When I started this post, I mostly wanted to write about the audiobooks that helped me get through some of the most turbulent long-haul flights I’ve ever been on, but the more I wrote the more I felt like these audiobooks could help with other kinds of turbulence, politics and personal life included.
Circe by Madeline Miller, read by Perdita Weeks, is radically feminist but in a quieter way. I don’t mean that our protagonist is any less angry than Sadie, but Circe started off as an obedient daughter. As Circe grows—and it is fascinating to see how Weeks’s voice changes with the changes in Circe’s age—she makes use of all her rage and despair in her witchcraft, but she also finds that her ability to empathize and nurture is part of what makes her strong, even if all the men and the gods may disagree. A particular bad jolt on the flight had me irrationally threatening the universe: “If I don’t get to finish listening to Circe in this life I will be so angry in my next life.”
The Golden Hairpin by Qinghan CeCe, translated by Alex Woodend, and narrated by Emily Woo Zeller is vastly different from my other picks. A historical, Chinese mystery novel that is pure escapism, mixing science and superstitions, and giving us a duo as unlikely as any good romance would provide. The Golden Hairpin is the first of many (I hope) detective novels that are sure to provide you with the holiday you need, whether you want to escape the people around you or your immediate surroundings. The translation, I suspect, is clunkier than the original prose is meant to be, but Zeller makes it work and besides, it is very easy to sink into this world.
And those are all the picks I have for turbulent times; hopefully there’s a little something for everyone and if not, what would your picks be?
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