I'd been putzing around in my brain for the last day or so. Despite having to create fabric samples, finish the jacket of my Tulle Suit to wear this weekend, finish a stuffed toy for Serena's birthday–she'll be one, next weekend–prepare projects for a profile to be done on me and correct a sweater pattern; I couldn't sit down and focus. How come? Then it hit me. I ran out the house, and hopped on the train, down to the Donnell Library Center.
Knitting made me an audiophile. I'm also an avid reader, and listening to audiobooks is a fabulous way to combine both.
I seldom watch TV. I don't know how other folks do it, but I can't knit and watch TV. I also can't read and knit. I have a friend who used to perch her book on a music stand while knitting, but that didn't work either. Now she listens to audiobooks.
I know. Books on tape still makes some of us think of ugly cassettes with poor quality, narrated by down-on-their-luck actors. Say whaaat? Girl, times have changed!
The cassettes are still out there, but quality has improved immeasurably. There are books on CD and even (gasp!) digital download. You can purchase CD/MP3 players with page navigation and bookmark features. Very cool. The narration, is performed by well known actors and narrators. Finally ('cause I know you wanna' know) there are authors of color on tape. I'm currently working (yes Freda, my focus is BACK) to Suzan Lori-Parks novel, "Getting Mother's Body". 'Chile. A young girl, impregnated by a bigamist coffin salesman. A mother's last wish to die with her best jewelry on. And a race to recover the body (and the jewels) before the grave's turned into a parking lot. When I read the blurb in the library, I had to get this book. With that kind of drama, who needs TV? What's reality anyway?
Here's the deal. Audiobooks are a performance. Some have music (the music in "Little Scarlet" listed below is nice). Other books give you multiple voice performance, and some narrators are storytellers! As people of color, our oral and storytelling traditions, makes us finnicky listeners, so a good narrator/storyteller is everything. They can place you at the scene, make you a fly on the wall. When I have miles of stockinette to do, I just put on headphones and turn on my mental video.
Baby-blanket makers, take note.
Start at the library. Their selections are small, ('cause libraries are charged more by the publisher, not because there's no demand), but it's cool, until you become familiar with the players. There are sites that will let you listen to a few minutes of their titles, and if you like, you can pay and download the book right then and there, for cheap. The magazine to check is Audiofile. They provide the best, unbiased reviews, with lots of info on the publishers, authors and "voices". Audiophelia is growing at, currently 18 million listeners and we all don't own cars.
There's a yarn company that carries two audio titles in its catalog. They think they're onto something. So check me, to find out what's happenin' 'cause I already listened to it and my opinion should count for something. And hip me, if you're a listener, to titles you enjoyed. Walter Mosley's "Little Scarlet" was a shocker. Backdropping the aftermath of the '60's riot in LA, are a series of ill murders, psychotic racial identity, irrational romance; at the navel of it is Easy Rawlins. And guess who's back?