According to my 2011 end-year statistics, 40% of the books I’ve read are audiobooks, but I only remember reviewing them as such twice. This happens because I haven’t figured out the best way to do it. Saying things like “She has good diction” or “Hearing his sharp intakes of breath really distracted me from the story” sounds too personal, like commenting on a person’s hairstyle. Would love some advice from experienced audiobook reviewers. Is there a “Reviewing Audiobooks for Dummies” post somewhere?

Yesterday I discovered an event that looks perfect to get me out of the closet as a huge audiobook fan: The Armchair Audies. It’s organized by Jennifer (The Literate Housewife) and Bob (The Guilded Earlobe) and invites bloggers to celebrate the Audies, the audiobook industry’s Awards. The nomination list is daunting, comprising 28 categories, each with 5 nominates, so Jennifer and Bob suggest that participants chose one or more categories and just listen to all the books in it.

The winners will be announced in June and Armchair Audies participants should be able to publish their closing post (maybe with some predictions?) shortly before. Jennifer is reviewing Literary Fiction and Bob will ambitiously tackle three categories: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal.

I’ll go for History. Although all the books in this category sound interesting, and some were already under my radar, the topics seems a bit limited: two about WW2 events, three on American History (or from an American perspective) and two of these about the 19th century. Only one written by a woman and only that one narrated by one. Four written by American writers, but even Mukherjee, although Indian, lives and works in NY. As a reader I’d prefer more variety.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Tantor Media)

Read by Stephen Hoye

Already had it in the TBL, so I’m happy it’s nominated. It’s a history of cancer, from the first documented cases thousands of years ago to the 20th century attempts at better understand it and finding a cure. Heard great things about it.x

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1812: The Navy’s War
by George C. Daughan (Audible, Inc.)

Read by Marc Vietor

It’s about the American Navy but it’ll still be a nice compliment to my recently Navy interest, brought about by the Aubrey/Maturin series. The blurb says it “is the first complete account in more than a century of how the U.S. Navy rescued the fledgling nation and secured America’s future.

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Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
Hannah Arendt (Tantor Media)

Read by Wanda McCaddon

This is the one I’m more curious about, but Audible doesn’t let me buy it because of my Belgian credit card! Hopefully, the copy-right issue is solved before June. Arendt (a Jew who fled Germany during Adolf Hitler’s rise to power), reported on Eichmann’s trial for The New Yorker. While covering the technical aspects of the trial, she also explored the nature of justice, the behavior of the Jewish leadership during the Nazi Regime, and, most controversially, the nature of Evil itself.
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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin
by Erik Larson (Random House Audio)

Read by Stephen Hoye

Really liked The Devil in the White City, so this one was already on the wish-list. It’s the story of William E. Dodd, America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany, and his attempts to report to the outside world the rising horrors happening there.

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1861: The Civil War Awakening
by Adam Goodheart (Audible, Inc./ Brilliance Audio)

Read by Jonathan Davis

Most books about the Civil War are about the fighting years, so this account of the years that led up to it should be interesting.

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