DAMES NATION! We have $4.95 AUDIOBOOK RECOMMENDATIONS for you!!
Just so's you know, we don't get any $$ from Audible to do this, we just do it because (1) we love audiobooks, (2) we love sales, and (3) we love YOU!!! If after the fact, Audible were to approach us and say "By gum, what a guide! Here, take a portion of our slightly ill-gotten Amazon subsidiary gains, you brilliant creatures!", we wouldn't spit in their face or anything. We are not Too Proud. But they haven't underwritten this newsletter yet and we do want that to be clear. For now, this guide remains a labor of love.
The Treat Yourself Sale runs through 11:59 pm PT on December 2.
Our FiveAbsoluteEssentials (In Alphabetical Order By Author)
The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen (Her Royal Spyness, Book #6) -- One of Dame M.'s favorite cozy mystery series, even better on audio than in print thanks to Katherine Kellgren's expert narration. Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line for the British throne, is rich in noble antecedents but terribly poor in cash. As a result, she scampers about 1930s England solving mysteries and being profoundly charming. Add to that basic premise the bonus of a Christmas setting and you have yourself the purest possible #Damesbait.
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & the Beast by Robin McKinley -- Dame M. has a habit of noting on the title page of her personal books when and where she started them and, if noteworthy, what was going on in her life at that moment. This makes some treasured volumes function almost like a mini-family Bible, because she re-reads them so often, and often in adverse circumstances. All of which is to say, there are at least 8 notations on the title page of her copy of Beauty, because it's one she comes back to again and again whenever things are tough. The audiobook is less well-worn (cause DIGITAL) but no less well-loved. If you loved Disney's Beauty & the Beast, you owe it to yourself to get immersed in its source material. The Mouse owes a BIG storytelling debt to McKinley.
The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith -- Dame S. first learned of this audiobook from an endorsement by Dana Stevens on the Slate Culture Gabfest, and it's since become a family favorite. Martin Jarvis' narration is warm and funny, perfectly matching the kid-friendly thrilling adventure of the plot. Best of all, every dog gets a unique personality and voice, and Cruella de Vil's wardrobe of exotic furs is described in fabulous detail. The sequel, The Starlight Barking, is not included in the sale, but is even better (imagine a metaphysical, subtly feminist scifi adventure about dogs running the British government) and well worth your monthly credit at some point.
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell -- One of Your Dames' shared all-time favorite books-- and a great Gateway Drug for the glories of audiobooks in general. Sarah Vowell, an accomplished droll essayist who got her start on This American Life (and voiced Violet Parr in The Incredibles!), turns her distinctive eye on three of the major presidential assassinations in U.S. history: Abraham Lincoln's, James A. Garfield's, and William McKinley's. One part road trip travelogue, one part humorous memoir, one part closely-observed history, and one part incisive pop culture writing, Dames Margaret and Sophie feel pretty confident saying that if you like our newsletter then you'll like this book. And also, once it's done, President James A. Garfield. (Poor Garfield.)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein -- Another one of Your Dames' joint all-time favorite books, rendered perhaps even more excellent in audio than it is on the page. Best friends. World War II. Spies. Pilots. Breathtakingly tricky storytelling. A dash of romance. TEARS. Tears. Tears. (P.S. You'll want to pick up the sequel, also on sale for $4.95, while you're at it.) (P.P.S Dame S. will be talking about this great & good book as a follow-up to Hamilton on an upcoming episode of The Worst Bestsellers.)
And Our Overstuffed Buffet Plates of Additional Recommendations
Our 12 Kids & YA Picks, with exactly ZERO hyperactive or unbearably callow narrators and only one Full Cast Audio production, which is not exactly Your Dames' Thing, but can be super dreamy if you want something really immersive for a long car trip.
Our 19 General Fiction Picks, ranging from the coziest of mysteries to the bleakest of thrillers, and encompassing, through no intentional planning, not one single book written by a man. If you're browsing this list and are like "HEY, some of these were also on the Kids and YA List!", yes, you caught us. Frankly, if we could have justified putting Code Name Verity on the non-fiction list, too, we would have done so. Always Be Reading CNV is one of our mottos.
Our 17 Non-Fiction Picks, which has one or two male authors, contains HEFTY TOMES on Lyndon B. Johnson, Tommy Wiseau, Catherine I, and other Enlightened Despots; collections of Slight Humorous Essays; at least one Celebrity Memoir narrated by the Famous People Whose Lives It Purports to Document (Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen! On being related and other things!); three Sarah Vowell books; and more than you could ever likely want to know about British Royalty.
And! One More Reminder: Beyond the Lights, 7:30 PM EST, TONIGHT!
There's a LOT more to the movie than just watching these two STUNNING creatures above being stunning and filled with genuine emotions for 90+ minutes but, like, that's just because Gina Prince-Bythewood is a really exacting, generous artist. Because when you are #blessed with two actors of such gobsmacking beauty and charisma, everything else is extra. SO pull the movie up on Netflix andjoin us on Twitter at 7:30 PM EST, where we shall be conversing with the hashtag #BeyondTheLights.