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I absolutely love audiobooks and re-discovered them relatively recently during the first phase of the pandemic. I was too frightened to fly but I so missed my elder daughter, Anya, who started college in the doomed fall of 2020, that I drove 16 hours from Champaign, IL (each way!) with our dog to visit her in Fort Collins, CO. I do not like long drives. But a long drive with an audiobook isn’t so very bad. I listened to Moby Dick (took more than both ways)—as you know from Rare Stuff I love whales. And I listened to a self-help book, The Courage to be a Stepmom, which helped me understand much better some of the problems in our step-family. We are currently not blended—although we used to be. I also deeply love the audio book of Aminatta Forna’s The Memory of Love. I gave a talk about my novels and a colleague, Carol Spindel, suggested I read Forna’s novel because like Rare Stuff, it has different narrators and perspectives—I ended up getting the audio book and the narrator, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith has a mesmerizing voice! His voice and Forna’s beautiful words draw you in completely to the narrative of love and betrayal against the backdrop of revolution and unseen political transformations that nonetheless impact all the characters.

But my favorite all time audiobook is Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Clarke, is, of course, a genius of a writer so that helps enormously. But the narration by Simon Prebble is simply flawless. He manages to do, I think, all the voices with slightly different inflections—Strange & Norrell has a zillion colorful, magical characters but one never got confused as to who was who because Prebble so very deftly shifted so that you always knew what was going on and who was who. It’s a truly wonderful audiobook.

As Rare Stuff is about to come out I began thinking about an audiobook….tune in next time for a little taste of the book and more about how to make one! All best, Brett

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