A friend told me, when my wife and I declared that we were expecting, that it’s time to accept that I’m not going to be reading a lot of books or watching a lot of TV on loud any more.
He recommended subtitles, telling me that he’s watched almost all the movies and TV in the past few months on mute or low volume.
What I’ve discovered, instead, is that I’m now suddenly a fan of audiobooks. I couldn’t bring myself to hear them earlier. But now, they’re a godsend.
What’s important, I feel, is that I’m getting the right ones to listen to.
I started with My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh, read by Julia Whelan, on Audible. I’ve still not finished it, because I’m really savoring it. But also, because I’ve discovered that I can get a lot of interesting titles from the Seattle Public Library through the Libby app.
I’ve heard Figuring by Maria Popova on Libby. Through it, I discovered a plethora of things to read. The book ends with the life story of Rachel Carson and it was fresh enough (Figuring is a massive book, worth going back to over and over for ideas and a reading list) that I decided to listen to Silent Spring by Rachel Carson on Libby. Sadly, it didn’t hold my attention. I also tried Rachel Carson’s Under the Sea Wind, but it too didn’t keep me.
So, I moved on, bouncing from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer to All the Sad Young Men by Keith Gessen. Neither was an ear worm (to me).
Finally, I’ve landed on Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green. I’m on track to finish this one. The book is interesting, the narrator is just enough crazy, and the writing is arguably tight.
I’ve noticed that I like listening to stories of and by women who take control of their lives and lead it the way they want to. The protagonists of Turtles… and My Year… are both knocked down by their fate, and suffering through it, but are able to get through them, their inner monologue aflame with the pitter patter of random and inane thoughts interspersed with deep longing and pain. The women highlighted in Figuring were all pioneers and thinkers and brilliant, and tortured but always pushing, against society, culture, and their own notions.
I thought a few years ago that I want to read more women authors and women-centric stories. I know I’m late, but this audiobook journey sure is shaping up to be just that.
What should I read next?