Thursday, September 24, 2020

Your eyes are getting heavy . . . by Catriona

On long journeys - remember them? - there's nothing like an audiobook. My mum and I drove home from Monterey once listening to PG Wodehouse and rocking with laughter.

And a good audiobook can get you through the wall painting, floor sanding and even unpacking that goes with moving house. Neil and I bedded into Fintloch accompanied by Michael Innes' most bonkers novel, Appleby's End. (Not every picture has to be a book. Behold: a house)

But day-to-day, I've never been much of an audiobook listener. Until now. At the start of the lockdown, I was sort of okay all day and through the evening but lying in bed at night, my thoughts ganged up, pounded a red bull, and set out to mess with me relentlessly till morning.

So I subscribed to Audible and started six months of aural cuddles; books so soothing, read by narrators so talented, they were only a step form being lullabies.

Is it a problem, falling asleep while listening? Not at all, because I only listen to books I've read already, and can pick up the story the next night, or backtrack to where I zoned out.

So far, I've heard:

Grave Sight/Secret/Surprise and An Ice Cold Grave, by Charlaine Harris. I adore Harper and Tolliver, and this (too short) series is the perfect mix of plot and comfort for the troubled late-night mind.

Three Rosato and DiNunzio novels, by Lisa Scottoline. These are great bedtime fare because it's like hanging out with old friends. The only problem is the description of Ma-made Italian cooking. More than once in the night, I would have killed for a plate of spaghetti and "gravy".

Two mysteries by Georgette Heyer, which were not quite absorbing enough to stop the thought hamster from climbing onto its wheel. That was a surprise, because I'm a big fan. Such a big fan that I can't resist a pretty reissue of my favourite titles:

And yet I can't bring myself to throw the old, ugly one away:

So, whatever the problem, I moved on to My Animals and Other Family, by Clare Balding. (I can't find it to take a pic, so here's the sequel, which is annoyingly not on Audible yet.)

In the acknowledgements at the end she thanked the estate of Gerald Durrell for letting her play on the title of his most famous work, My Family And Other Anaimals. So I cued that up next. And that reminded me of my favourite animal stories ever: James Herriott's oeuvre. I'm four books into them now and they're as warm and witty as they were when I first read them. Back when publishers thought this was a good look for a paperback:

And that's it for the last six months, because when you fall asleep after twenty minutes and rewind the next night, it takes ages to finish anything.

My night-listening is completely different from my day-reading, which has been a bit more varied during lock-down than before, owing to all the buy-buttons on Crowdcast events mostly. So don't judge me for being a comfort-junkie. If you need to judge, take a look at what's going at the other side of the bed, where Neil - similarly beset with insomnia and deprived of baseball, which usually does the trick - is being lulled to sleep by Stephen King's Dumas Key, haunted lawn jockey, creepy ghost children and all.



Dietrich Kalteis said...

I enjoyed your post, Catriona, and made note of some of the titles you mentioned.

Laura Jensen Walker said...

I adore James Herriot—so does Michael. In fact, he’s been known to say, ‘James Herriot is my favorite author I’m not sleeping with.’

Susan C Shea said...

Since seemingly everyone adores James Herriot, I guess I need to seek him out. I wish I could find a portable tape deck because I have tapes of some of the most glorious classic novels ever written - the entire Forsythe Saga - read by an actor who moved me to tears. I'd listen to that every night in bed if I could bnut, sadly, it's not available for streaming unabridged and with his voice. But I like the idea of falling to sleep with prose lullabies!