One of the main reasons I narrate non-fiction audiobooks is to expand my mind. I have narrated books about nutrition, bird migration, theology, parenting, exercise, listening skills…the list goes on and on. Raw Deal blew my mind wide open. It made me question my diet, how and where I get my protein sources, and if those companies I give my hard earned dollars to contribute to the well-being of the planet or exploit it. Spoiler alert: our mainstream sources engage in damaging practices, and you have to dig deep to find those companies that align with better values. But here, through Chloe Sorvino’s fantastic research, we learn about where we are, and where we could be. If you care about the future of our planet, check this one out!
I was very excited for this project, honored to have been asked to narrate, and daunted by the intense subject matter. But I was up for the challenge.
Nicole Perlroth lays out how the United States, in its efforts to keep our country safe and secure became a cybersecurity superpower, only to unleash its tools onto an uncontrolled global market, thereby making us infinitely less secure. As our world becomes significantly more reliant on digital infrastructures, and as liberating as that is for our modern day lives, we are becoming more vulnerable in the process. Software that is created to make our systems stronger and more efficient have become our greatest weakness. Are we safe? The resounding answer is no, we are not.
Reading this while the January 6th riots were happening, well, let’s just say it was one hell of start to 2021. This book gave me a deeper understanding of our country’s sins, what lengths we will go to keep our data safe, and just how vulnerable we really are. Biggest takeaway: ALWAYS UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE. That fixed glitch just might save your data from the next hacker.
If someone told me that the bulk of this year I would be home working in my little studio, day after day, week after week all year long, I would have said that sounds about right. But if someone told me that besides my immediate family of three, I would see my favorite people mostly through a computer screen, I would have thought they were joking. It has been a very long year, and we are all so tired. I am grateful that there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, but that light still feels so far away.
I am fortunate that audiobook narration is a pretty pandemic-proof job, a fact I give thanks for every day, and my work life has changed little. What has changed is not working with my directors in studios, or seeing my fellow narrators and producers at various events and workshops, and most importantly, at the APAC conference in New York City. I can’t wait to run around the giant Javits Center again and have a million little conversations while running to the next seminar.
In the meantime, I’ve had a wonderful year in audiobooks, recording everything from paranormal mysteries, to thrillers, to romance novels. From non-fiction books about the corporate culture of Netflix, to modern day etiquette, to how to parent and raise an entrepreneur. From beautiful memoirs like Gold Medalist Jessie Diggin’s Brave Enough that won an Earphones Award from Audiofile Magazine, to Stevie Phillips’ memoir about managing the likes of Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Robert Redford, (cover above). And I was extraordinarily lucky to read some incredible fiction; Sue Miller’s Inventing the Abbotts, Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation, Emily Gray Tedrowe’s The Talented Miss Farwell, and Brian Castleberry’s debut novel, Nine Shiny Objects. I even got to play SHAKESPEARE in Master of the Revels by Nicole Galland for Harper Audio out next year. Only in audiobooks! It has been a blessing to immerse myself in a new world each week, and to have a reason to escape the brutal and unrelenting news cycle.
I wish for all of us a better 2021. My heart goes out to families who have lost so much this year. We know what needs fixing and I am committed to move forward with conviction and step up to be part of the solution. It won’t be easy, but piece of cake after this year, amirite? It has been a doozy. Happy End of 2020, we made it.