Audible.com unveils its audiobooks of the year: Editors’ Picks and Customer Favorites, and more

Picking Stephen King’s 11-22-63: A Novel as its Audiobook of the Year, Audible.com also unveils its lineup of the Best of 2011 in various categories, along with naming Lorelei King as the Narrator of the Year based on customer ratings, providing several lists of selections by editors, and even identifying the site’s Most Helpful Reviewer and Most Followed Reviewer. (I worry that this might lead to competitive reviewers refraining from following other popular reviewers, or marking reviews as helpful, but, well, what can you do.) And, last but certainly not least, it unveils a 20-title-deep list of Customer Favorites for 2011. Behold! I break down the categories and poke a bit at the editors’ picks within:

I’ll start with the Customer Favorites first. Led by The Night Circus, the list has a lot of titles of interest to SF/F readers, including #2 11-22-63: A Novel, #3 Ready Player One, #5 A Discovery of Witches, #6 A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5, and bottom-half books Inheritance: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 4Ghost Story: The Dresden Files, Book 131Q84DivergentSnuffThe Wise Man’s Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2, and Macbeth: A Novel.

It provides a separate list for both Best Fantasy (#1: The Wise Man’s Fear: Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2; #2: A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5; and #4: The Magician King: A Novel) and Best Science Fiction (#1: Solaris: The Definitive Edition; #2: Reamde; #3: Fuzzy Nation; #4: WWW: Wonder; and #5: Vortex), includes multiple sf/f audiobooks in its lineup for Best Fiction (#2: A Discovery of Witches; #3: 1Q84; #4: Macbeth: A Novel; and #5: Ready Player One) — also not to be overlooked are the picks in Best Kids & Teens, which is comprised almost entirely YA sf/f titles including its top pick, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, as well as both Divergent and Delirium.

There’s even a category for Best Long Awaited, led by an unabridged recording of The Fiery Cross in Diana Gabaldon’s alternate history saga. More? There’s even a Best Zombies category, with the #1 slot going to Raising Stony Mayhall.

In the editors’ picks: Chris picked Ready Player One at #4; Corey picked Solaris at #2, The Iliad at #4, and 11-22-63 at #5; Diana picked as her #1 audiobook Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead — about which I’ve heard great things from Andrew NealEmily picked Delirium at #2; and Martha saved her last slot for Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox: A Novel.

Whew! I went ahead and spilled the beans a bit on my own picks when I linked to the poll last week, selecting Glimpses By Lewis Shiner Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki as my own audiobook of the year. I have the rest of my picks pretty much locked and loaded, though I hope to polish the post up a bit before hitting “publish” early next week.

I do want to note a potential issue here: as Audible.com is both a publisher (under multiple imprints) and a sister company to another audiobook publisher (Brilliance Audio, as both are subsidiaries of Amazon.com) I feel the journalistic need to point out that several of the Editors’ Pick titles are published by Audible, including Fantasy #3 Succubus Revealed: Georgina Kincaid, Book 6 and #5 Monster Hunter International, Fiction #3 1Q84 and #4 Macbeth: A Novel, and Science Fiction #1 Solaris, #3 Fuzzy Nation, and #4 WWW: Wonder, along with 4 out of the 5 selections for Best Zombies. Brilliance Audio titles include Science Fiction #2 Reamde and Fantasy #1 The Wise Man’s Fear. Together, that’s 4/5 in Zombies and Science Fiction, and 3/5 in Fantasy, including the top spot in all 3 categories, along with 2/5 in Fiction.

This is not meant to disparage these books — I’ve heard specific and wonderful praise about Oliver Wyman’s narration on Monster Hunter International, thoroughly enjoyed The Wise Man’s Fear, 1Q84, and Readme myself, and I know I’m not the only one who enjoyed Wil Wheaton’s narration on Fuzzy Nation. It’s simply something to watch.

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