AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of February

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Each month, our friends at AudioFile Magazine share a curated list of the best audiobooks for your literary listening pleasure.

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FEBRUARY FICTION

Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar| Read by Arian Moayed
AudioFile Earphones Award
[Random House Audio | 10.5 hrs.]

Iranian American actor Arian Moayed gives the performance of a lifetime in poet Kaveh Akbar’s extraordinary debut novel. Cyrus Shams is a queer Iranian American poet in recovery who is grieving the long-ago death of his mother and struggling to find meaning in life. Moayed captures the earnestness that makes this novel shine: he’s dramatic, ebullient, and wildly expressive. His voice is so emotional that it’s almost hard to listen to at times—Cyrus feels so deeply, and Moayed speaks every word of that intensity aloud.

true north audio

True North by Andrew J. Graff| Read by Lincoln Hoppe
AudioFile Earphones Award
[Harper Audio | 13.75 hrs.]

Lincoln Hoppe gives a stellar performance of this novel set in northern Wisconsin, following a couple’s travails after they leave Chicago to run a rafting company.  His ability to subtly shift his tone and tempo from character to character, giving each a specific voice, makes this immersive novel stand out. Chip, an elderly river guide, has a gruffer, deeper voice than those of the other main characters, Sam and Swami Brecht. In a work with some high-adrenaline white water scenes, Hoppe controls the most intense action.

cahokia jazz audio

Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford| Read by Andy Ingalls
AudioFile Earphones Award
[Simon & Schuster Audio | 15.5 hrs.]

Narrator Andy Ingalls delivers all the nuances of a full cast in Spufford’s latest, a literary detective novel set in an alternate universe. In an authoritative tone, Ingalls brings to life Cahokia, located on the banks of the Mississippi. This ancient Indigenous society lives on in the 1920s, seeming to flourish in its diversity. But with the discovery of a mutilated body, the community’s facade of racial coexistence is exposed. Ingalls’ skills shine as he smoothly delivers conversations in a hillbilly drawl, an Irish brogue, and the many other voices of the diverse characters.

come and get it audio

Come & Get It by Kiley Reid| Read by Nicole Lewis
AudioFile Earphones Award

[Penguin Audio | 13 hrs.]

Nicole Lewis performs this sophomore novel from Booker-longlisted author Kiley Reid. Millie Cousins is a senior resident assistant at the University of Arkansas. When a visiting professor and journalist offers her money in exchange for the opportunity to eavesdrop on the dorm’s residents, Millie decides to take the risk and accept. Reid specializes in vivid dialogue, and Lewis’s performance makes these sections of the audiobook sing. She creates unique voices for all of the major characters, complete with the perfect accents and delivery of expressions.

the mysterious case of the alperton angels audio

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett| Read by Kristin Atherton, Annie Aldington, Nneka Okoye, Gareth Armstrong, Sid Sagar
AudioFile Earphones Award
[Simon & Schuster Audio | 10.5 hrs.]

This marvelous audiobook unfolds through a series of emails complete with verbal emojis—a narrator’s challenge. Kristin Atherton gives a knockout performance as journalist Amanda Bailey, who is investigating the malevolent cult of the Alperton Angels. Sid Sagar as Amanda’s journalist friend, Nneka Okoye as her street-smart assistant, Gareth Armstrong as the cult leader, and Annie Aldington as the murder club president provide plot twists and turns. All involved create a superbly choreographed performance.

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February Nonfiction

august wilson audio

August Wilson: A Life by Patti Hartigan| Read by Dion Graham, Patti Hartigan [Afterword]
AudioFile Earphones Award
[Simon & Schuster Audio | 16.5 hrs.]

This biography of playwright and poet August Wilson contains both narrative and brief passages from some of his plays. Dion Graham excels as both storyteller and actor. His rich voice carries the biography along nicely, but it is when he recites lines from plays such as Fences and quotations from figures in Wilson’s past that Graham really shines. He alters his voice and delivery to reflect each person directly quoted. It’s like listening to a full-cast production.

get the picture audio

Get the Picture: A Mind-Bending Journey Among the Inspired Artists and Obsessive Art Fiends Who Taught Me How to See by Bianca Bosker| Read by Bianca Bosker
AudioFile Earphones Award

[Penguin Audio | 10.25 hrs.]

Journalist Bianca Bosker narrates her witty audiobook about the art world with pizzazz. She has a pleasing sound, paces the sometimes frantic-sounding proceedings well, and comes across as an authentic seeker. Performing in a comic style, she enhances the audiobook’s ironic undertone, which suggests that many in the art world see journalists as “the enemy.” Bosker is an intrepid soul with a talent for penetrating cultural demimondes.

caster semanya audio cover

The Race to Be Myself: A Memoir by Caster Semenya| Read by Caster Semenya, Becky Motumo-Molete
AudioFile Earphones Award

[Audible, Inc. | 11.5 hrs.]

Olympic medalist Caster Semenya engages listeners with this deeply personal memoir of her experiences amid the ongoing debate over fairness in women’s sports. Semenya, who was raised a girl and has always identified as female, has naturally high levels of testosterone and has been forced to undergo invasive and humiliating “gender verification” tests. Semenya, who narrates the prologue and epilogue, evokes a quiet determination. Narrator Becky Motumo-Molete’s graceful performance channels the same resoluteness and stoic authenticity that Semenya does.

one nation under guns audio

One Nation Under Guns: How Gun Culture Distorts Our History and Threatens Our Democracy by Dominic Erdozain| Read by Dan Bittner
[Random House Audio | 5.5 hrs.]

The gun control debate in America has both emotional and legal dimensions, and this audiobook focuses on the latter. It’s a brief audiobook that would have felt longer without the energetic narration of Dan Bittner, who prevents it from bogging down. The writing is as lucid and conversational as one can expect from a dissection of the Second Amendment. Author Dominic Erdozain never resorts to hollow rhetoric, and Bittner’s expressive narration captures this balance, conveying the author’s precise language with passion.

our moon audio

Our Moon: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are by Rebecca Boyle| Read by Rebecca Lowman
[Random House Audio | 12 hrs.]

Rebecca Lowman’s warm, easygoing performance creates a relaxed space for listeners to engage with this expansive cultural and scientific exploration of Earth’s and humanity’s relationship with the moon across time. Lowman’s even pacing moves with ease between the lunar religious observances of ancient Babylon and Scotland, the timekeeping practices of dominant empires, WWII battlefield strategy, and moon landings. Footnotes are interspersed throughout, coming across as personal asides to listeners. This well-rounded production gives plenty of food for thought.



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Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lamber is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes about arts, entertainment, lifestyle, and home news. Nicole has been a journalist for years and loves to write about what's going on in the world.

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