I grew up on Nancy Drew books, and remember those mysteries late into the night, under the covers with my flashlight. Thein, I’d get scared and couldn’t wake my parents.
I laid awake wide-eyed listening to the sounds in the house. The furnace cycled on, or the clock chimed, or the roof sighed, shifting, on a really cold night.
Audiobooks are as good a reading with a flashlight.
I can turn out the lights, and listen to a novel if I can’t sleep. I love to listen to audiobooks while driving on a long trip or to keep myself company while walking. I especially like audiobooks with a cast of readers that sounds like an audio play, and keeps my attention riveted.
I’ve learned that books read by the author do not mean a better listening experience. Reading well is an entirely different skill than writing well.
I enjoy print books too, of course, but the print has to be large enough and the timing right — preferably for an uninterrupted period.
I particularly admire several authors and recommend these authors to readers. Readers can find the book to start on their journey with these authors, as most of their books are enjoyable:
Marie Benedict writes historical fiction.
She writes about women who accomplished significant things, but were often in the shadows or not as well-known as their more famous husbands.
I learned from The Other Einstein that Albert’s first wife was an accomplished physicist in her own right, and perhaps deserved co-author acknowledgment on some of his early, groundbreaking work. He did not treat her well, left her behind when he moved to America and flourished here while she raised their children in eastern Europe.
I was fascinated by Bella da Costa Greene, The Personal Librarian, who assembled one of the world’s great private collections for J.P. Morgan. Greene was an educated woman of color who passed as white.
Clementine Churchill, the prime minister’s accomplished wife, was also an interesting character (Lady Clementine). Living with Winston and being your own person was an accomplishment.
Marilynne Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Gilead.
Gilead is a slow-paced story of an aging pastor in small-town Iowa. I liked the companion novel to Gilead, titled Home, even more. I read this book while traveling 1000 miles home in a rental car with a 3-year-old and her parents. I discovered the advantage of turning off one’s hearing aids to concentrate in almost quiet.
Marilynn Robinson’s amazing books are about the spirituality of everyday life, and how nothing happens but everything happens. Her Gilead cycle continues as minor characters in one book tell their stories in subsequent volumes. She has won major awards for her work, including the Pulitzer Prize.
. . .
Winter is a great time to lose the day in a book, a cat curled up in my lap, or a cup of tea at the side. Although I have a stack of books waiting, I’m open to references from people whose taste I trust.