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The Year’s Best Audiobooks: 2015 Audies Award Finalists

AudiobookerThirty categories of audio excellence, all genres for all ages. These titles are very best in recorded literature, selected by the Audio Publishers Association in the only awards program in the United States devoted entirely to honoring spoken word entertainment. I was thrilled to take part in the process as a judge, and can attest to the fact that this year’s submissions mark an even higher level of merit and distinction than in the past. The 20th Audies Awards has a special additional category: the Judges Award for Science & Technology. Janet Benson, Audies Competition Chair, explains “Recognizing the constantly evolving nature of modern science and technology, the Audies Competition Committee wished to honor audiobooks which celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” The competition will also include two premier categories, Distinguished Achievement in Production and Audiobook of the Year – the finalists for these awards will be announced in April. Find out more in the Audio Publishers Association’s press release.

AudiesWinners will be announced at the  Audies Gala on May 28, 2015, at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York, hosted by Jack Gantos who says, “It is an honor to be a part of recognizing all the incredible audio talent in the industry.” Of course, the multi-talented author & narrator Gantos has garnered his own audiobook and writing accolades, including the 2012 Newbery Award for Dead End in NorveltI was honored to talk with Gantos about his work in this Booklist Reader interview. I’ll be attending the Audies Gala, and will report live from the “Oscar of Audiobooks.” Can’t wait to share the event with you! Here’s the entire list of finalists:

Audio Drama

Anne Manx and the Blood Chase, by Larry Weiner. Read by Claudia Christian, Moira Kelly, and others. RRCA.

The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Read by Geoffrey Arend, Wilson Bethel, and others. L.A. Theatre Works.

Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson. Read by Terence Aselford, Kimberly Gilbert, and others. Graphic Audio® A Movie in Your Mind®.

The Swords of Riverside, by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman. Read by Ellen Kushner, Barbara Rosenblat, and others. SueMedia Productions for Neil Gaiman/ACX.

Under Drake’s Flag, by G.A. Henty. Read by Brian Blessed. Heirloom Audio Productions.


Daring: My Passages, by Gail Sheehy. Read by Bernadette Dunne. HarperAudio.

Living on Air, by Joe Cipriano and Ann Cipriano. Read by Joe Cipriano. Joe Cipriano Promos, Inc.

My Life in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Mead. Read by Kate Reading. Blackstone Audio Inc.

Not My Father’s Son, by Alan Cumming. Read by Alan Cumming. HarperAudio.

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler. Read by Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, and others. HarperAudio.


#GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso. Read by Sara Jes Austell. Penguin Random House Audio.

Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace. Read by Peter Altschuler. Penguin Random House Audio.

A More Beautiful Question, by Warren Berger. Read by Michael Quinlan. Audible, Inc.

Playing to Win, by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin. Read by L.J. Ganser. Audible, Inc.

Talk Like TED, by Carmine Gallo. Read by Carmine Gallo. Macmillan Audio.

Children’s Titles for Ages 8-12

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Read by Derek Jacobi, Neil Gaiman, and others. HarperAudio.

The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw, by Christopher Healy. Read by Bronson Pinchot. HarperAudio.

How to Catch a Bogle, by Catherine Jinks. Read by Mandy Williams. Listening Library.

A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd. Read by Cassandra Morris. Scholastic Audio.

Unstoppable Octobia May, by Sharon G. Flake. Read by Bahni Turpin. Scholastic Audio.

Children’s Titles for Ages up to 8

Deep in the Swamp, by Donna M. Bateman. Read by Tom Chapin. Live Oak Media.

Follow, Follow, by Marilyn Singer. Read by Marilyn Singer and Joe Morton. Live Oak Media.

H.O.R.S.E., by Christopher Myers. Read by Christopher Myers and Dion Graham. Live Oak Media.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, by Patricia Hruby Powell. Read by Lizan Mitchell. Recorded Books.

This Is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen. Read by John Keating. Weston Woods.

Timeless Tales of Beatrix Potter, by Beatrix Potter. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Tantor Media.


Andersonville, by MacKinlay Kantor. Read by Grover Gardner. Audible, Inc.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote. Read by Michael C. Hall. Audible, Inc.

Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil, by W.E.B. Du Bois. Narrated by Bernard K. Addison, Dion Graham, and others. Skyboat Media, Inc. and Blackstone Audio, Inc.

The New York Stories, by John O’Hara. Read by E.L. Doctorow, Becky Ann Baker, and others. Penguin Random House Audio.

The Odyssey, by Homer/Robert Fitzgerald. Read by Dan Stevens. Macmillan Audio.


Alpha, by Jasinda Wilder. Read by Summer Roberts and Tyler Donne. ACX/Seth Clarke.

Beauty from Love, by Georgia Cates. Read by Bunny Warren and Robert Black. Audible, Inc.

Beauty from Pain, by Georgia Cates. Read by Bunny Warren and Robert Black. Audible, Inc.

Carter Reed, by Tijan. Read by Lucy Rivers. Tantor Media.

One Dom to Love, by Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob and Isabella LaPearl. Read by Christian Fox. Tantor Media.


Cress, by Marissa Meyer. Read by Rebecca Soler. Macmillan Audio.

The Emperor’s Blades, by Brian Staveley. Read by Simon Vance. Brilliance Publishing.

Hawk, by Steven Brust. Read by Bernard Setaro Clark. Audible, Inc.

The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen. Read by Katherine Kellgren. HarperAudio.

Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson. Read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer. Macmillan Audio.


All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. Read by Zach Appelman. Simon & Schuster.

Fives and Twenty Fives, by Michael Pitre. Read by Kevin T. Collins, Nick Sullivan, and others. Audible, Inc.

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd. Read by Sue Monk Kidd, Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye. Penguin Random House Audio.

Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King. Read by Will Patton. Simon & Schuster.

Us, by David Nicholls. Read by David Haig. HarperAudio.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon. Read by Davina Porter. Recorded Books.


The Bully Pulpit, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Read by Edward Herrmann. Simon & Schuster.

Enduring Courage, by John F. Ross. Read by Edward Herrmann. Macmillan Audio.

Enemy Coast Ahead–Uncensored, by Guy Gibson. Read by Simon Vance. Tantor Media.

In the Kingdom of Ice, by Hampton Sides. Read by Arthur Morey. Penguin Random House Audio.

Lincoln’s Gamble, by Todd Brewster. Read by Todd Brewster. Brilliance Publishing.

A Spy Among Friends, by Ben Macintyre. Read by John Lee. Penguin Random House Audio.


Ben Franklin: Unplugged, by Josh Kornbluth. Read by Josh Kornbluth. Audible, Inc.

The Disaster Artist, by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. Read by Greg Sestero. Tantor Media.

Food: A Love Story, by Jim Gaffigan. Read by Jim Gaffigan. Penguin Random House Audio.

God Is Disappointed in You, by Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler. Read by James Urbaniak. Audible, Inc.

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler. Read by Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, and others. HarperAudio.

You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty, by Dave Barry. Read by Dave Barry. Penguin Random House Audio.

Inspirational/Faith-Based Fiction

The Auschwitz Escape, by Joel C. Rosenberg. Read by Christopher Lane. Brilliance Publishing.

Chasing the Lion, by Nancy Kimball. Read by Joseph Narducci. Nancy Kimball.

The Christmas Light, by Donna VanLiere. Read by Donna VanLiere. Macmillan Audio

The First Phone Call from Heaven, by Mitch Albom. Read by Mitch Albom. HarperAudio.

Grounded, by Angela Correll. Read by Lyssa Browne. Cedar House Audio Productions.

A Sensible Arrangement, by Tracie Peterson. Read by Barbara McCulloh. Recorded Books.

Inspirational/Faith-Based Non-Fiction

Before Amen, by Max Lucado. Read by Ben Holland. Thomas Nelson.

Living a Life That Matters: From Nazi Nightmare to American Dream, by Ben Lesser. Read by Ben Lesser and Jonathan Silverman. Remembrance Publishing LLC.

Prepared for a Purpose, by Antoinette Tuff. Read by Robin Miles. eChristian.

The Singer and the Song, by Miriam Therese Winter. Read by Janis Ian. Audible, Inc.

Steel Will, by Shilo Harris. Read by Johnny Heller. eChristian.

Judges’ Award: Science & Technology

The Copernicus Complex, by Caleb Scharf. Read by Caleb Scharf. Macmillan Audio.

The Marshmallow Test, by Walter Mischel. Read by Alan Alda. Brilliance Publishing.

A Primate’s Memoir, by Robert M. Sapolsky. Read by Mike Chamberlain. Tantor Media.

The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. Read by Jeff Cummings. Brilliance Publishing.

When Google Met Wikileaks, by Julian Assange. Read by Tom Pile. Audible, Inc.

Literary Fiction

The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell. Read by Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, and others. Recorded Books.

Euphoria, by Lily King. Read by Simon Vance and Xe Sands. Blackstone Audio Inc.

Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibín. Read by Fiona Shaw. Simon & Schuster.

The Patrick Melrose Novels, by Edward St. Aubyn. Read by Alex Jennings. Macmillan Audio.

An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine. Read by Suzanne Toren. Audible, Inc.

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, by Dave Eggers. Read by MacLeod Andrews, Marc Cashman, and others. Penguin Random House Audio.

Multi-Voiced Performance

The Anatomy Lesson, by Nina Siegal. Read by Adam Alexi-Malle, Peter Altschuler, and others. Penguin Random House Audio.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Read by Derek Jacobi, Neil Gaiman, and others. HarperAudio.

Land of Love and Drowning, by Tiphanie Yanique. Read by Cherise Boothe, Korey Jackson, and others. Recorded Books.

A Long Time Gone, by Karen White. Read by Susan Bennett, Jennifer Ikeda, and Pilar Witherspoon. Recorded Books.

The Sixteenth of June, by Maya Lang. Read by Julia Whelan, Will Damron, and MacLeod Andrews. Brilliance Publishing.

Stars: Original Stories Based on the Songs of Janis Ian, edited by Janis Ian (editor), Mike Resnick. Read by Janis Ian, Emily Rankin, and others. Audible, Inc.


The Dead Will Tell, by Linda Castillo. Read by Kathleen McInerney. Macmillan Audio.

Hounded, by David Rosenfelt. Read by Grover Gardner. Listen & Live Audio, Inc.

Malice, by Keigo Higashino. Read by Jeff Woodman. Macmillan Audio.

Missing You, by Harlan Coben. Read by January LaVoy. Brilliance Publishing.

Providence Rag, by Bruce DeSilva. Read by Jeff Woodman. Audible, Inc.

The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith. Read by Robert Glenister. Hachette Audio.

Narration by the Author or Authors

A Fighting Chance, written and read by Elizabeth Warren. Macmillan Audio.

Herbie Hancock: Possibilities, written and read by Herbie Hancock. Penguin Random House Audio.

Not My Father’s Son, written and read by Alan Cumming. HarperAudio.

What I Know For Sure, written and read by Oprah Winfrey. Macmillan Audio.

Yes Please, written and read by Amy Poehler, with Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, and others. HarperAudio.


Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. Read by Robert Petkoff. Macmillan Audio.

Deep Down Dark, by Héctor Tobar. Read by Henry Leyva. Macmillan Audio.

Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis. Read by Dylan Baker. Simon & Schuster.

Furious Cool, by David Henry and Joe Henry. Read by Dion Graham. Tantor Media.

The Innovators, by Walter Isaacson. Read by Dennis Boutsikaris. Simon & Schuster.

Unruly Places, by Alastair Bonnett. Read by Derek Perkins. Tantor Media.

Original Work

The Child, by Sebastian Fitzek. Read by Rupert Penry-Jones, Jack Boulter, and others. Audible, Inc.

Gadzooks! A Comically Quirky Audio Book, by Adele Park. Read by Garry Morris, Andra Harbold, and others. Straight to Audio Productions.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson. Read by Richard Armitage. Audible, Inc.

Mandela: An Audio History, by Nelson Mandela. Read by Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Joe Richman. Highbridge.

Transparent: Behind the Scenes, Read by Jeffrey Tambor. Audible, Inc.

Package Design

Bad Kitty Christmas Storytime Set, by Nick Bruel. Package Design by Margo Goody. Macmillan Audio.

The Hall, from The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Package Design by Cindy Belinfanti. Hachette Audio.

Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children® Series – Collector’s Edition, by Jean M. Auel. Package Design by Kathlyn Miller. Brilliance Publishing.

Light at the End, by Nicholas Briggs. Package Design by Alex Mallinson. Big Finish Productions.

Under Drake’s Flag, by G.A. Henty. Package Design by Steve Tyrrell/Tyrrell Creative. Heirloom Audio Productions.


Damoren, by Seth Skorkowsky. Read by R.C. Bray. Audible, Inc.

The Girl with All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey. Read by Finty Williams. Hachette Audio.

Pleasure of a Dark Prince, by Kresley Cole. Read by Robert Petkoff. Simon & Schuster.

A Second Chance, by Jodi Taylor. Read by Zara Ramm. Audible, Inc.

Suffer the Children, by Craig Dilouie. Read by R.C. Bray. Tantor Media.

Yesterday’s Gone, Season One, by Sean Platt and David Wright. Read by R.C. Bray, Chris Patton, and others. Podium Publishing.

Personal Development

Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success, by Steve Harvey. Read by Mike Hodge. HarperAudio.

Autism Breakthrough, by Raun K. Kaufman. Read by Raun K. Kaufman. Tantor Media.

Becoming the Kind Father: A Son’s Journey, by Calvin Sandborn. Read by Michael Puttonen. Post Hypnotic Press.

Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s, by Joanne Koenig Coste. Read by Pam Ward. Tantor Media.

Strong Mothers, Strong Sons, by Meg Meeker MD. Read by Marguerite Gavin. Tantor Media.

What I Know For Sure, by Oprah Winfrey. Read by Oprah Winfrey. Macmillan Audio.


The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller. Read by Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale. Hachette Audio.

Burn for Me, by Ilona Andrews. Read by Renee Raudman. HarperAudio.

First Love, by James Patterson. Read by Lauren Fortgang. Hachette Audio.

Just This Once, by Rosalind James. Read by Claire Bocking. ACX/Rosalind Iiams.

Rumor Has It, by Jill Shalvis. Read by Karen White. Tantor Media.

Science Fiction

The Beam: Season 1, by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. Read by Johnny Heller, Tara Sands, and others. Podium Publishing.

Dark Eden, by Chris Beckett. Read by Matthew Frow, Jayne Entwistle, and others. Penguin Random House Audio.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North. Read by Peter Kenny. Hachette Audio.

Lock In, by John Scalzi. Read by Wil Wheaton, Amber Benson, and others. Audible, Inc.

The Martian, by Andy Weir. Read by R.C. Bray. Podium Publishing.

Short Stories/Collections

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, by Hilary Mantel. Read by Jane Carr. Macmillan Audio.

Dangerous Women, by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Read by Claudia Black, Scott Brick, and others. Penguin Random House Audio.

Faceoff, edited by David Baldacci. Written by Linwood Barclay, Steve Berry, and others. Read by Dylan Baker, Dennis Boutsikaris, and others. Simon & Schuster.

Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths, by Bernard Evslin. Read by Todd Haberkorn. Graymalkin Media.

The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories, by R. A. Salvatore. Read by Dan Harmon, Danny Pudi, and others. Audible, Inc.

The Wily O’Reilly: Irish Country Stories, by Patrick Taylor. Read by John Keating. Macmillan Audio.

Solo Narration — Female

Boston Jacky, by L.A. Meyer. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Listen & Live Audio, Inc.

Life Drawing, by Robin Black. Read by Cassandra Campbell. Penguin Random House Audio.

Murphy’s Law, by Rhys Bowen. Read by Nicola Barber. Audible, Inc.

Until the End of the World, by Sarah Lyons Fleming. Read by Julia Whelan. Podium Publishing.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon. Read by Davina Porter. Recorded Books.

Yellow Crocus, by Laila Ibrahim. Read by Bahni Turpin. Brilliance Publishing.

Solo Narration — Male

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson. Read by Richard Armitage. Audible, Inc.

The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw, by Christopher Healy. Read by Bronson Pinchot. HarperAudio.

The Martian, by Andy Weir. Read by R.C. Bray. Podium Publishing.

Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King. Read by Will Patton. Simon & Schuster.

The Other Story, by Tatiana de Rosnay. Read by Simon Vance. Macmillan Audio.

Radiance of Tomorrow, by Ishmael Beah. Read by Dion Graham. Macmillan Audio.


The Accidental Highwayman, by Ben Tripp. Read by Steve West. Macmillan Audio.

Boston Jacky, by L.A. Meyer. Read by Katherine Kellgren. Listen & Live Audio, Inc.

Cress, by Marissa Meyer. Read by Rebecca Soler. Macmillan Audio.

Curtsies and Conspiracies, by Gail Carriger. Read by Moira Quirk. Hachette Audio.

Egg & Spoon, by Gregory Maguire. Read by Michael Page. Brilliance Publishing.

The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Read by Julia Whelan and Luke Daniels. Brilliance Publishing.


The Avengers, Lost Episodes Vol 1: Hot Snow, adapted by John Dorney. Read by Various. Big Finish Productions.

Dead Six, by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari. Read by Bronson Pinchot. Audible, Inc.

In the Morning I’ll Be Gone, by Adrian McKinty. Read by Gerard Doyle. Blackstone Audio Inc.

The Lost Key, by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison. Read by Renee Raudman and MacLeod Andrews. Brilliance Publishing.

Those Who Wish Me Dead, by Michael Koryta. Read by Robert Petkoff. Hachette Audio.

Wayfaring Stranger, by James Lee Burke. Read by Will Patton. Simon & Schuster.




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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