14 Must-Know Audiobooks: Our Staff Picks
At CNIB Beyond Print, we’re passionate about making literature accessible to everyone. We are proud to produce audiobooks for CELA and for publishers, ensuring that readers with print disabilities can enjoy Canadian books.
Our in-house studios have been the creative hub for producing high-quality accessible audiobooks for years, and we’re excited to share some of our staff’s favourite audiobook recommendations out of recent titles they have produced and reviewed.
These audiobooks are not only entertainment for your morning commute or for unwinding after a long day, but also showcase the power of accessible literature.
Ready to explore our top picks? Read on as we explore stories that inspire, educate, and captivate the imagination while promoting inclusivity and accessibility!
Jen Deyell – Associate Producer
Arthur Who Wrote Sherlock by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Isabelle Follath
This beautifully illustrated audiobook reveals the inspiration behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his meteoric rise to fame. A story on the power of writing and its ability to give us a sense of control.
Clara at the Door with a Revolver by Carolyn Whitzman
In this historical audiobook, Carolyn Whitzman delves into a shocking murder case from 1894, shedding light on issues of racism and misogyny, and showcasing the depth of storytelling in accessible audiobooks. Was Clara a deranged murderer, or was there something more at play? Dive into this riveting tale, a 2023 Toronto Book Award Finalist, and uncover the scandalous secrets of Toronto’s past.
Liz Walker – Reviewer
The Dishwasher by Stephane Larue
Step into the cinematic world of “The Dishwasher”. This fast-paced coming-of-age audiobook transports you to 2000s Montreal, where a troubled young man battles youth, aimlessness, and an expensive gambling habit. Follow him on his quest for redemption in the fiery chaos of a fine dining kitchen, where oversized personalities fling plates of pasta and burn the candle at both ends.
Watching You Without Me by Lynn Coady
Karen, our middle-aged protagonist, navigates family, grief, and intrigue in this gripping audiobook narrated by our very own, Nicole Nakoneshny. Karen, who once broke free from her family’s grasp, returns to bury her mother and arrange care for her sister with a mental disability. Karen meets a mysterious figure who becomes entwined in their lives. This tense novel asks: Is he a savior or harbinger of something sinister?
Nikki Harvey – Producer
Censorettes by Elizabeth Frank
Censorettes transports readers to a world reminiscent of cozy BBC war dramas, making it a must-listen experience that evokes the spirit of Bletchley Park on a tropical isle. The tale takes place in enchanting Bermuda, where international girls work as ‘censorettes’ during WWII, uncovering romantic intrigues, espionage, and murder.
As an added bonus, our own Nikki Harvey narrates this captivating novel herself.
David Stinson – Manager Audio Publishing
The Genome Rally by Arlene F. Marks
If you love science fiction, you will be glued to your seat! Arlene F. Marks’ series offers a compelling narrative, and James Denas, a longtime volunteer at CNIB Beyond Print, brings it to life. This series is the epitome of classic space opera! You’ll encounter an advanced human civilization grappling with familiar yet pressing issues, along with a treacherous alien species whose true nature is more than meets the eye. James’s exceptional character portrayal and narration make these books an absolute delight, perfect for your daily commute.
Orwell in Cuba by Fredrick Lavoie
Travel to Cuba through the pages of this audiobook and uncover story of why George Orwell’s iconic novel, “1984,” once banned, made a dramatic return to Cuban bookshelves. Canadian journalist, Lavoie, investigates the resurgence of Orwell’s masterpiece, delving into the human spirit under dictatorship and unearthing the mystery of who orchestrated its return. Narrated by Simon Curwen, this story provides unique insights into Cuba’s evolving landscape. This audiobook is one you won’t be able to put down, even into the late hours of the night!
Sean Roman – Producer
The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case by Jon S. Dellandrea
This non-fiction audiobook uncovers a dramatic tale of art fraud in Canada, set during The Group of Seven era. This investigative gem brings to light the early 1960’s art fraud trial that brought the black market of fakes and forgeries to public view and uncovers a thrilling blend of art detectives, sting operations, wild accusations, and a troubled artist at the scandal’s core.
Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse by Frederic Morin
A comprehensive cookbook by one of the most cherished restaurants in Canada, Joe Beef! Whether you’re cooking for a dinner party or preparing for the unexpected (like the apocalypse), this guide has you covered. Find straightforward recipes, from ‘Deer Beer Belly’ to essential skills like soap-making (for emergencies, not the table).
Matt Montour – Producer
The Way I See Things by Ashley and Brenda Tindall
Ashley Tindall’s life took a harrowing turn when a near-fatal motor vehicle accident left her in a coma, leading to an urgent airlift to Toronto SickKids Hospital. This gripping book chronicles Ashley’s courageous journey to recovery, as seen through both her and her mother’s eyes. Brace yourself for a deeply emotional and intensely dramatic narrative, produced by Matt Montour himself.
Mauled: Lessons from A Grizzly Bear Attack by Jeremy Evans
In August 2017, 32-year-old Jeremy Evans faced relentless assaults from a protective female grizzly bear during a hunting trip in Alberta. This audiobook is an intense, spine-tingling, first-person account that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Cam Drynan delivers a riveting narration that brings this gripping tale to life.
Jada Mendoza – Intern
What We Talk About When We Talk About Dumplings edited by John Lorinc
I had the privilege of assisting with pronunciation for this book, as some Asian language words can be tricky for those unfamiliar with them. Originally, I had planned to read this book in my leisure time, but it turned into my first tech credit, which was pretty cool! This book is fascinating read for anyone interested in delving into the rich tapestry of food culture and history that spans across various backgrounds and cultures. If you’re curious about diverse cuisines, this book is must-read.
Fictional Father by Joe Ollmann
This audiobook project was one of my very first, and I even had the pleasure of voicing a few minor characters, which was so fun! When reading the storyline during production, I found that the story shed light on the unsavoury truths about our relationships with those closest to us and how we can take them for granted. “Fictional Father” is an exploration of the human psyche and provides a glimpse into the creative process and the sacrifices it demands, both mentally and physically.
Blair Stainton – Producer
Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese
I discovered Ragged Company in 2010 when the audiobook was recorded in CNIB’s Toronto Recording Studio. Narrators Kathy Stinson and Alex MacDonald did a remarkable job of bringing the characters to life and immersing you in the world created by Richard Wagamese. I encourage you to visit Kathy Stinson’s blog to read about her personal experience of narrating this book with Alex. You will get a sense of their shared passion and commitment to this project, the outcome of which is pure audiobook “magic”.
Our team’s handpicked recommendations highlight the richness of accessible literature, from gripping mysteries to heartwarming memoirs. We invite you to explore these audiobooks that bring to life the power of storytelling, all while supporting our mission to increase accessibility for literature lovers everywhere.
If you’re interested in learning more about creating accessible audiobooks or increasing access of literature in alternate formats, contact us.