During 2007, PW reviewed a record-breaking 325 audiobooks in the magazine and online. It’s been an outstanding year, full of quality productions. This year, relative new-kid-on-the-block Graphic Audio (launched in 2004) gained national exposure when it signed a licensing deal with DC Comics. Graphic Audio’s initial release, Infinite Crisis Part 1, brought the company critical acclaim and recognition in the audio industry with its full-cast productions featuring sound effects and music.

The Six Best Audios of 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale (Listening Library/Random House).

PW on Dale: “Dale tackles Harry’s last hurrah with the same undercurrent of excitement and mind-boggling roster of distinct character voices that he brought to his previous six performances. Dale is at the top of his game, drawing listeners into the orbit of his comforting voice.”

Dale on Deathly Hallows: “The recording sessions were almost surrealistic. Everything was secret. The name of the book was not allowed to be mentioned. It had a code name, which I kept forgetting. As I recorded the script, the pages were collected and placed in a safe. There were also a number of VIPs visiting the recording studio to witness the last recording. It’s a wonder we ever managed to record the book in the time we had. I have never felt so pleased, relieved and forever grateful for having had the opportunity to leave a little something for not only my great-grandchildren, but for millions of great-grandchildren yet to come.

Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin, read by the author (HarperAudio).

PW on Maupin: “Maupin’s the perfect reader.... Although more sexually explicit that the previous novels, Maupin’s cheerful and reassuring delivery makes it all good fun. This is the tale of Michael’s move beyond his suspended boyhood, and this return visit will enchant Maupin’s legion of fans.”

Maupin on Michael Tolliver: “I couldn’t be more pleased. Ever since I was Cub Scout I’ve loved telling stories to my friends, so this recognition feels like applause around a campfire.”

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner, read by Stefan Rudnicki (Blackstone).

PW on Rudnicki: “For an important book like this one, it’s important for an audiobook narrator to have a certain gravitas, and Rudnicki has plenty. Rudnicki is one of the best narrators in the business and he’s in top form here—Legacy of Ashes is one of the best audiobooks of the year.”

Rudnicki on Legacy of Ashes: “Similar to first-rate fiction, which is generally driven by narrative thrust and strong characters, good nonfiction usually has a unique and identifiable tone. It’s the audiobook narrator’s job to suss out that tone, and to locate its counterpart in his own vocal repertoire. I found Tim Weiner’s tone to be one of profound authority tempered with a delicious sardonic edge. It made the book great fun to read.”

The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke, read by Will Patton (Simon & Schuster Audio).

PW on Patton: “Will Patton, who has come to embody the heart and soul of Burke’s weary, Southern knight, matches the author’s prose in all its intensity and pain. Patton’s insightful interpretation of Burke’s darkly expressive imagery makes for a rich literary experience rarely achieved in crime fiction today.”

Patton on Tin Roof: “It was great that Tin Roof Blowdown was about Katrina—that’s a powerful thing. He really got to what that was, from the inside. He always seems to have this sense of conscience. He’s like a brother to me, he’s in my blood.”

Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCraig, read by John Bedford Lloyd (Macmillan).

PW on Lloyd: “Lloyd’s reading is well paced, never rushing to cover the abundance of material in the lengthy text. With a cast as large as the sprawling settings and landscapes of the story, the opportunity for improvisation is abundant. With a profusion of drama, action, romance and tragedy, Lloyd gets it right every time and never fails to convey the underlying tension throughout.”

Lloyd on Rhett Butler: “I have done a great many audiobooks and been challenged by creating the voices of aliens, babies, inanimate objects and the most bizarre collection of humanity imaginable. However, I have never been so daunted as when faced with the single line “Fiddle-dee-dee.” My director, Robert Kessler, and I tried out hundreds of variations before landing on something that worked. I am glad no one wandered into the studio while we were both trying to get in touch with our inner Southern belle.”

Roots by Alex Haley read by Avery Brooks (BBC Audio America).

PW on Brooks: “Avery Brooks proves to be the perfect choice to bring Haley’s devastatingly powerful piece of American literature to audio. Avery Brooks’s rich, deep baritone brings a deliberate, dignified, at times almost reverential interpretation to his reading, but never so reserved as to forget that at its heart this is a story about people and family.”

Brooks on Roots: “It was an honor and a privilege to participate in the 30th anniversary of the publication of Alex Haley’s Roots, one of the most important and seminal literary works of the 20th century in America. The journey of a family, indeed, of my people, illuminates profoundly the necessity of the preservation of all cultures in the world.”


The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta, read by Campbell Scott (Macmillan)

Away by Amy Bloom read by Barbara Rosenblat (HighBridge)

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures: Stories by Vincent Lam, read by Christopher Lane (Brilliance)

Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, read by Jonathan Davis with Staci Snell (Penguin)

The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig, read by Andrew Dennis (HighBridge)

PW said, “[The} decision to cast 11-year-old Andrew Dennis to read the novel pays off. His most impressive feat is the level of emotion and intensity he maintains through many of the scenes.”

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk, read by Anna Fields (Blackstone)

Place on Earth by Wendell Berry, read by Paul Michael (Christian Audio)

The Religion by Tim Willocks, read by Simon Vance (Macmillan)

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessi, read by Emily Janice Card (Penguin)


Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, read by Jay O. Sanders (Caedmon)

PW said, “It would be difficult to imagine richer material for an audiobook reader, comedically speaking.”

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, read by Tom Hollander (Caedmon)

The Eight by Katherine Neville, read by Susan Denaker (Random)

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, read by Robertson Dean (Blackstone)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney read by Kristoffer Tabori (Blackstone)

Jonathan Winters Performs A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (HighBridge)

The Letter of Marque by Patrick O’Brian, read by Simon Vance (Blackstone)

Persuasion by Jane Austen, read by Juliet Stevenson (Naxos)

The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien, read by Jim Norton (Naxos)

Fun Fiction

Austenland by Shannon Hale, read by Katherine Kellgren (Macmillan)

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler, read by Olagh Cassidy (Penguin)

Plum Lovin’ by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King (Macmillan)

Sweet Potato Queen’s 1st Big-Ass Novel by Jill Conner Browne, read by Browne (Brilliance)

PW said, “[Browne’s] friendly, intimate narration draws listeners in and makes this highly entertaining and engaging book even more appealing on audio.”


Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs, read by Linda Emond (S&S)

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black, read by Timothy Dalton (Macmillan)

Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis, read by Todd McLaren (Tantor)

Daddy’s Girl by Lisa Scottoline, read by Barbara Rosenblat (HarperAudio)

Dark of the Moon by John Sandford, read by Eric Conger (Penguin)

Dry Martini by J.A. Konrath, read by Susie Breck and Dick Hill (Brilliance)

Mrs. McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie, read by Hugh Fraser (Audio Partners)

Naming the Dead by Ian Rankin, read by James Gale (Hachette)

New England White by Stephen L. Carter, read by Bahni Turpin (Random)

The Overlook by Michael Connelly, read by Len Cariou (Hachette)

A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie, read by Rosalind Ayres (Audio Partners)

PW said, “Ayres produces an amazing range of voices and accents to create her own one-woman full-cast audio book.”

Red Cat by Peter Spiegelman, read by Elliott Gould (Phoenix Audio)

Sliver of Truth by Lisa Unger, read by Jenna Lamia (Random)

T Is for Trespass by Sue Grafton, read by Judy Kaye (Random)

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon, read by Peter Riegert (HarperAudio)


His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, read by David Thorn (Random)

Infinite Crisis Part 1 and Part 2 by Greg Cox, read by a full cast (Graphic Audio)

PW said, “Graphic Audio delivers an action and sound effect-loaded audiobook that lives up to its tagline: 'A movie inside your mind.’ ”

It’s Superman! by Tom DeHaven, read by Scott Brick (Blackstone)

Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper, read by Brian Holsopple (Audio Realms)

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, read by author (HarperAudio)

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman, read by J. Paul Boegmer and Coleen Marlo (HighBridge)


Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee, read by Kate Reading (Random)

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek, read by Eric Conger (HarperAudio)

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, read by Edward Herrmann (S&S)

PW said, “Herrmann’s reading offers solid, enjoyable and informative listening. Herrmann’s perfect reading is filled with warmth and accuracy.”

Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat, read by Robin Miles (Recorded Books)

Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton, read by Bill Nighy (Random)


Born Standing Up by Steve Martin (S&S)

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert (Hachette)

Mississippi Sissy by Kevin Sessums (Macmillan)

The Old Way: A Story of the First People by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (Tantor)

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Random)

PW said, “McEwan’s performance is mesmerizing.”


Blood Lies by Daniel Kalla, read by Anthony Heald (Blackstone)

Brother Odd by Dean Koontz, read by David Aaron Baker (Random)

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, read by Stephen Lang (HarperAudio)

Outsourced by R.J. Hillhouse, read by Hillary Huber (Blackstone)

PWsaid, “Both author and reader are talents to watch.”

The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva read by Phil Cigante (Brilliance)

PW said, “This excellent match-up between reader and author makes this a chilling and riveting listen and one of the best audio productions of the year.”

Silence by Thomas Perry, read by Michael Kramer (Tantor)

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann, read by Josephine Bailey (Tantor)


The Assault on Reason by Al Gore, read by Will Patton (Penguin)

Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, read by Scott Brick (Audio Evolutions/Gildan Media)

Buried in the Bitter Waters by Elliot Jaspin, read by Don Leslie (HighBridge)

Empire of Blue Water by Stephan Talty, read by John H. Mayer (Random)

First into Nagasaki by George Weller, read by Stefan Rudnicki (Blackstone)

PW said, “[Rudnicki’s] reading gives punch and immediacy to Weller’s solidly constructed first person reports on the horrors of war.”

Power, Faith and Fantasy by Michael B. Oren, read by Norman Dietz (Tantor)

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, read by Jennifer Wiltsie (Macmillan)

The War: An Intimate History 1941—1945 by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, read by Burns and others (S&S)

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, read by Adam Grupper (Macmillan)


Here If You Need Me: A True Story by Kate Braestrup, read by the author (Hachette)

Here’s the Bright Side: Of Failure, Fear, Cancer, Divorce and Other Bum Raps by Betty Rollin, read by Pam Ward (Blackstone)

PW said, “This is an ideal gift for anyone facing hardships.”

In An Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing by Lee and Bob Woodruff, read by the authors (Recorded Books)

Leading a Worthy Life: Sunday Mornings in Plains: Bible Study with Jimmy Carter by Jimmy Carter, read by the author (S&S)

Full Cast/Multiple Voices

Mary Stuart by Peter Oswald (LA Theatre Works)

Selected Shorts: Food Fiction collected by Symphony Space (Symphony Space)

PW said, “The performances would get five stars from any food critic and the audio is worth its weight in pate.”

Selected Shorts: Pets! collected by Symphony Space (Symphony Space)

Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card (Macmillan)


The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles, read by Kate Jackson (Listening Library/Random House)

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke, read by Xanthe Elbrick (Listening Library/Random House)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, read by Jeff Woodman (Scholastic Audiobooks)

PW said, “[Woodman] dives in, reading with both a bright energy and an air of mystery—befitting the adventurous plot. Listeners will likely cotton to Woodman’s affable tone and be fascinated by all the unusual elements here, including the sound-effects sequences (footsteps, train station noises) that stand in for Selznick’s black-and-white illustrations, which appear like mini silent movies in the book.”

The One and Only Shrek!: Plus 5 Other Stories by William Steig, read by Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci (Macmillan)

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck, read by John Curliss (HarperChildren’s Audio)

Secrets of a Civil War Submarine by Sally M. Walker, read by J.R. Horne (Listening Library/Random House)

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, read by Joel Johnstone (Scholastic Audiobooks)

The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John, read by Adjoa Andoh (Listening Library/Random House)


Before I Die by Jenny Downham, read by Charlotte Parry (Listening Library/Random House)

PW said, “Parry laudably colors her reading with the broad range of raw emotion that Tessa experiences, from rage and fear to even a few moments of euphoria.”

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren (Listen & Live Audio)