations are announced! Here’s the full list of 2014 Grammy Nominations, a great tool for finding the year’s best recordings and creating patron lists & displays.

Congratulations to audiobooks recognized in the Grammy nominations for Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling):

America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t, written by Stephen Colbert, read by Stephen Colbert, Tim Meadows, and Jordin Ruderman (Hachette Audio)

Carrie and Me, written and read by Carol Burnett (Simon & Schuster Audio)

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, written and read by Davis Sedaris (Hachette Audio)

Still Foolin’ Em, written and read by Billy Crystal (Macmillan Audio)

The Storm King:  Stories, Narratives, Poems: Spoken Word Set to a World of Music, written and read by Pete Seeger (Hachette Audio)

This is the second year in a row that every single Grammy Spoken Word nominee is read by the well-know author or celebrity. Great titles all, but keep in mind that awards and recognitions are dependent on the submission and voting process, such as the Grammy procedures here. The voting members of the Grammy are part of the “preeminent membership organization for musicians, producers, engineers and other music professionals, our mission is to advance artistic and technical excellence, work to ensure a vital and free creative environment, and act as an advocate on behalf of music and its makers.” So the focus of the Grammys is on production – you can be guaranteed that a Grammy nominee is one of the best produced and engineered titles – a vital and often overlooked component of the audiobook’s overall excellence. Other awards – such as the American Library Association’s Listen List for adult titles & the Odyssey Award for youth or the Audio Publishers Association’s Audies Awards – each have their own criteria, which result in unique final results. That’s why this post is only “part one” of the best audiobooks of 2013.

And are you wondering why there’s no solely Spoken Word youth or young adult Grammy nominations, just a Best Children’s Album category that combines spoken or musical releases, and that has only musical titles? Find out why in this Audiobooker post: http://audiobooker.booklistonline.com/2011/04/07/kiss-kids-spoken-word-grammy-goodby/

So where should you look for recommendations for this year’s best youth & YA titles? Try the nomination lists for the American Library Association’s selection lists, soon to be updated with the audios that will be discussed at ALA Midwinter at the end of January:

Notable Children’s Recordings (ages birth-14): http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/Notable%20Children%20Recordings_13AC.pdf

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults (ages 12-18): http://www.ala.org/yalsa/audiobooks/nominations

So many great audiobooks, so little time to listen 😉

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About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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