My History with Audiobooks

I started listening to audio books during my first “professional” job, in ed tech, based on my Masters in that field from San Francisco State University. I was working Berkeley, driving from school to school, mentoring teachers in adopting computers into their teaching. At first, I had a tapedeck in my car and could find plenty of casettes of audio books at the library. My favored fiction, fantasy, lacks the constant stream of new publications of, say, mysteries. So I dove into mystery audiobooks. I’d cruise in and out of Agatha Christie, PD James, and so on, as I jumped in my car to zip to another school, or commute across the Bay.

With mysteries, as with fantasy fiction, I like long series, to become acquainted with a set of characters, maybe grow fond of a setting (or two, as in Kathy Reichs’ Montreal and North Carolina).

With the library, it’s hit or miss, trying to follow a series. I’d read a series out of order and might never find some of them. One like that was Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series, about a chief medical examiner. I stumbled on a few of the books randomly over the years. Somehow I got the idea the author was a forensic pathologist herself! I also thought she was Canadian! The truth is Cornwell was a crime reporter, born in Miami and raised in the South. Her father was an appellate lawyer, and her life partner (in a gay relationship) a Harvard psychiatry professor! In her personal life, Cornwell’s a mix of progressive and conservative politics, which isn’t surprising since, when her father walked out on the family and they moved to Montreal, North Carolina, Billy Graham’s wife became a sort of foster parent to her and her siblings.

There are 27 Scarpetta novels, most recently published in 2023. I may try to read all of them. Of course, now I just listen to them on Hoopla on my phone. I’m on #2. I’ll see how far I get with the series. I see Nicole Kidman stars as Kay Scarpetta in the series. I can’t tell if it’s come out yet. I guess there’s been a BBC series starring Angelina Jolie. Cornwell hasn’t gone unnoticed!

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