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Keeping Track

Housework, Audiobooks, and Juliet Stevenson

I am a huge fan of audiobooks. Partly because I love being read to. I love the human voice. I read my own writing outloud during the many stages of rewriting. I loved reading to my children when they were younger. I think the music of spoken words is magical.

But the other reason I love audio books is because I absolutely hate housework. I feel a rage and resentment whenever I have to do it. To soften my mood, to make the boring repetitive distasteful tasks bearable, even enjoyable, I listen to a book. With an audiobook I can enjoy myself while folding laundry, dusting, washing dishes.  Audiobooks are a miracle.

Over the years I have found my favorite readers. These are the people I will chose before the book. If I see they are reading a book I will order it. And my favorite is Juliet Stevenson. Her reading of George Eliot's Middlemarch got me through one of the most difficult periods of my life. My partner had been half-paralyzed by a stroke. Many days a week after work, I drove several hours to see him in the rehab center where is was learning to walk and talk again. As if our tragedy wasn't enough, the rehab center was full of motorcycle victims. Young men, mostly, who would never fully recover. My partner would tell me the stories with his broken stumbling language. I would sit in my car after each visit and weep for a few minutes and then put on Middlemarch for the drive home.

George Eliot's masterpiece runs over 35 hours and has a huge cast of characters and sub plots. Juliet Stevenson was able to make each voice distinctive. I could follow the plot and the savor Eliot's brilliant writing. It was magnificent. I never would have understood or appreciated Middlemarch without Stevenson reading it to me.

Imagine my gob smacked joy when I learned that Juliet Stevenson had agreed to read my book. I couldn't believe it. I had been her fan for years but now I have become a complete fan girl. This unexpected honor has been yet another gift that writing  The Nine has brought me.

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