When I was in New York City earlier this month, I had what has been the audiobookish time of my life.As I shared on Monday, I loved each and every minute. Understandably, it took a little while to process everything that happened. There is one thing I’ve yet to share with you. It was so special to me that I’ve had a hard time to putting it into words. Looking back on it, I think it’s understandable. If you didn’t know already, you can probably guess what I’m going to say based on the title alone. Please bear with me, this event was years in the making…
October 1971 ~ I am born. Simon Vance, a young man about England, feels a shift in the wind, but is really too busy doing whatever it is that Monty Python and Pink Floyd fans did in the 70s to give it much thought.
January 2007 ~ Literate Housewife is born. Simon Vance is racking up the audiobook nominations and awards. I was too caught up in the “audiobooks don’t count” fallacy that I don’t notice.
April 23, 2008 ~ I join Audible in a fit of frustration with the intolerable bedtime routine in my house. Letting go of my anti-audiobook dogma, I figure at least I can listen to a book or two while I lay down in their room at night. Somewhere not in the too distant future, Simon Vance narrates The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which is released in September of that year.
December 22, 2008 ~ I purchase The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Not knowing what in the world I’m doing with audiobooks. I remember looking at this Simon Vance person’s Audible profile and, thinking he looked like a nice enough guy, took a chance. I was curious about the book anyway. I can’t remember if I bothered to listen to the sample or not. Early days, folks. I had no idea where this would lead.
April 18, 2009 ~ I started listening to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo during Dewey’s Read-A-Thon. I first heard Simon Vance’s voice while cleaning out the minivan, which was no small task. By the time I finished, Mikael Blomkvist’s trial was over, but Lisbeth Salander was not yet in sight. I thought the narrator had a nice voice and appreciated his pronunciation of Swedish street names. I wasn’t really sure that this book was for me. I set my MP3 player down for awhile.
July 2009 ~ I needed to clean out my closet. I had the house to myself. I decided to pick up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo again. Lisbeth Salander entered the picture. I sit down on my bed to listen. My closet did not get as clean I had hoped. I take the girls to the pool one afternoon. I did not write down the date, but it was while watching the girls play in the kiddie pool that I sat forward in my deck chair. Something changed. I.GOT.IT! Audiobooks were amazing. Never before has reading a book, no matter how beloved, felt like *this.* I checked the display on my MP3 player. Simon Vance. I needed to get more of what he had to offer.
May 2010 ~ I receive an ARC of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I was anxiously waiting for that book to be released. I help Lisbeth’s fate in my hands, but I was torn. I took to Twitter asking if I should read now or wait for Simon Vance. Now, if my husband has any lingering resentment over my narrator crush, it was born out of my reaction to what happens next. Simon Vance sent me a DM. When I read the email, I screamed. Danny, in the kitchen, thought someone was dying. He never did come to see this as the joyous event I did. The DM? Well, Simon Vance told me to wait for him. How could I not?
June 2010 ~ I gathered up my courage and, figuring that it would be okay to ask since he’d reached out to me, I asked to interview him for what would be my first Audiobook Week. My inner reaction to his “Yes” was no less than the night I read that DM, but I was in the library with my kids, so I had to contain myself.
June 25, 2010 ~ I published my interview with Simon Vance. I felt like the queen of the world.
January 2011 ~ On a decidedly bad day, I began Paul Is Undead, a book I wouldn’t have otherwise read, but it fit into a reading challenge and, well, Simon Vance narrated it. That began one of the best reading experiences of my life. The audiobook is hilarious and I had a great time sharing my joy via Twitter with Simon, Tanya, and the author, Alan Goldsher. I wish with all my heart I had a transcript of all the tweeting that went on while I was listening. Suffice to say that it was an incredible experience that made me happy to be an audiobook lover in the modern world. I’m a lucky duck.
June 2011 ~ During Audiobook Week that year, two significant things happen. 1) I start the Shaken, Not Stirred Challenge and begin the journey of listening to each of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books that Simon Vance narrated. As a result, I had a monthly date with Simon Vance’s narration and, when it could be worked out, he and his wife joined us for the monthly Twitter party. We’ve had a great time. 2) Natalie from Book Line and Sinker posted a phone interview with Scott Brick, her narrator crush. This set into motion my own phone call with Simon.
December 2011 ~ Simon Vance calls my very own cell phone! Let’s forget all about how, in my nervousness, I sent him the wrong number. I eventually got it right. So I had this opportunity to talk to the man who changed my reading life and I jumped immediately in to the interview with barely a Hello. I so wanted to be professional and not let the fangirl in me show. Thankfully my nerves settled down once the conversation got started and I’m happy with the end result. If I had it to do over again, I would worry less about the impression I made and sit back and enjoy the ride.
June 3, 2012 ~ I freaking met Simon Vance at the APA Mixer!!
I did my best to act composed at the time, but OMFG! I met Simon Vance!!!! The best part? He is a charming and funny in person as he is on Twitter of in email.
June 4, 2012 ~ I saw Simon again at the Tantor party and even *gasp* had dinner with him later that night. Granted, he was at the other end of the table and I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to him, butI ate a meal at the same table as Simon Vance. I was able, at the end of the evening, to wish him well at the Audie Awards the next night in person.
June 5, 2012 ~ When Simon won his two Audies, I was cheering away in my hotel room. All the while I was thinking, “I freaking met Simon Vance!”Wow! What an experience.
In all seriousness, Simon Vance is much more than just my narrator crush. He wasn’t the first narrator I listened to, but he was the pivotal one. Through his art, he has opened a whole new world to me. While listening to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I learned how to be an active, engaged through his pacing and style. In that respect, he’s just as important to me as Mrs. Stone, my lovely First Grade teacher who worked hard to teach me to read, and Dr. Susan Swartzlander, who taught me not only to read critically, but to do so with joy.
This isn’t even just about Simon Vance. It’s possible that without him, there wouldn’t be any audiobook goodness in my life. How sad would my life be without all of the people I’ve met online or in person as a result of my love for audiobooks? Tanya Perez, Xe Sands, Bob Reiss, Jennifer Sullivan, the Audio(aGo)Go girls, Karen White, and Anne Flosnik are just a few of the audiobook people who bring me joy on a daily basis. Simon Vance made that possible because he shares his gift of narration with those who care to listen.
That is why Simon is my favorite narrator. I am proud to consider him my friend.
June 17, 2012 ~ Simon Vance releases a June is Audiobook Month video in which he mentions meeting me. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come on, you didn’t really think I could keep the fangirl at bay for long, did you?
Simon Vance Audie Award Giveaway Extravaganza!
Simon won two Audie Awards this year for The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens and The King’s Speech by Mark Logue and and Peter Conradi. In honor of Audiobook Week and this momentous occassion, Tantor Audio is offering a copy of each title to one of my lucky readers! To enter, leave a comment here letting me know who your favorite narrator is and why by 11:59pm EST on Thursday, July 5th. I’ll announce the winner on July 6th.