Behind the Mic: Idaho

IDAHO will surprise you and tear at your heart. Narrator Justine Eyre shares her experience narrating Emily Ruskovich’s powerful debut.

AudioFile goes Behind the Mic to talk with narrator Justine Eyre about a beautiful new novel. As Justine tells us, Emily Ruskovich’s IDAHO “flirts with poetry as she describes the bold western landscape, the slippery images of remembrances, and the tiniest natural details.”

“The poetry of the writing was an absolute gift to me as a narrator.”—Justine Eyre

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IDAHO
by Emily Ruskovich, read by Justine Eyre
Random House Audio/Books on Tape
AudioFile Earphones Award

When we saw this review from contributing editor S.J. Henschel, we knew we had to speak to Justine about her experience with this audiobook. We love bringing the really great under-the-radar sort of audiobook to your attention. To listen to a sound clip from IDAHO and find AudioFile’s full review, here’s the spot.

Find more great new fiction titles to listen to over on our website!

20 Exceptional Audiobooks to Kick-start Your Family Listening

Start here with audiobook listening for the whole family. AudioFile’s recommendations give you so many stories to share.

Audiobooks and kids make a great match. Intimate and exciting performances from dynamic voices can help bring the stories to life in new ways. We’ve made some great matches for you, pairing up newer titles along with well-loved classics that all share a similar theme or idea.

There are misfit girls, journeys to self-discovery, battles against injustice, and opportunities to learn about cultures and experiences that may be different from our own. There’s sure to be something that will appeal to every young listener in your life—and will be fun for you to listen to right along with them!

Fantastic Worlds
37006.jpgALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
by Lewis Carroll, read by Jim Dale (Listening Library)

If you like Wonderland, you might like . . .

HATCHED
by Bruce Coville, read by Matthew Frow, Jeremy Gumbs, and a Full Cast, Ages 8+ (Listening Library)

BAKER’S MAGIC
by Diane Zahler, read by Tavia Gilbert, Michael Crouch, and a Full Cast, Ages 8+ (Live Oak Media)

THE HIDDEN ORACLE
by Rick Riordan, read by Robbie Daymond, Ages 10+ (Listening Library)

Other Times & Cultures
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WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER
by Grace Lin, read by Kim Mai Guest, Ages 8+ (Hachette Audio)

If you like learning about cultures from around the world, you might like . . .

ONE HALF FROM THE EAST
by Nadia Hashimi, read by Ariana Delawari, Ages 8+ (Harper Audio)

THE RED PENCIL
by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Shane W. Evans, read by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Ages 8+ (Hachette Audio)

A CRACK IN THE SEA
by H.M. Bouwman, read by Bahni Turpin, Ages 8+ (Listening Library)

The Battle Against Injustice
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THE GIVER
by Lois Lowry, read by Ron Rifkin, Ages 12+ (Listening Library)

If you liked uncovering the world of THE GIVER, you might like . . .

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, read by Carolyn McCormick, Ages 12+ (Scholastic Audiobooks)

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

by Kelly Barnhill, read by Christina Moore, Ages 10+ (Recorded Books)

THE INQUISITOR’S TALE
by Adam Gidwitz, read by Adam Gidwitz, Vikas Adam, Mark Bramhall, Jonathan Cowley , Kimberly Farr, Ann Marie Lee, Bruce Mann, John H. Mayer, Benjamin Bagby, Arthur Morey, Ages 10+ (Listening Library)

Discovering the Magic Within
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HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE
by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale, Ages 8+ (Listening Library)

If you wish you could learn at Hogwarts, you might like one of these . . .


THE GOLDEN COMPASS
by Philip Pullman, read by a Full Cast, Ages 12+  (Listening Library)

GRAYLING’S SONG
by Karen Cushman, read by Katherine Kellgren, Ages 10+ (Recorded Books)

HOODOO
by Ronald L. Smith, read by Ron Butler, Ages 10+  (Dreamscape)
Keep your eye out for our Behind the Mic visit with narrator Ron Butler!

Family & Community
20856.jpgBECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE
by Kate DiCamillo, read by Cherry Jones, Ages 8+ (Listening Library)

If you shared Opal’s family with yours, you might like . . .

THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE
by Jacqueline Kelly, read by Natalie Ross, Ages 12+ (Brilliance Audio)

LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET
by Matt de la Peña, read by Lizan Mitchell, Ages 4-6 (Recorded Books)

BROWN GIRL DREAMING
by Jacqueline Woodson, read by Jacqueline Woodson, Ages 10+ (Listening Library)

What audiobooks have you listened to with your kids that you would recommend for someone who loves Harry Potter? What audiobook have they loved that helped teach them more about valuing family and community? Share your favorites in the comments!

Find more great audiobooks here, Audiobooks for Kids & Teens. AudioFile’s dynamic lists come complete with with age ranges.
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John Lee – Interview with a Golden Voice

Famous for his resonant voice, narrator John Lee chats with AudioFile.

When Golden Voice Narrator John Lee agreed to hop onto Goodreads for a narrator interview, we couldn’t believe our luck! John Lee is famous for his resonant voice, thoughtful characterizations, range, and stamina. He’s won awards for everything from serious history books to mysteries to Ken Follett’s sprawling novels. He has had many titles reviewed by AudioFile reviewers over the years, including the Earphones Award Winner Sweetland. Read a selection of our readers’ questions and John’s thoughtful answers below.

Q: I adored your performance of Georgina Harding’s The Solitude of Thomas Cave: A Novel, which takes place mostly in the Arctic winter. How did the situational details affect you while you were narrating?

John Lee: Some books excel at what I call mood. The Solitude of Thomas Cave seemed to have a sort of mournful music under the whole thing. It’s not quite the same as having an imagined soundtrack, it’s more like that unidentifiable hum you hear sometimes which catches your attention and you can never quite figure out where it’s coming from. That tone informs the whole reading and a book such as this requires a poetic approach or perhaps it might better be described as a musical approach: my tone needs to match what feels like the tone of the book. I certainly ended recording sessions on Thomas Cave with a sense that I was emerging from another world. It was very immersive.

Q: You are the historical fiction king—in my (audio)book. How do you decide if you’ll use an accent for characters or the narrative text? How do you prepare for speaking in an accent?

John Lee: The decision to use accents is always a tricky one. I just did a book about a historical Irish character and it was clear that both the narration and the characters needed to be in an Irish accent. Yet, if I am doing something like the Ken Follett’s The Century Trilogy there are dozens of accents and the narration needs to be in my voice simply to distinguish it from the Welsh and the German and the Boston ones. I prepare for doing accents mostly by trying to call up the voices of people who speak that way. It’s partly a visual recall of the people and partly a sort of recording I have in my head of their way of speaking.

Q:  Can you tell us how you engage emotionally with your characters and how you manage tension and pacing?

John Lee:  Pace is the heart of the matter. There are two basic schools of thought—one that the ear or brain takes in information at a certain speed, and that speed is quicker than you might think. The other is that a book is different from pure information and needs to be read a little slower. Because English people tend to speak more quickly than Americans, directors are always asking me to slow down. Speed, though, helps raise tension in the right places. And tension is that indefinable middle ground where the silence and the speed are just right. Engaging emotionally is a matter of basic acting. I am a creature of the theatre and came to audiobooks from a world where you know if you’ve paced yourself and held the tension well simply by sensing the audience’s reaction. I think of audiobooks as my personal theater space.

Jump over to John Lee’s narrator page for more of the interview, and come join the conversation in the Audiobooks group on Goodreads so you can take part in our next narrator Q&A!

Hear John Lee’s performances of The Century Trilogy that includes FALL OF GIANTS, WINTER OF THE WORLD, EDGE OF ETERNITY.