The AudioBookaneers 2012 Year in Review, Part 1: Our Favorite Listens

Well, like everybody else, we’re taking a look back at 2012. It was the biggest year ever in terms of audiobook releases: Audible Frontiers published 750 audiobooks this year alone, not to mention the output from the other major and independent publishers and the influx of ACX titles this year. Did we listen to everything? Oh no. (More on that in the second part of this series. Much more.) Did the audiobook publishers get to every deserving book? Not quite. (More on that in the third part of the series.) But first!

PART I: We did listen to a pretty good stack of audiobooks this year, and there was a long list of excellent choices to consider for our best of the year. Last year, I picked an audiobook of a previously published book, Lewis Shiner’s Glimpses, as my favorite audiobook published in 2011, and gave 3 runners up in overall, 3 in narration, and 3 in story. This year, having listened to so many more current-year audiobooks, and with Dave aboard, we’re trying a slightly different approach to categories and such. Well, you’ll see. Without further adieu:

BEST NEW AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay | [Michael Chabon]

Sam: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, read by David Colacci for Brilliance Audio — Finally unabridged, adding more than 17 hours to the 9-hour abridged version published in 2005, a wonderful, wonderful book read beautifully by Colacci. [review]

Dave: I’m totally with Sam on this one. Kavalier and Clay is my favorite listen of 2012, and one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever heard. [review]

BEST AUDIOBOOK OF A NEW BOOK: [Book and audiobook both first published in 2012:]

The Drowning Girl | [Caitlin R. Kiernan]

Sam: The Drowning Girl, by Caitlín R. Kiernan, read by Suzy Jackson for Neil Gaiman Presents. Reviewed in Sam’s August Listening Report as: “As of finally writing this review in mid October, my pick for the year’s best new speculative fiction novel of 2012. The Drowning Girl explores the edges between ghosts, art, and insanity, through the narrative device of a young schizophrenic woman’s typewritten letters to herself. Jackson’s narration suited me just fine, particularly her characterizations of Imp and even more so of her lover, Abalyn.” And now as 2012 has come to a close, it’s become quite easy for me to comfortably say that The Drowning Girl is the best new novel of 2012, and was my favorite audiobook of a new book as well.

Dave: The Troupe, by Robert Jackson Bennett, read by Luis Moreno for Recorded Books. Reviewed in full by Dave less than two weeks ago as: “[T]he best new novel I’ve listened to this year – let’s get that out of the way from the start. … The Troupe is one of those books that I didn’t want to end, was genuinely sad when it was over, and am very much looking forward to listening to again. It called to mind Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, along with Ray Bradbury, and a dash of Stephen King.”

The Troupe | [Robert Jackson Bennett]

RUNNERS UP, BEST AUDIOBOOK OF A NEW BOOK:

2312 | [Kim Stanley Robinson] Alif the Unseen | [G. Willow Wilson] How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick’s Robotic Resurrection | [David F. Dufty]

Sam: 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, read by Sarah Zimmerman for Hachette Audio [review]; Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson, read by Sanjiv Jhaveri for Brilliance Audio [review]; and How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick’s Robotic Resurrection by David F. Dufty, read by Bronson Pinchot for Blackstone Audio [review]. Honorable mentions: Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer, read by Joshilyn Jackson for Macmillan Audio [review]; The Rook: A Novel by Daniel O’Malley, read by Susan Duerden for Hachette Audio [review]; and Fantastic Imaginings: A Journey through 3,500 Years of Imaginative Writing, Comprising Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction edited by Stefan Rudnicki, read by a full cast for Blackstone Audio. Further mentions, science fiction: No Going Back: Jon & Lobo, Book 5 by Mark L. Van Name, read by Tom Stechschulte for Audible Frontiers [review]; The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, read by Peter Perkrot for Brilliance Audio; The Long Earth: A Novel by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, read by Michael Fenton-Stevens for Harper Audio; Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi, read by Wil Wheaton for Audible Frontiers [review]; Arctic Rising By Tobias S. Buckell, Narrated by Carolyn Michelle Smith for Audible Frontiers; Chimera: The Subterrene War, Book 3 By T. C. McCarthy, Narrated by John Pruden for Blackstone Audio; and Stellarnet Rebel By J.L. Hilton, Narrated by Gayle Hendrix for Carina Press. Further mentions, fantasy: Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman, read by Steve West for Blackstone Audio; Red Country by Joe Abercrombie, read by Steven Pacey for Hachette Audio; Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, read by Phil Gigante for Brilliance Audio [review]; Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone, read by Claudia Alick for Blackstone Audio; The White Forest by Adam McOmber, read by Susan Duerden for Brilliance Audio;  Legion by Brandon Sanderson, read by Oliver Wyman for Audible Frontiers; and Clockwork Angels: The Novel by Kevin J. Anderson, read wonderfully by Neil Peart for Brilliance Audio. Further mentions, fiction: The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu, read by Xe Sands for Iambik Audio. Further mentions, non-fiction: Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson, read by Robertson Dean for Tantor Audio; and Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson, read by Jeff Cummings for Harper Audio [review]. Further mentions, other: V Wars: A Chronicle of the Vampire Wars edited by Jonathan Maberry, read by a full cast for Blackstone Audio.

Dave: Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle, read by a full cast for Harper Audio [review]; Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi, read by Wil Wheaton for Audible Frontiers [review]; and The Rook: A Novel by Daniel O’Malley, read by Susan Duerden for Hachette Audio [review].

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury | [Sam Weller (Editor), Mort Castle (Editor)] Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas | [John Scalzi] The Rook: A Novel | [Daniel O'Malley]

RUNNERS UP, BEST NEW AUDIOBOOK OF A PREVIOUSLY RELEASED BOOK: [Book first published prior to 2012, audiobook first published in 2012:]

Last Dragon | [J. M. McDermott] Osama | [Lavie Tidhar] The Testament of Jessie Lamb: A Novel | [Jane Rogers]

Sam: Last Dragon by J.M. McDermott, read by Cori Samuel for Iambik Audio [review]; Osama by Lavie Tidhar, read by Jeff Harding for Audible Ltd [review]; and The Testament of Jessie Lamb: A Novel by Jane Rogers, read by Fiona Hardingham for Blackstone Audio. Honorable mention: Children No More: Jon & Lobo, Book 4 by Mark L. Van Name, read by Tom Stechschulte for Audible Frontiers [review]; Theft of Swords: Riyria Revelations, Book 1 By Michael J. Sullivan, Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds for Recorded Books [review]; Vampire Empire – The Greyfriar By Clay and Susan Griffith (2010), Narrated by James Marsters for Buzzy Multimedia [review]; Building Harlequin’s Moon by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper, read by Tom Weiner for Blackstone Audio; and A Book of Tongues: Hexslinger, Book 1 By Gemma Files, Narrated by Gordon Mackenzie for Iambik Audio [review].

Dave: Viriconium By M. John Harrison, Narrated By Simon Vance for Neil Gaiman Presents [review] (I know this technically came out in mid-December of 2011, but I DON’T CARE!!!); Nine Princes in Amber: The Chronicles of Amber, Book 1 By Roger Zelazny, Narrated By Alessandro Juliani for Audible Frontiers; Fevre Dream By George R. R. Martin, Narrated By Ron Donachie for Random House Audio [review]; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz By L. Frank Baum, Narrated By Anne Hathaway for Audible; and Dracula [Audible Edition] By Bram Stoker, Narrated By Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley, Simon Prebble, and James Adams for Audible. Honorable mention: Osama by Lavie Tidhar, read by Jeff Harding for Audible Ltd [review].

Viriconium | [M. John Harrison] Nine Princes in Amber: The Chronicles of Amber, Book 1 | [Roger Zelazny] The Wonderful Wizard of Oz | [L. Frank Baum]

BEST AUDIOBOOK OF A NEW BOOK, YOUNG ADULT:

Dave: Dodger by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs for Harper Audio [review]. Runners up: Black Heart: The Curse Workers, Book 3 by Holly Black, read by Jesse Eisenberg; Welcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner, read by a full cast for Brilliance Audio [review]; and A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix, read by Michael Goldstrom for Listening Library.

Sam: Railsea by China Mieville, read by Jonathan Cowley for Random House Audio [review].

http://www.harpercollins.com/harperimages/isbn/large/9/9780062201959.jpg Welcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands | [Holly Black (editor), Ellen Kushner (editor)] 

FAVORITE LISTENS FROM “NEW TO US” AUDIOBOOKS:

Vellum: The Book of All Hours | [Hal Duncan] Among Others | [Jo Walton] The Lies of Locke Lamora | [Scott Lynch]

Sam: Vellum: The Book of All Hours by Hal Duncan; Among Others by Jo Walton; The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, read by Michael Page for Tantor Audio; On Stranger Tides and The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers; A Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski; Light by M. John Harrison; Little, Big: or, The Fairies’ Parliament by John Crowley; The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, read by Gaiman for Harper Children’s Audio; and Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Of these, The Stress of Her Regard, Vellum, Among Others, Light, and Little, Big were all from 2011 and I would have been hard-pressed to omit them in my year’s best list.

Dave: Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory, read by David Marantz; Dreadnought by Cherie Priest, read by Kate Reading; Among Others by Jo Walton, read by Katherine Kellgren; Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, read by Justine Eyre; and The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett, read by Richard Poe.

Raising Stony Mayhall | [Daryl Gregory] Dreadnought | [Cherie Priest] Zoo City | [Lauren Beukes]

Well! That’s what we loved out of what we listened to. Before you complain too much about your missing favorite, tune into part 2, in which we bemoan the long list of good-looking audiobooks we didn’t find time for in 2012.

APPENDIX: For mostly my own interest, my (Sam’s) list of other audiobooks listened to in 2012, in chronological order:

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12 Responses to The AudioBookaneers 2012 Year in Review, Part 1: Our Favorite Listens

  1. Pingback: Audiobook Review: The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett « The Guilded Earlobe

  2. Pingback: Best of 2012 Collection « Robert Jackson Bennett

  3. Pingback: The AudioBookaneers 2012 Year in Review, Part 2: Books We Missed | The AudioBookaneers

  4. Thank you for the nod! Very glad that you enjoyed THE SILENCE OF TREES. It’s a truly gorgeous bit of writing and a haunting story, and remains one of my favorite projects to have worked on.

    • montsamu says:

      Thanks for the comment! In part two I lamented not getting to The Vanishers, which I’ll hopefully sneak into my 2013 listening.

      • Xe Sands says:

        Just saw this reply. Oh THE VANISHERS, now there’s a tricky one! If you do listen, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

  5. Pingback: Sam’s Listening Report: November 2012 | The AudioBookaneers

  6. Pingback: Sam’s Listening Report: December 2012 | The AudioBookaneers

  7. Pingback: Audiobook Week 2013 Day 1: Your Audiobook Year | The Guilded Earlobe

  8. Pingback: Want to Read More? Think About Audiobooks | BookLife

  9. Pingback: Running down the Lists: 2013 early edition; and! a contest! | The AudioBookaneers

  10. Pingback: At Long Last! The AudioBookaneers Favorite Audiobooks of 2013! | The AudioBookaneers

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