I am a hopeless audio addict. I love listening to books read by great readers. I love poetry read by the poets, many of whom are the only ones who should read their words aloud.
My addiction started when I was two. My grandmother read stories before every nap and at bedtime. She'd read them over and over, particularly Little Golden Books. She'd check them out of the library or buy them used. I listened and by three was following along, my tiny finger tracing the words. Once I dared to correct my grandmother when she misread a sentence. She thought I'd heard the story so many times that I'd memorized it. She said, "Show me the word." I pointed to a word she'd read wrong. I was right.
Mom read to me as often as my grandmother did. Even when I was six or seven, Mom and I would curl up in an easy chair where she'd read aloud. Black Beauty. My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead. Sand Dune Pony. By then, I was reading the books myself, but it was our special time, Mom and me, when she'd read to me.
Many decades later, when she was too ill to read, I read to her. Role reversal at its finest. I finished one of her favorite books, The American President, the day before she closed her eyes the last time.
When my husband and I travel, we load up on audio books from the library. We're hooked on suspense, thrillers, and, of course, Stephen King. We take at least four long car trips every year, so we plow through writers like Jeffrey Deaver, John Gilstrap, Lee Child, Vince Flynn, and the Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child Pendergast FBI series. We've almost missed turnoffs because the story was so engrossing. And we've been known to sit in the driveway to finish a chapter. More than once.
There is something about the marriage of a good reader with the written word. I'm looking for the right reader for my Mad Max series. So far, I haven't found the right female voice, but I will. I want other fans of the spoken word to enjoy her as much as I do on the printed page.
If you listen to audio books, which are your favorite writers?
Betsy Ashton is the author of the Mad Max Mystery series. Her stand-alone serial killer novel, EYES WITHOUT A FACE, is a departure from her normal fare.