Meeting the Team and our Favourite Audiobooks
By Pauline Bird, Emily De Vogele and Cameron Phillips
We’ve recently had a new addition here in the audiobooks team! We wanted to introduce our newest member, Pauline.
“I’m Pauline, the newest member of the audiobooks team. I currently work as a primary school teacher but have always loved books and would love a career where I can focus more on these. A few years ago, I decided to embark on a master’s degree in Children’s Literature and Literacies. As a children’s literature enthusiast and mother to three little ones at various stages of their reading journeys, this was the perfect choice for me. I loved the course, and it shaped my understanding of different conceptualisations of literacies and the rich variety of story-telling modes. It sparked an interest in exploring book forms which were less familiar to me… including audiobooks.
As such, most of the audiobooks I’ve listened to are children’s books. I love to curl up with my youngest and listen to a book together. It adds a bit of a variety to our usual reading routines and, at the end of the day, it can be a lovely way to unwind together. Equally, listening to them can make for wildly interactive experiences. One of our favourites recently has been Who’s in your Audio Book? written and narrated by Tom Fletcher. A collection of short stories, each with their own protagonist, ranging from alien to witch, the reader is encouraged to actively participate in the story. My daughter loved this fun element, as did I. We are both big fans of postmodern children’s books and this felt like an audiobook version of this style.
Through working on the audiobooks team, I hope to explore and share more audiobooks for children and potentially expand my knowledge to include audiobooks for adults too.”
“I’m Emily, and I’ve been here since the inception of the audiobooks team, but I wanted to reintroduce myself and share one of my recent favourite audiobooks from this past year. Being part of this team for almost a year has allowed me to find new favourites and fall in love with audiobooks again, something I’m forever grateful for.
My favourite genre is, without a doubt, historical fiction, so it’s no surprise that my favourite audiobook from this past year falls into that genre. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee has been on my mind since I finished it last year. It’s packed with emotion, drama and character, and the narrator manages to bring this all across incredibly well.
We follow one family’s journey through time, starting in Yeongdo, Korea in 1911. Instantly, from the first introduction, you can feel the characters coming alive off of the page. It’s better for you to go into this book with limited knowledge of the characters, because experiencing their lives with them is the greatest joy of this novel.
I haven’t been heartbroken, or captivated, by a book like this in a very long time. Lee has an extraordinary ability as an author to grab you by the shoulders and pull you into this world, refusing to let you go even for a second. The narrator, Allison Hiroto, does a wonderful job of getting this story across to you, providing a companion with her warm retelling of this novel.
As someone who is part Japanese, a part of my heritage I’m working on reconnecting with, this was one of the first books set in Asia that I read last year. It introduced me to a world of incredible culture and legends, with some of the best authors I’ve ever read. If you’re looking for something to take you on a journey, Pachinko is the book for you.”
“My name is Cameron and I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the team, alongside Emily, since its inception. I've been very lucky to have written about some fantastic work and the people who’ve authored and performed them. As a big fan of SFF (science fiction and fantasy) and historical literature, escapism is something I crave when I read/listen to books, especially in our current setting, and I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons within those genres and to other genres as well, primarily with finding some excellent recordings of some HP Lovecraft titles. Lovecraft’s utterly unique and abstract horror is something of extreme interest to me as a reader and listener, and I am hoping to be simultaneously blown away by, and terrified of, his cosmic Legendarium being read aloud.”