Header image showing a row of pineapples for Producer Picks Long Weekend Edition Post
8 Must-Listen Recommendations from Audiobook Producers

Looking for fail-safe audiobook recommendations? Here in audioland, there’s one group of people we trust to always know their stuff: our team of producers. Twenty strong in all, they bring over 1,800 Penguin Random House audiobooks to life every year: casting narrators, coaching authors, arranging immersive full-cast productions and making sure every sound is pitch-perfect. They also have a tendency to rack up Audie Awards, Apple Must Listens, Audible Editors Select picks, and GRAMMY® wins. So when our producers make recommendations, we listen. It’s like a Michelin-starred chef recommending the hand dived scallops. You get those scallops, yes you do, even if this whole fancy restaurant scenario is only in your mind.

In this first edition of our Producer Picks series, meet eight members of our team and discover the listens they can’t stop talking about—just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. Plus, stay tuned to our channels; we’re serving up more fresh-from-the-studio recommendations on the regular.


Kelly Gildea Headshot

Kelly Gildea on Northern Spy:

“I could not put this book down! I was reading it “against the rules” on a family holiday, where I promised to avoid all work, but it was worth the cheat (and the scolding)! It’s this beautifully complex blend of poignant character study and thrilling mystery, with a huge political scope. Our narrator, Katharine Lee McEwan, told me that she grew up during The Troubles and that this story was very close to her heart.”

Listen to a clip from Northern Spy:


Amber Beard Headshot

Amber Beard on What Comes After:

“This poignant story centers around two parents who have experienced the heartbreaking loss of each of their sons in a tragic incident, and a pregnant and abandoned teenage girl who threads them together and gives them, and herself, some comfort and hope. It’s beautifully written and told from their three alternating perspectives, wonderfully narrated by Mark Deakins, Kirby Heyborne, and Kristin DiMercurio, who the author fell in love with immediately!”


Listen to a clip from What Comes After:


Molly Lo Re Headshot

Molly Lo Re on My Broken Language:

“Melodic and earnest, funny and frank, Quiara Alegria Hudes’ narration of her memoir My Broken Language is dazzling. She even brought family photos to the studio to inspire her as she recorded!”



Listen to a clip from My Broken Language:


Brian Ramcharan Headshot

Brian Ramcharan on Malice:

Malice, Heather Walter’s debut novel, is a bewitching spin on the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Heather does a fantastic job weaving together a journey of fantasy, mystery, suspense and action. Ann Marie Gideon really brought this story to life, masterfully encapsulating every element of this novel with her flawless narration.”


Listen to a clip from Malice:


Karen Dziekonski Headshot

Karen Dziekonski on You Are Your Best Thing:

“It was an honor to produce the audio edition of You Are Your Best Thing, and to work with many of the contributors on the recordings of their important essays. The recordings took place all over the United States (plus one in New Zealand!), and the end result is a powerful chorus of voices sharing personal experiences that resonate with listeners. Brené Brown and Tarana Burke were able to record their conversation of their Introduction together, and the awesome energy between them sets us off on a moving and inspiring listening experience.”

Listen to a clip from You Are Your Best Thing:


Julie Wilson Headshot

Julie Wilson on Broken Horses:

“I have been a Brandi Carlile fan for years, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring her story to life on audio. Her memoir beautifully intertwines family, song writing, love, sexuality, and faith. As an added cherry on top, she was able to record 31 songs for the audiobook that were either written by her or by musicians who influenced her the most. These songs are placed throughout the recording to accentuate certain moments in her life.”

Listen to a clip from Broken Horses:


Sarah Jaffe Headshot

Sarah Jaffe on Peaces:

“Helen Oyeyemi’s sly, twisty dream worlds are always a treat to slip into, but especially so in this pandemic year. In Peaces, a pair of lovers embarks on a mysterious train voyage that will take them deeper into their pasts and what it really means to be seen by others than they ever expected. Helen and I assembled a fantastic cast – I could listen to Ben Allen’s pitch-perfect, South London-inflected narration all day!”

Listen to a clip from Peaces:


Aaron Blank Headshot

Aaron Blank on Heart of Fire:

Heart of Fire is the story of a true pioneer who overcame great obstacles to be the first Asian American woman and only immigrant serving in the senate.”




Listen to a clip from Heart of Fire:

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