Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2010 Halo Awards

Audiobook Reviews from Audiobook-Heaven
The 2010 Halo Awards

With 2010 behind us, and 2011 already clipping along at a good pace, it’s time to present the 2010 Halo Awards. I listened to a lot of audiobooks in 2010, just over 100 in fact, and this is where I take a moment to recognize some of my favorites. Please note, the award winners below were not necessarily written in 2010, but I did read them in 2010.

1. Best Science Fiction Audiobook
The best sci-fi audiobook I listened to last year was “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card. This was an easy decision because although I listened to a lot of science fiction, this was the only one I listened to twice. The full cast audio recording featured some excellent narrators, and that made this audiobook something special.
Read my audiobook review for Ender’s Game here.

2. Best Post-Apocolyptic Audiobook
Another of my favorite genres to read is post-apocolyptic fiction. You know, books about life after a societal breakdown of some kind: nuclear holocaust, plague, economic collapse, etcetera. I read several books of this type in 2010, and it was a hard decision, but I have to give the Halo Award to “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy’s descriptions of life after nuclear war were vivid and chilling, and well worthy of the Halo. Tom Stechschuld’s soulful reading pushed this great story over the top. Justin Cronin’s “The Passage” was a close runner-up in this category.
Read my audiobook review for The Road here.

3. Best Short Story in an Audio Recording
I didn’t read a lot of short stories in 2010, so there wasn’t a whole lot to choose from, but I think the winner would have been “The Things They Left Behind” by Stephen King no matter what. This haunting tale of a September 11 survivor is one of King’s finest short stories. It was published in his collection titled “Just After Sunset.”
Read my audiobook review for The Things They Left Behind here.

4. Best Young Adult or Juvenile Audiobook
Yeah, I read a lot of kids’ books, and I’m not ashamed to say so because there is really some excellent fiction being written for younger audiences. The best one I read in 2010 was “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. This story-arc covered three audiobooks, and once I finished the first one, I was absolutely mad to get the next one and read it right away.
Read my audiobook review for The Hunger Games here.

5. Best Audiobook Based On A Simpson’s Episode
“Under the Dome” by Stephen King: the story of a small town in Maine that suddenly finds itself trapped inside an invisible and impenetrable dome. If that sounds a little familiar, it’s because that was also the plot of The Simpson’s Movie, which hit theaters in 2007, just two years before the publication of “Under the Dome.” Stephen King claims he came up with the idea back in the 70’s, but I’m not so sure. Stephen King and Simpson’s writer Matt Groening are both members of the rock band The Rock Bottom Remainders. I smell a collaboration!
Read my audiobook review for Under The Dome here.

6. Best Literary Audiobook
The literary genre is hard to define, but, simply put, they are books that cover “serious” subject matter. These are books that really make you stop and think, or possibly even re-evaluate yourself, or the world around you. My favorite audiobook in this genre from 2010 was “The Hour I First Believed” by Wally Lamb. This audiobook centers on a survivor of the tragedy at Columbine High School, and it definitely made me stop and think. It also brought tears to my eyes, and made me laugh out loud at times. And it didn’t hurt that this audiobook was narrated by George Guidall, in-arguably one of the finest narrators in the industry. Pat Conroy’s “The Prince of Tides” was a close runner-up in this category.
Read my audiobook review for The Hour I First Believed here.

7. Best Period Audiobook
Period pieces are those that accurately and vividly describe daily life in a particular period of history. This genre would include books such as “The Great Gatsby” and “To Kill A Mockingbird”, just to name a couple. The best period piece I read in 2010 was “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. Not only is this a meaningful and touching novel, it also gives an interesting look at life in depression-era America. This audiobook was beautifully narrated by Mark Hammer; his voice for poor, confused Lenny was absolutely perfect.
Read my audiobook review for Of Mice And Men here.

8. Best Audiobook/Film Pair:
Sometimes bad novels are made into pretty good films, like Tom Clancy’s “Patriot Games”, and sometimes good novels are made into lousy films, like Stephen King’s “The Mist.” And then there are those times when a good novel is made into an equally good film. The best audiobook/film pair I listened to in 2010 was “The Rainmaker” by John Grisham. I don’t know whether to give the Halo Award to the audiobook or the film, so I guess I’ll just have to give one to both.
Read my audiobook review for The Rainmaker here.

9. Best Narrator
I listened to a lot of audiobooks in 2010, and thus heard a lot of different narrators, but there is one clear choice for the very first Halo Award for Best Narrator: Jim Dale. Most of us know Dale as the voice of the Harry Potter books, and those definitely represent his best work, but he’s done a lot more than just Harry Potter. Jim Dale can bring an audiobook to life like no one else I’ve heard.
Read some audiobook reviews of Jim Dale works here.

10. Best Audiobook
And finally, the Halo Award for Best Audiobook of 2010, as selected from the category winners above, is (drum roll please) “The Hour I First Believed” by Wally Lamb, narrated by George Guidall. Yeah, that book really moved me in a way that no other audiobook did during the year. I highly recommend it.

So those are the winners of the First Annual Halo Awards. Winners can stop by my house anytime to pick up their awards. Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite reads of 2010 were.