Last night in New York (as part of Book Expo America (BEA)), the Audio Publishers Association (APA) held their annual award ceremony – also known as the Audies – These awards recognize the achievement in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment. In previous years, I was able to freely stalk twitter during the event (thanks Xe Sands and others who provided running commentary) and while the event this year was live-streamed for those of us unable to attend, I was unable to watch. However, I do have some thoughts on who the various winners were (and a bit of a rant as well).
Audiobook of the Year: This is the biggie award, equivalent to the Best Picture at the Oscars. When I initially saw the nominations (that were released in April), I was unsure of which book I thought I would win, however, based on previous years, I figured Amy Poehler’s, Yes Please would be a heavy favorite to win. Personally, I’m not a fan of self-narrated audiobooks or comedian autobiographies, so I figured I was setting myself up for disappointment by hoping that another book won. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Mandela: An Audio History – narrated by Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela declared to be the winner. Of all the books in the category, I figured that was the complete underdog to win and likely wouldn’t have picked it in a million years.
Erotica: Over the last few months, I listened to the majority of the books in this category – the only one that remains unfinished had the same two narrators as another book in the category – so I figured I had a good idea of how that one would play out and while the category in general was disappointing to me, I had picked Alpha (Jasinda Wilder) to win. It was not only the closest representative to the erotica genre in the category, but had the best narration – it was heads and shoulders above. While my review isn’t yet written – it should be up in the next week or so and I’m looking forward to listening to the next book(s) in the series.
Paranormal: I knew that this was going to be a tough category going in – after listening to (once again) all but one book in the nominations – the separation between the different books for narration/performance and writing was miniscule. Honestly, I can say that I would have been happy with any of the winners because it was an exceptionally strong category. But I will admit that I was a bit upset that my favorite narrator who had multiple nominations in the category didn’t win. While I really liked the winning book (The Girl with all the Gifts) and wasn’t surprised to see it win, I would have loved to have seen Damoren (Seth Skorkowsky; narrated by R.C. Bray) win – it was my favorite in the category (and audible even named it as a book to watch on one of their posts in the lead-up).
Romance: This is where I rant – just so you are forewarned. In previous years, I have listened to and loved the romance category of the Audies – even last year when Nicholas Sparks was nominated for and won the romance audio of the year – admittedly, it was closer to a romance than any of his other books, but still not one by the industry definition of the word. But this year – in a multi-billion dollar a year industry (yes, romance brings in that much), that there were only FIVE nominations in the category (where others had 6) and that TWO of the nominations weren’t even romance by the industry standard (which is defined as a Happily Ever After/Happy For Now). Within the 5 nominations, there were only 3 true romance audiobooks and none of them won. The winner was (no drumroll) The Bridges of Madison County – now, I’ll readily admit, I haven’t read the book, but I saw the absolutely horrible movie that was made of it a while back – but any book that has a basic premise of cheating and having an affair center stage will NEVER be a romance. It may be literary fiction with some romantic elements, but it is NOT a romance. I just cringed when I not only saw the nominees, but which book was the ultimate winner. I have no idea how/if nominations for categories are even vetted for appropriateness – based on not only this one, but the erotica category, I have to believe that they are not.
I’m still looking at the various other category winners – so there may be an addendum to this post later on – you never know…