Listen Up: It’s Audiobook Month!

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, 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.



5 thoughts on “Listen Up: It’s Audiobook Month!”

  1. Am anxiously awaiting “Spring Fever” – I tend to read MKA books as soon as they come out! Would love to have some or all the books on audio to listen to when I travel to northern Michigan. Keep up the great work Mary Kay!

  2. I enjoyed this post and remember many 1970’s road trips to the beach in Mama’s olive green, wood-paneled Chevrolet station wagon. My brother and I would lounge in the back of that enormous vehicle playing board games, coloring, bickering and listening to books on tape.
    Today, my sons and I still enjoy audiobooks on road trips to the beach, particularly those with British narrators such as the Harry Potter series (beautifully performed with all the voices by Jim Dale) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (read by Monty Python alum Eric Idle). When the boys were younger we loved A.A. Milne’s original (non-Disneyfied) Winnie-the-Pooh stories read by Peter Dennis.
    My favorite audiobooks (when the boys are not in the van) are Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones novels. These hysterically funny books are SO much better than the movies and narrator Tracie Bennett does an excellent job of capturing Bridget’s bumbling charm and wit. You may be driving alone, but you feel as if your best girlfriend is in the seat next to you, making you laugh out loud.

  3. I love Barbara Rosenblatt’s narration, especially the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. It’s amazing how much a good narrator adds and how horrible a bad one can be. I too am addicted but my local library has cut back on it’s titles so must mine a new source. Looking forward to Spring Fever!

  4. I love Kathleen McInerney reading your Books!! That is how I first discovered you–borrowing an audio book for my commute from a selection in the parking garage of my office! You two made me actually look forward to my commute and those frustrating traffic jams a happy time! Thanks. I am sorry but I don’t know the names of the readers but i do enjoy the men who read the Michael Connolly and James Patterson novels. I think Kathleen McInerney is my favorite female reader.
    Thank you so much for your books!!

  5. I got hooked on audiobooks about two years ago, mostly renting from our local library. One day I picked up a fun little book called “Hissy Fit” and that was it – I am a fan. I have continued to check out your books from the library and look forward to listening to them all.

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