Opal Goes to the Audio Book Club

When I say to Opal, “come on, let’s read a book”. She knows that it means that sound will start coming out of our Daisy player…some guy or gal will talk and talk… it’s all blah, blah, blah to Opal, but she loves it. Why?  It’s our quiet time together. She gnaws her bone contentedly as we lay on the bed and snuggle (oops! dog on bed again…check!).  She takes my running commentary on the book in stride, looking at me (quizzically, I think) when I say things like; “that doesn’t make any sense!”, or “what kind of a moron wrote this thing? they can’t even string a sentence together!” or “Ooo, Opal. this is a really good book, eh?”  To further cement Opal’s audio appreciation, the Audio Book Club which I started with the Halifax Public Library, has its meeting at the Alderney branch.  Opal knows that when I say, or rather sing with a commercial jingle lilt, “Audio Book Club today!”,  we are bound for Dartmouth on the ferry. That in itself is exciting. We sit on the upper deck and suck up the sea breeze as Opal watches the gulls fly overhead and the boats sail by. The BEST part, is AFTER we go to the audio book club…after the meeting filled with conversation and laughter, after I load up with more of the library’s audio books and sign them out, after the tea and more conversation with my friends at ‘Biscuit Lips’ (a nearby cafe)… after all of that, my girl KNOWS we will FINALLY go to the park by the shore. She also knows that mum has brought the ‘flexi’ (retractable leash) and her necklace (collar) and her rubber boomerang….and that she will get a chance to sniff and run and ‘blow the stink off’. We will soak up the rays and more sea breezes, and stagger back onto the ferry quite shattered, but definitely content.

Our audio book club meeting was yesterday. My task is to research the author and other details about the current book selection and bring in some information to share with the group. Our most recent title was “Kabul Beauty School” by Deborah Rodriguez and Kristen Ohlsen. I was as eager to share my ‘find’ with the book club as Opal was to get to the park. I managed to interview Ohlsen by e-mail. She was very forthcoming and answered my probing questions. I listened to an old NPR interview with the Afghan women who are the subject and spine of the book. (they’re quite cranky and claim that Rodriguez left Afghanistan and did not receive money from the book profits). I asked Ohlsen (who is often overshadowed in reviews and interviews despite her role as primary author) to comment on this, and more. She came through, and in doing so, gave the Halifax Public Library’s first ever Audio book club something juicy to talk about.  Our next pick is “Treasure Island”. Somehow, I doubt that I will raise much in the way of interviews with Robert Louis Stevenson.


2 responses to “Opal Goes to the Audio Book Club

  1. Hi! loved your piece on Opal, and the audio books. Do you guys check out audio books from writers in other parts of the country? I work for a publishing firm called Storymoja http://www.storymojaafrica.co.ke in Africa. We are rather young and have just produced our first two audio books. One is a children’s book called In the land of the Kitchen, the other is an general fiction book called Tracking the Scent of my mother.

  2. Hi Juliet, we are limited to books that are within the Overdrive Media collection. These are downloadable audio books. Those people in the book club without internet, receive cd copies of the same version. Having said that, the titles are varied and are from all types of periods, authors and countries. As for your firm’s audio titles, it would be nice to sample them some day, though they are not currently available on Overdrive, an American giant in the field of Public library sales of audio titles (they tend to be heavy on American and middle of the road authors). I would normally remark on a comment promoting one’s own interests as being “shameless attempts at self-promotion”, however I did check the site (as I always do) and I am impressed. How nice that people across the globe are somehow ending up reading my blog.

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