I’m back on the ABC’s 702 Sydney show this morning. Linda Mottram is on holidays so I will be chatting with Deb Knight about audiobooks – perfect for roadtrips!
I have a deep, dark secret to admit here. But first, let me point out that I adore being told a story. As a young child, I don’t recall ever being read to but my parents were always telling us stories, and particularly my dad would embellish his with hyperbole (this apple does not fall far from that tree). This storytelling time was either at dinner or at bedtime. Bedtime stories would always put me to sleep, and here is my deep, dark secret. I choose my audiobooks for their ability to put me to sleep. Not in a “I’m so bored I can barely pay attention” way but in a search for calm, soothing voices that work their magic and send you into Morpheus’s arms. This is great when I am in bed, but not so good when I am driving.
My driving audio choices need to be much more lively. I remember on a three hour drive to Newcastle having chosen Homer’s Odyssey to listen to. I barely remember the first line yet when I woke up all rested at the end of the drive, both my sons were at the ready to describe the gruesome eye-gouging of the Cyclopes that I had missed. Side note: my husband was driving on that day.
So what is my latest choice – and have I chosen it to stay awake or go to sleep?
I’m currently listening to Mindy Kaling’s Why not me? And I am definitely wide awake. I absolutely adore self-narration. I know that this is not always possible. Authors are not necessarily orators, many authors are dead, and it is always interesting to listen to other narrators and their interpretation of a story. There aren’t that many self-narrated fiction audiobooks as much as memoirs. Previous memoirists I have adored are Gervase Phinn and his stories of being a school inspector in the Yorkshire Dales, and David Sedaris whose stories did not inspire me until I heard his readings at Carnegie Hall which had me laughing so hard that I had to pull over and stop driving as I could not see ahead of me due to the tears rolling down my face.
Well, the verdict on Mindy Kaling is up there with both Phinn and Sedaris. I’m not too familiar with her TV work. Though I have seen the occasional American The Office episode (which I like much more than the cringeworthy UK original), I have not seen The Mindy Project at all (I don’t subscribe to cable or any subscription viewing TV). But many of my tweeps bandy her name around with lots of love and adoration so I have watched her interviews on Youtube here and there. Her memoir is like Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and Tina Fey’s Bossypants. Celebrity observances, her life shaping moments, ideas on love and work. I loved her opening with skittles and buying people’s approval because who wants to be “effortless”. Her chapter on why Bridesmaids Have it Worse than Groomsmen validated my 20 years ago decision to not have any bridesmaids at my wedding. She is funny, sharp and keenly observant. I will definitely be listening to her previous book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
I purchased a copy of Mindy Kaling’s audiobook from an online vendor. I borrowed Gervase Phinn from the library and I was given the David Sedaris CDs as a gift though it is now long gone – damn the picky thief who broke into my sister’s car and did not touch all the nostalgic 80s music but took my book. I hope the CD warped and jammed in your player and you are stuck in a sound distorted hell.