11th October 2018
As a Canadian I just celebrated Thanksgiving. As a European, I wasn’t given any days off for it. So instead I stuffed a turkey in the trunk of the car, poured pumpkin pie mix into a bowl and stuffed it in too along with a pie pan and a ball of dough, everything oven-ready. Then my husband and I hopped in and we drove to the Netherlands to make Thanksgiving dinner for our kids, who are studying there. It was a long drive – about 7 hours. Do-able but long.
So I decided to use the time productively. I downloaded the new audiobook from Essential Audiobooks, Term Limits by Steve Powell. With the American Congress partisan and gridlocked, and the extraordinary selection proceedings for the Supreme Court, Term Limits is so superbly timed a thriller that Catherine O’Brien of Essential Audiobooks almost offered me a contract on the spot.
Let me tell you about being a publisher. When I say that I’ve read Term Limits, I mean I’ve read it and reread it and reread it. I’ve read it more times than I can count on my fingers and toes. So when I settled down for my long drive with an audiobook, I already knew the plot backwards and forwards.
An audiobook is a different reality from a paperback. An audiobook moves at its own speed. It has a voice artist interpreting it, rather than your own voice in your head. Shawn Compton read the story with a deliberate calmness, no rush through the chase scenes, no hurried squeak as the tension got ratcheted up. And the effect set my nerves jiggling.
Now let me tell you something else about the roads in Europe. For the most part they don’t have speed limits. So that 7 hour drive from London to the Netherlands? I do it in 5. Average speed? 90 miles per hour.
But this does mean that I really have to concentrate on what I’m doing. I can’t just put on cruise control and sit in the slow lane (where they do a sedate 70). When I turned on the audiobook, I was already on the edge of my seat. Add Shawn Compton reading Term Limits’ perfectly reasonable – if murderous – response to the American political system and my driving became a killer of an experience.
Either I had to slow down or press the pause button.
I slowed down.