I can't recommend Stuart McLean's CDs enough. I saw him read at the Christchurch Writers Festival a couple of years ago and fell in love with his stories about Dave, who runs the Vinyl Cafe record store (slogan: "We're not big, but we're small"), and his wife and kids. The family get themselves into one pickle after another and they are so endearing and funny. (Example: ten year old Sam is sad his dog seems to be dying. But when he starts crying about it at school, and his teacher asks him what is wrong, he is ashamed. So instead of saying "My dog is dying" he says "My Dad is dying". The news spreads like wildfire.) Dave is kind of hapless and his wife Morley much more together, so Dave's stories consist of him getting in trouble and Morley's usually dealing ably with a ridiculous situation. The story on this CD about the birth of their first child made me cry.
After hearing him read, I wasn't really interested in buying his books, as it was his reading that gave them that extra magic, so I went to Amazon and bought two audio books.
I am re-listening to this now that I have an iPod and each story is just long enough for the bus-ride to and from work. Also, McLean has a podcast that you can subscribe to, not always with stories about Dave et al, but worth listening to as well. I have to really try hard not to laugh out loud on the bus, but the other day, one of his podcasts had me in tears by the end as well. So satisfying. Great for long car trips, too.
The Sound of Butterflies was the title of my first novel, published in the UK by Picador, in the US by William Morrow and in New Zealand by Random House, and translated into eight foreign languages. In 2009 my next novel, Magpie Hall, was published in New Zealand by Random House, and in 2012 my first novel for children, Red Rocks. This blog is my thoughts on the world of writing and books.
Photo by Sharon Blance.