The first wave of spring audio releases is out of the gate, with much more to follow in time for the road trips and vacation listening of the season. We’ve pulled together some highlights of the newest offerings and crafted a list that provides a taste of the variety of titles available.

A whiff of history is in the air as publishers home in on the Dickens bicentennial, the 00th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, even the 40th anniversary of The Godfather film based on Puzo’s novel. Biographies of Presidents Obama and Johnson and legendary newsman Walter Cronkite provide a you-are-there flavor for listeners, and the memoirs keep on coming. Audiophiles can expect to hear from noted news journalist Dan Rather, singer-songwriter Carole King, Hollywood director/producer Garry Marshall, and Warren Littlefield and the team behind NBC’s original must-see TV programming, among others.

As always, those looking for escapist listening are in luck, with the usual strong showings for thriller, mystery, action-adventure, and fantasy categories. The short story is back with a vengeance, with numerous collections on audio, and first-time authors are well-represented in the mix, too. Several big names are earning notice for taking a bit of a new direction: Anne Rice moves from vampires to werewolves, and John Grisham writes about baseball, for instance. Children’s YA and fiction titles abound, including award winners, literary gems, solid series, and pop culture treats. So read on to discover new voices, characters, and audio publishing programs that are sure to fill the next few months with some joyful noise.


Mile 81 by Stephen King, read by Thomas Sadoski and Edward Herrmann. The e-book-only short story from last fall is now available on CD and download, paired with the bonus story, “The Dune.” (Simon & Schuster Audio, Jan.)

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar, read by the author. Writer/actor/director Akhtar completed recording sessions in New York in between his work on Disgraced, the play he wrote that will run at Chicago’s American Theater Company through February 26. His debut novel offers a family drama that explores what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America. (Hachette Audio, Jan.)

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, read by David Horovitch. One of the final titles in Naxos’s five-year-long project to record Dickens’s 16 major novels in honor of the author’s bicentenary this year. During the 10-day recording, the Royal National Theatre–trained Horovitch admits that there were two occasions when tears welled up so strongly he had to stop for a break. “We generally think it is not really very professional to let our private emotions emerge to such an extent that it interferes with the performance,” he said. “But Dickens knows how to press buttons, and sometimes it is just unavoidable! I was able to continue after a cup of English Breakfast tea.” (Naxos Audiobooks, Jan.)

The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith, read by Ari Fliakos. This thriller by a first-time author stars a professional torturer who has a gift for instantly knowing when someone is lying to him. (Macmillan Audio, Jan.)

The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant, read by Hillary Huber. When outsiders Fred and Elly Bulkington arrive in a small town in Ireland from Vermont, having won a pub in a contest, Elly finds challenge, purpose, and mystery in open-water swimming off a nearby island. (AudioGO, Jan.)

The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse by Steven C. Schlozman, read by Stephen Hoye, Peter Berkrot, and Emily Durante. George Romero has purchased film rights to this account of a few brave doctors who attempt to combat an uprising of the walking dead by applying forensic techniques to captured zombies. (Tantor Audio, Jan.)

Raylan: A Novel by Elmore Leonard, read by Brian D’Arcy James. Leonard catches up with one of his favorite characters, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, currently hero of the hit FX series Justified, inspired by Leonard’s work. (HarperAudio, Jan.)

The Last Nude by Ellis Avery, read by Thérèse Plummer and Barbara Caruso. The passionate story of an artist and her most famous muse, set in Paris between the world wars and inspired by real events. (HighBridge Audio, Jan.)

Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt, read by Grover Gardner. Competent yet underachieving lawyer Jamie Wagner flies under the radar until his firm puts him on a case that turns his whole world upside down. (Listen & Live Audio, Feb.)

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, read by Neville Jason. Swann’s Way kicks off the first-ever unabridged recording in English of Proust’s seven-volume novel Remembrance of Things Past. According to Naxos, when completed, the entire project should run to around 110 CDs. Jason has previously recorded a popular abridged version. The final release will be in November. (Naxos Audiobooks, Feb.)

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, read by Sean Pratt. Production on this complicated 59-hour recording had to be halted so that Pratt could fight the flu. The final program contains tones to indicate when listeners might check the included PDF for a footnote. An audio version of Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is being simultaneously released. (Hachette Audio, Feb., download only)

Helpless by Daniel Palmer, read by Phil Gigante. In this thriller, a high school soccer coach and former Navy SEAL tries to connect with his teenage daughter following the murder of his wife. (Brilliance Audio, Feb.)

Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea by Morgan Callan Rogers, read by Luci Christian, introduces a spirited young heroine coming of age in coastal Maine during the early 1960s. (HighBridge Audio, Feb.)

The Unremarkable Heart and Other Stories by Karin Slaughter, read by Shannon Cochran. Collected in one volume and on audio for the first time, this exclusive audiobook contains such previously published tales as “The Unremarkable Heart” and “The Blessing of Brokenness,” and the never-before-seen story “The Truth About Pretty Girls.” Cochran snagged an AudioFile Earphones Award for her narration of Karin Slaughter’s 2011 thriller, Fallen. (AudioGO, Mar.)

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice, read by Ron McLarty. Rice’s contemporary tale, set in a high-tech world, reimagines the creation of a werewolf. (Random House Audio, Feb.)

The Technologists by Matthew Pearl, read by Stephen Hoye. Set in 1868 Boston, this historical thriller focuses on the first class at M.I.T. and is inspired by such real people as Ellen Swallow, the sole female student at the time. (Random House Audio, Feb.)

That’s How I Roll by Andrew Vachss, read by Phil Gigante. A master assassin on death row writes his life story—a last chance to protect his brother after he’s gone. (Dreamscape Audio, Mar.)

A Hell of a Woman by Jim Thompson. Hachette Audio is producing 14 backlist titles from the “Dimestore Dostoevsky,” all as digital downloads, in conjunction with Mulholland Books’ publication of these classics of noir as e-books. Nine were published last fall, and the final five roll out this spring/summer. (Hachette Audio, Mar., download only)

The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau, read by Simon Vance. A debut novel about a young Muslim war orphan whose family is killed in a military operation gone wrong, and the American soldier to whom his fate, and survival, is bound. (Tantor Audio, Mar.)

Red, White, and Blood by Christopher Farnsworth, read by Bronson Pinchot. Turned into an inhuman predator 145 years ago and bound by blood oath to serve the president, vampire Nathaniel Cade protects the United States and its leader from the supernatural enemies that lurk in the dark. (Penguin Audio, Apr.)

Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance, edited by Lee Child, featuring new stories by popular crime writers Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Karin Slaughter, and others and includes an introduction by Child. (Brilliance Audio, Apr.)

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith. With a twist of mystery, history, and Bible stories, Grahame-Smith weaves an epic tale about the three kings of the Nativity. Hachette simultaneously releases a value-priced movie tie-in edition of the author’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Hachette Audio, Apr.)

Calico Joe by John Grisham. In Grisham’s baseball novel, he explores the very different career trajectories and lives of a golden-boy rookie hitter for the Cubs and a talented pitcher for the Mets. (Random House Audio, Apr.)

Harbor Nocturne by Joseph Wambaugh. One of the first releases in the new Mysterious Press–HighBridge Audio Classics imprint featuring titles from Mysterious Press; plans are for one digital-only release per month. (HighBridge Audio, Apr.)

Home by Toni Morrison, read by the author. An angry and traumatized Korean War vet must face his demons and the small Georgia hometown he’s always hated in order to save his younger sister. (Random House Audio, May)

Mission to Paris by Alan Furst. A novel of espionage and deception in 1938 Paris. (Simon & Schuster Audio, May)

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes, read by Michael Maloney. Written in 1929, this is the story of the Bas-Thornton children, whose parents send them to safety in England following a hurricane in the post-colonial Jamaica they call home, but their voyage turns into a perilous adventure when their ship is captured by pirates. Includes an original recorded interview with Richard Graves, the only biographer of Richard Hughes. (CSA Word, dist. by Trafalgar Square/IPG, June)

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. The story of a very unlikely friendship, inspired by the real-life relationship between the 15-year-old future movie star Louise Brooks and the 36-year old woman who chaperoned her to New York City for a summer. (Penguin Audio, June)

Other Notable Fiction:

Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly, read by Lorelai King (Macmillan Audio, Jan.); Five by Fitzgerald: Classic Stories of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald, read by Bronson Pinchot and Stephen R. Thorne (AudioGO, Feb.); Stay Awake: Stories by Dan Chaon, read by Kirby Heyborne (Dreamscape Audio, Feb.); Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox, read by Amy Rubinate (Dreamscape Audio, Feb.); Oath of Office by Michael Palmer, read by Robert Petkoff (Macmillan Audio, Feb); What We Talk About When We Talk about Anne Frank: Stories by Nathan Englander, read by a full cast (Random House Audio, Feb.); The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler, read by Kirby Heyborne (Random House Audio, Mar.); The Godfather by Mario Puzo, read by Joe Mantegna (Brilliance Audio, Mar.); The Last Good Man by A. J. Kazinski, read by Simon Vance (HighBridge Audio, Mar.); Born to Darkness by Suzanne Brockmann, read by Patrick Lawlor and Melanie Ewbank (Brilliance Audio, Mar.); In One Person by John Irving (Simon & Schuster Audio, May); The Shoemaker’s Wife: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani (HarperAudio, Apr.); Canada by Richard Ford (HarperAudio, May); The Long Earth: A Novel by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (HarperAudio, May); The Family Corleone by Ed Falco, read by Bobby Cannavale (Hachette Audio, May.


Pity the Billionaire by Thomas Frank, read by the author. A look at how the worst economy since the 1930s has brought about the revival of conservatism. (Macmillan Audio, Jan.)

As Good As She Imagined: The Redeeming Story of the Angel of Tucson by Roxanna Green with Jerry B. Jenkins, read by Cassandra Campbell. The inspirational story of Christina-Taylor Green, the child whose shooting death at a political rally in Tucson for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in January 2011 shook the nation. (Oasis Audio, Jan.)

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy by Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss. Contains seven never-before-heard interviews with Arthur Schlesinger Jr., which were conducted soon after President Kennedy’s assassination. These interviews were previously locked away, but now, 50 years later, Caroline Kennedy and the Kennedy family are making them available in their entirety. (Hyperion, Jan., download only)

Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith, read by Rosalyn Landor. Smith interviewed hundreds of people and examined previously unseen private correspondence of the queen for this portrait of Queen Elizabeth II as sovereign, colleague, friend, daughter, wife, mother and grandmother. (Random House Audio, Jan.)

The Titanic: Disaster of the Century by Wyn Craig Wade, read by Robertson Dean. A centennial edition of Wyn Craig Wade’s definitive book on the Titanic, replete with new evidence that sheds light on the world’s most famous marine disaster. Dean was named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of 2010. (Tantor Audio, Feb.)

DaVinci’s Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image by Toby Lester, read by Stephen Hoye. Lester cracks open Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man in order to explore the cultural explosion of Renaissance Europe. (Tantor Audio, Feb.)

Imagine by Jonah Lehrer, read by the author. Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few—it’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively. (Brilliance Audio, Mar.)

Drift by Rachel Maddow, read by the author. Beginning with the aftermath of the war in Vietnam, Maddow offers a compelling look at how we’ve drifted toward a society that accepts and integrates war in deep ways, both in our minds and in our institutions, and reinvigorates the debate about how, when, and where to apply America’s strength and power. (Random House Audio, Mar.)

A Night to Remember: The Classic Account of the Final Hours of the Titanic by Walter Lord, read by Martin Jarvis. A minute-by-minute account of the grand ship’s fatal collision with an iceberg and how the resulting tragedy brought out the best and worst in human nature. Released for the first time on CD to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the event. (AudioGO, Apr.)

Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs, read by the author. The author’s chronicle of his latest self-improvement quest: to become the healthiest man in the world. Over the course of two years, he subjected himself to a grueling regimen of exercises, a range of diets and nutritional plans, and a brutal array of techniques and practices to improve everything from his hearing to his sleep. (Simon & Schuster Audio, Apr.)

My Happy Days in Hollywood by Garry Marshall, read by the author. Director Marshall reveals how he transformed himself from a cheeky kid from the Bronx into one of Hollywood’s most admired and respected figures. (Random House Audio, Apr.)

Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen. A collection of recent essays and speeches that includes a piece reflecting on the suicide of Franzen’s friend and literary rival David Foster Wallace. (Macmillan Audio, Apr.)

Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch, read by the author. Dratch shares the comic and heartfelt tale of her full-of-detours journey to happiness and motherhood. (Penguin Audio, Apr.)

A Natural Woman by Carole King, read by the author, with five original piano instrumentals exclusive to the audiobook; photos from her life in a PDF. “Ms. King spent the beginning of the first day of recording singing a cappella pieces from songs that inspired her and those she’s co-written or has written herself. A gracious and warm spirit, Carole focused intensely each day on the task at hand, recording her words the way they were written, with love, sincerity and a commitment to give her audience what they have come to expect from her.”—Michele McGonigle, director of production (Hachette Audio, Apr.)

This Is How by Augusten Burroughs. With his signature dark humor, the memoirist offers advice on such things as how to feel like crap, how to be fat, and how to regret as little as possible. (Macmillan Audio, May)

Private Empire by Steve Coll. Two-time Pulitzer Prize–winner Coll presents the story of ExxonMobil Corp., the largest and most powerful private corporation in the United States. (Penguin Audio, May)

Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley. The definitive, revealing biography of an American legend—renowned news anchor Walter Cronkite. (HarperAudio, May, download only)

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro. The fourth volume in Caro’s biography, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, features the story of Johnson’s volatile relationship with John and Robert Kennedy during the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination and his unhappy vice presidency, as well as, for the first time, the story of the assassination from the viewpoint of Johnson himself. Includes bonus audio content from the LBJ presidential library including recordings of several previously unheard private telephone calls by Johnson. (Brilliance Audio, May)

Rather Outspoken by Dan Rather, read by the author. Rather discusses all the big stories from his decades of reporting and offers thoughts and reflections on the state of journalism today and what he sees for its future, as well as never-before-revealed personal observations and commentary. (Hachette Audio, May)

Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must-See TV by Warren Littlefield, with T. R. Pearson. The ultimate insider’s guide to a golden era in television history at NBC from the actors, writers, directors, producers, and the network executives involved. (Random House Audio, May)

Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails by Anthony Swofford. In the follow-up to Jarhead, Swofford describes his search for identity and meaning in the years after he returned from serving as a sniper in the Gulf War. (Hachette Audio, June)

Barack Obama by David Maraniss, read by the author. The generations and geography that created Barack Obama—from Kansas and Kenya to Chicago—as he found his life’s work and his own family. (Simon & Schuster Audio, June)

Other Notable Nonfiction:

This Thing of Ours: How Faith Saved My Mafia Marriage by Cammy Franzese (Oasis Audio, Jan.); The Late Bloomer: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Sounds True, May); Cave Full of Ghosts: The Billy Bob Tapes by Billy Bob Thornton and Kinky Friedman (HarperAudio, May, download only).

Children's and YA

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, read by Rebecca Soler. A fresh spin on Cinderella that’s part fairy tale and a little bit Terminator. (Macmillan Children’s Audio. Jan.)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, read by Kate Rudd. When gorgeous Augustus appears at her Cancer Kid Support Group, terminally ill Hazel’s life story is about to be rewritten. Includes a special q&a with the author. (Brilliance Audio, Jan.)

Tempest by Julie Cross, read by Matthew Brown. First in an epic trilogy starring a teenager able to jump back in time. (Macmillan Children’s Audio, Jan.)

The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm, read by Maria Dalbotten. The sequel to Newbery Honor Book Our Only May Amelia finds Amelia still trying to stand up for herself in a house filled with seven brothers and a demanding Pappa in Washington State in 1900. (Listening Library, Jan.)

Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck, read by Jayne Entwistle. In 1887 when the nouveau riche Cranstons decide to take a cruise to England in search of a husband for their awkward older daughter, the Cranston mice stow away in the luggage. (Listening Library, Jan.)

Ghost Buddy #1: Zero to Hero by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, read by Winkler. Billy’s adjusting to a new neighborhood, a new house and an unusual new friend: a ghost boy who lives in his closet. (Scholastic Audio, Jan.)

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, read by Bahni Turpin. When Deza Malone’s family falls on hard times during the Great Depression, they find themselves on “a journey to a place called wonderful” that includes a stop in a Hooverville outside Flint, Mich. (Listening Library, Jan.)

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill, read by Luke Daniels. Sent to Iowa to live with his strange relatives, Jack finds magic and friendship where he least expects it. (Brilliance Audio, Jan.)

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier, read by Michael Page. A debut novel starring a blind, thieving orphan boy who steals three pairs of magical eyes that lead him on adventures. (Brilliance Audio, Jan.)

Robinson Crusoe: Retold for Younger Listeners by Daniel Defoe, adapted by Roy McMillan, read by Jonathan Keeble. An abridged version of the novel for 7–12 year olds; part of Naxos’s new Retold series. (Naxos Audiobooks, Feb.)

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex. Harper calls the first title in a new middle-grade fantasy-adventure trilogy “magically delicious.” (HarperChildren’s Audio, Feb., download only)

Beneath a Meth Moon: An Elegy by Jacqueline Woodson, read by Cassandra Campbell. A teen haunted by tragedy succumbs to addiction and then begins to fight her way out with help from special friends. (Brilliance Audio, Feb.)

Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani, read by the authors. On this production narrated in two voices, listeners learn that Meena, an Indian immigrant girl living in New York City’s Chinatown, and River, a Kentucky coal miner’s son, have a lot in common. (Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, Feb.)

My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson, read by Nick Podehl and Amy Rubinate. The tale of an Inupiaq boy sent to a 1960s boarding school where his Arctic heritage is tamped down was a 2011 National Book Award Finalist. (Brilliance Audio, Feb.)

Dark Eyes by William Harlan Richter. Wallis Stoneman, born Valentina Mayakov, is an adopted teen becomes obsessed with finding her birth parents and clues to her complicated Russian heritage. (Penguin Audio, Mar.)

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick. His career cut short by injury, high school pitcher Peter must discover—is there life after sports? (Brilliance Audio, Mar.)

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen. It’s high adventure in the Everglades in this fictional look at wild animal wrangling on a reality TV show. (Listening Library, Mar.)

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson, read by Steve West. Ibbotson’s final, posthumously published chapter book. (Scholastic Audio, Mar.)

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, read by Charlie McWade. First in a trilogy featuring action and adventure in a war-torn kingdom. Includes a bonus story as well as an interview with the author. (Scholastic Audio, Apr.)

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, read by Michal Friedman. A spunky smalltown orphan aims to protect her adopted family and get to the bottom of a mystery when a lawman arrives and inquires about a murder. Friedman, whose 2010 narration of Room by Emma Donoghue was nominated for an Audie Award, died in late 2011. (Penguin Audio, May)

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi, narrated by Joshua Swanson. In the sequel to Ship Breaker, Mahlia and Mouse’s fragile safety is threatened when they discover a wounded half-man—a bioengineered war beast. (Brilliance Audio, May)

Other Notable Children’s and YA:

Bad Kitty Book & CD Set by Nick Bruell, read by Vanessa Williams (Macmillan Children’s Audio, Jan.); The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright, read by Katherine Kellgren and Robin Sachs (Listening Library, Jan.); The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case by Alexander McCall Smith (Listening Library, Apr.); The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman (Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, Apr.); 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad (Hachette Audio, Apr., download only); The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy (Peachtree Publishers, Apr.); Rebel Fire by Andrew Lane (Macmillan Audio, Apr.); The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart (Listening Library, Apr.); Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke (Listening Library, May); Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. (Hachette Audio, May); Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli. (HarperChildren’s Audio, May, download only); The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda (Macmillan Children’s Audio, May); City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster Audio, May).