This post was very hard to write. Not because there wasn't enough to explore, instead, I didn't know where to begin. When it comes to audiobooks, the options, both the reality and the topic, are endless.
To close your eyes and conceive of those options conjures an image of a library planet, the kind both created for Doctor Who and The Cthulhu Mythos, run by a floating tentacled race of aliens with a giant eye where their head should be. Imagine it as a vast orb where every continent is a different branch, and its oceans are its archives. Picture a world that contains all the literature of not a single planet, but the whole universe in its breathtaking entirety.
Even if you had a map, where would you begin?
Okay, maybe Dave Nemo Weekends is exaggerating a bit, but we do it to put this daunting topic in perspective. The options are really big for a two-day conversation dedicated to National Audiobook Month.
Where in this library should we begin? We could start at the information desk by asking your favorite audiobooks, your favorite authors, or your favorite genres. Maybe some of them grace the shelves of our own Sleeper Cab Library, which is home to over 150 authors featured on RadioNemo. We could spend some time in the stacks of history by asking about your first audiobook, how your tastes have changed, or whether you read actual books more or less since you've started. Perhaps, we could move to the philosophy section to find out if all that listening has changed your vocabulary, your understanding of the world around you, or your perception of your place on this planet. If we take our time, we can wander into the special collections for unique views, the non-fiction floor for analysis of current events, or into those places that give voice to forbidden texts. They are all available in this extensive assemblage of the mind.
We could let the contrarians out of the quiet room. We could open it up to those who recoil from their favorite words spoken by an unacceptable voice, those who only hear the death of print in the recording, and those who believe it is just another way of tracking your tastes and preferences.
Speaking of those floating eyeball librarians, we could reach into the shelves of science fiction. With the accelerating nature of technology of apps, video games, and virtual reality all racing towards a collision course, how long before we can step into the literal reality of our favorite books? Do you see yourself popping corks with The Great Gatsby, flying with McCluskey's bombers over The Miracle at Midway, or riding with The Roharin at The Battle of Pelennor Fields during The Return of the King?
However, before we go any further, let's head back to the card catalogue and look what going on with Dave Nemo Weekends. On Saturday, June 6 at 8:30 AM ET, writing coach Annalisa Parent has tips on using your time to effectively get started on your book, get finished with your book, and, quite possibly, get someone speaking those very words you wrote.
At 9 AM ET, celebrated author Joe Di Prisco arrives to discuss his new book The Good Family Fitzgerald and, along with sharing his remarkable life, tell you about The Simpson Literary Project, a non-profit for mid-career writers that he heads up.
Because it is the first Saturday of the month, naturalist Dr. Bruce Beehler will be here at 10:30am ET to talk about his adventures in writing for another edition of "Natural Encounters." And it's quite fitting, as the title of the segment comes from his latest book, Natural Encounters: Biking, Hiking, and Birding Through the Seasons.
Sunday, June 7, actor, storyteller, and narrator of over 400 audiobooks Therese Plummer explains at 9:30 AM ET exactly how one makes a living giving voice to the words of others.
Then, we're joined by Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet at 10 AM ET for a look at the inspiration behind her new novel, A Children's Bible, and the subgenre of climate fiction.
She'll be followed at 10:30 AM ET by another jolt of artistic inspiration when author and "Plot Whisperer" Martha Alderson gives you the tools for breakthrough contained in her book Boundless Creativity: A Spiritual Workbook for Overcoming Self-Doubt, Emotional Traps, and Other Creative Blocks.
If we do nothing during this weekend's tour of the audio library of the air, we hope to inspire you to hear the most important voice: your own. It is the voice telling you to get reading, get listening, get thinking, and get writing. But you can hear only if you listen, and we can think of no better place to start than Dave Nemo Weekends.
Don't wait too long. You don't want to end up like this guy. (Spoiler Alert: this is the twist ending of a classic Twilight Zone episode.)
And now, a word from Clare Marie:
Every month is Audiobook Month to my ears! After years of Audible ads, I finally got off my butt and got my free introductory book in 2017. What was the magical book that did it? Why, it was The X-Files: Cold Cases, of course. Narrated by the cast of the X-Files and fully sound designed, it revisits some of the classic stories from the series (remember Flukeman??!) It was campy, nostalgic fun...if you can be nostalgic about a series you re-watch every couple of years. (I also got X-Files: Stolen Lives, and it was so terrible I couldn't even finish it.)
Audible might be the most well-known audiobook platform, but there are plenty of ways to listen. You can always get audiobooks directly from publishers, or audiobook production companies. Some will give you a free audiobook or e-book if you sign up for their mailing lists. But there are even better ways to listen FREE.
My local library uses Hoopla. All I had to do was sign up for a free account with my library card number, and I get a stack of borrows each month to use on audiobooks, movies, e-books, comics, and music albums that I can enjoy either on my computer or phone. (Hey, run an HDMI cable from your laptop to the TV in your cab, and you've got free movies on the big screen!)
I bet your library has something similar! And if you don't have a card, a lot of libraries are making access easier than ever with online sign up due to COVID-19, or they might help you out if you call and explain that you're on the road. You could be listening today even if you won't be home for weeks.
There's also LibriVox. It's a fascinating project that allows anyone to record any public domain book for the site to put online for free. LibriVox narrators work on a volunteer basis and span the globe, so you'll find a wide range of accents, ages, intonations, and skill levels. If you dig around, you could find gold. Let us know if you do!
For a book to be good, it has to be a good book. For an audiobook to be good, it has to be a good book read by a good narrator. I'll wrap up with a list of some audiobooks that fit the bill, by genre:
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, narrated by the author
The Broken Earth Trilogy (The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky) by N. K. Jemisin, narrated by Robin Miles
Room to Dream by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna, narrated by the authors
I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy, narrated by the author
The Dinner by Herman Koch, narrated by Clive Mantle
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, narrated by Geoffrey Cantor
The Gates by John Connolly, narrated by Jonathan Cake
Pet Sematary by Stephen King, narrated by Michael C. Hall
I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, narrated by Gabra Zackman
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, narrated by Michael C. Hall
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, narrated by Stephen Fry
How to Listen to and Understand Great Music (Great Courses) by Robert Greenberg, narrated by the author
The 4 Season Solution by Dallas Hartwig, narrated by the author
You Need a Budget by Jesse Mecham, narrated by the author
Tune in to Dave Nemo Weekends every Saturday and Sunday from 7-11am ET, live on SiriusXM 146. Call in to join the conversation on air at 615-292-6366. Visit us on Facebook, give us a like, or drop us a line here.
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