I’ll say it again – I’ve been editing my novel like a fiend. It’s been so damned cold I’ve been doing my daily walks through the aisles of Costco and the Superstore, trying not to look at the items on sale as I pick up rubber gloves and coffee beans. I eavesdrop shamelessly on conversations as I dodge the ankle-biters who swerve from sample table to sample table scarfing up free food.  The added benefit is having moments of inspiration. In between, I listen to audiobooks because I don’t have enough time to read.

OutlandercoverFor the last few months, I’ve been reading/listening to the Audible books series written by Diana Gabaldon, starting with Voyager. I’d read the first three books (and they are glorious doorstops averaging 800+ pages) when they first were published in the 90s but last year I grew weary of detective novels and mysteries and craved something different.

Well, I’d loved the books way back when – Gabaldon is an amazing writer – but when I started listening, I was hooked. Addicted. The books range from 40 hours to over 50 hours in length and the narrator, Davina Porter, has a sinuous, soothing voice that I could listen to all day. I’ve walked more than ever in rain, ice and snow just so that I could tuck in my noise-cancelling earphones and soak up the story.

Diana mixes historical fiction, adventure, time travel and a damp-inducing love story that survives war, imprisonment, rape, separation, hardships, the American revolution, and more. I’m through all eight volumes and after a break, I’ll listen to them again because I know that I’ve missed parts by falling asleep while listening.

My girlfriend has encouraged me to read the series penned by Tom Robb Smith – Child 44, The Farm and Agent 6. They’re all bestsellers. I’ve read the Amazon reviews and they are good, but I just can’t bring myself to pick up books about Stalinist Russia, no matter how well written. Due in part to the cratering prices of oil, Russia has slid into deep financial trouble. I remember reading Gorky Park decades ago and I recall the descriptions of the babushka ladies lining up in the cold for hours to buy dried bread and stale cabbage.

Two years ago I began listening to Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy and I remember feeling so cast down by his descriptions of the Russian Revolution and it’s impact on ordinary folks. Perhaps is this everlasting cold dark winter that is getting me down, but right now, I just can’t turn my mind to reading of more despair, no matter how well done. I’m going back to listening to Rys Bowen’s light mysteries as my escape from the chill stark reality of the daily news of the world.