Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Laurel Corona

Laurel Corona's novels include Finding Emilie, Penelope's Daughter, The Four Seasons, and the newly released The Mapmaker's Daughter.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Corona's reply:
Since I discovered audiobooks, I don’t curl up with a book nearly as much as I used to. My involvement with books of the conventional sort is now mostly connected to research for potential historical novels, and for my role as a lecturer for Silversea and Seabourn Cruise Lines. When it comes to books for pleasure, I put in the headphones and go for a walk or a workout at the gym, and in that way I “read” more than two dozen novels a year.

Adding a narrator is a tricky business. Some are so irritating that I’ve abandoned the book within an hour or so. A mature upper class woman with great restraint in her outward behavior and personality, for example, might make a good protagonist, but someone who reads with the lack of affect that might go with that personality is going to put me to sleep. It’s also tricky to handle dialogue, because voices of different characters need to be distinguished, but it’s hard to do this without sounding gruff when a woman speaks in a man’s voice, or high and breathy when a man tries to speak with the voice of a woman. Sometimes accents are perfect and sometimes they are just annoying. Still, when the marriage is strong between a good book and the audio narrator the experience is truly memorable.

I think now of The Help, which used several narrators, all of which added immeasurably to a wonderful experience. Likewise, listening to the narrator for Margaret George’s novel Helen of Troy made me fall completely in love with Helen beyond what I think I would just reading it in the conventional way.

In the last year, The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani, about a Persian woman several centuries ago trying to achieve her dreams while working as a rug maker, was excellent, as was Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald, about another Iranian woman in the present day. Three good ones with Indian protagonists are Cutting for Stone by Abraham Vergese, A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian, and The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama.

Favorites in historical fiction include The Last Queen and The Queen's Vow by C. W. Gortner, and in mainstream fiction, I have particularly enjoyed The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, and The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, by Anton DiSclafani.

Lest I forget, I am currently listening to Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. It’s a good one, so excuse me while I go for a walk....
Visit Laurel Corona's website.

--Marshal Zeringue