The long Memorial Day weekend kicks off the month of June. And you know what that means! It’s National Drive Safe Month, National Fresh Fruits and Veggies Month, National Tennis Month, National Iced Tea Month, and yes, the long-awaited National Potty Training Awareness Month. Wonder if there’s a greeting card for that? But most importantly, June is Audiobooks Month!
My long love affair with audiobooks started when our two children were young and we were facing a long car trip from Atlanta to St. Pete, Florida for a week at the beach. My husband had, to my secret relief, already banned listening to even another minute of the kids’ favorite Raffi tunes, including the still maligned “Apples and Bananas.”
In my search for another diversion, I discovered the shelf of audibooks at our public library—back then they were cassette tapes. I selected a classic I’d never actually read myself, Robert Louis Stephenson’s Treasure Island, reasoning that since we were headed to the beach, the tale of a boy being shanghaied into service on a pirate ship would appeal to all of us—especially our then six-year-old son Andrew. By happy accident, it turned out that the version I checked out was the unabridged BBC production, with a marvelous narrator who kept us all enthralled for the entire 16-hour round trip down Interstate 75.
Based on that success, on the next car trip we listened to another unabridged classic, Jack London’s Call of the Wild. After that, nearly every visit to St. Pete or Savannah, our two most frequent destinations, was done to the accompaniment of an audiobook. After the classics, we branched out to mysteries and thrillers. I still have fond memories of all of us laughing at the antics of the inept crooks in Donald Westlake’s Bank Shot. And Andrew, all these years later, still does a keen imitation of a kidnapped child portrayed in one of Dick Francis’s mysteries. We listened to a lot of Dick Francis, back in the day, mostly because his stories were reliably free of alarming amounts of gratuitious sex—although not violence—our blood-thirsty son was never fazed by the frequent beatings endured by Francis’s hapless protagonists.
These days, the kids are no longer trapped in our back seat. So I pick and choose audios based on our own interests. Thrillers, if my husband is along, and all kinds of books if I’m travelling solo. I used to rely mostly on the audios sent me by my generous publishers, or on the narrow range of bestsellers carried at Cracker Barrel. But recently I discovered Audible.com, and now my choices are all over the map. I love to download books to my iPhone and listen on my earbuds, either in the car on long trips, or just on my daily two-mile walks. Non-fiction? I loved listening to Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. Thriller? Robert Crais’s Taken made me quicken my pace on long walks around my neighborhood. Regency Romance? I adore Eloisa James and Lisa Kleypas’s novels.
I always enjoy hearing from fans that they enjoy the audiobooks of my novels. This summer, they’re in for a real treat. We have a new narrator, Kathleen McInerney, who I think brings wonderful energy and imagination to my new novel Spring Fever.
Knowing I’ll be clocking a lot of miles while on book tour for SPRING FEVER this summer, I’ve already downloaded my next few reads. As a longtime Carole King fan, I can’t wait to listen to her narrating her own memoir, A Natural Woman. And my pal Lisa Scottoline has a brand new thriller out too—Come Home, that I know will make the miles pass like a blur. And if my husband happens to join me on one of those trips, I’ll even share Michael Palmer’s Oath of Office, if he’ll let me stop at the outlet mall!
How about you? Do you have a favorite audiobook, or narrator, or audiobook experience? Leave me a comment by midnight, Friday, June 8th, and to celebrate this glorious occasion we’ll pick some random winners to receive an assortment of great audiobooks by some of my favorite authors.