It is an interesting experience to be sharing the books I grew up loving with my husband, who has never been a reader. Since we both work in the same office and our commute is 87 glorious miles each way, I’ve adopted an Audible subscription without regrets. Audio books are wonderful for long car rides, because the best audiobooks are performed. This brings a level of interest to the stories that some have difficulty replicating when they read books… which is why so many people flock to films and skip novelizations altogether.
The first book I entrapped my husband with was Eragon by Christopher Paolini. He listened through the entire series, then went looking for more. I was thrilled. I tossed him Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and he loved that too. Enjoying Wil Wheaton’s reading, he sought out Fuzzy Nation all by himself. After that, things started to get rocky.
I tried out a personal favorite, The Amulet of Samarkand on him, and while he liked it, he couldn’t get through The Golem’s Eye. I wanted him to listen to the Artemis Fowl series because I knew he’d love it, but he couldn’t get past the delightful Irish accent of the narrator. We tried The Gunslinger and The Queen of the Tearling (which he liked, but he gave up on the second book). Feed was a success, once he got a hang on the lingo. American Gods he liked (and now that it’s becoming a TV series, he’s very excited)… but when I turned on The Golden Compass he was firmly against it.
“No,” he said, arrogance or ignorance or something else infuriating resonating from his tone. “I can’t understand what’s he’s saying.”
Phillip Pullman narrates his own novels. He has a very slight British accent.
For whatever reason, I was in no mood to humor him that day. “Listen harder,” I suggested. He rolled his eyes and did that thing which I assumed meant he was going to tune it out.
A few weeks later, as we were walking in from the car, he announced, “I like Iorek Byrnison.”
It was like hearing that ding-ding-ding that goes off on old game shows when you’ve won. I suddenly realized that I could overcome his objections to the stories simply by leaving them on. All sorts of new doors were opened to me!
Right now, we’re a little over halfway through The Amber Spyglass together, and he’s listening to Lireal by Garth Nix on his own. … I think we’ll try Menagerie by Rachel Vincent next….