Yes, it’s official: the audiobook of The World Between Two Covers, written and narrated by yours truly, is now published. It is available for listeners in the US and non-Commonwealth countries to buy here.
And if you’re curious to hear how my four days in the studio turned out, you can listen to the first half-hour of the book below. (As you might be able to tell, I particularly enjoyed reading the word ‘rattling’.)
For now, rights reasons mean that those of us in the UK and Commonwealth (including me), can’t buy it. However, Audible has kindly given me some CDs, in addition to a code for a free copy accessible to those outside the Commonwealth.
In honour of this fact, I am running a giveaway for readers anywhere in the world to get their hands on a copy of the audio version. All you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this post, telling me about a book you’ve enjoyed reading recently.
On August 1, I will put the names of all those who leave a book tip in a hat and pull out two winners. They will each receive the audio version of The World Between Two Covers in the format that works best for them.
If you live in a Commonwealth country this could be your only chance to get your hands on a copy without travelling beyond your borders. So make my day and share a favourite recent read below!
*iPod and physical book not included…
This giveaway is now closed. Find out the names of the winners here.
I have loved so many of the books you recommended, but I think The House of the Fortunate Buddhas gets the prize for not being about what I thought it would be about! But it was great!
Oh I’d love to win this fabulous giveaway. Fingers and everything else crossed. As to my favourite latest read I think I’d have to go with Craig Russell’s The Ghosts of Altona. It’s a fantastic crime series from a totally unrecognised talent.
Good luck with The World Between Two Covers and hope I will be hearing from you soon !
I recently read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”. As one would expect, there are many aspects of his personality that are striking. One of these was his pragmatism. The negotiations with SA Govt about ending apartheid really tested his diplomatic skills. And keeping the country from going into civil war after freedom was possible only because of a great leader like him. I sometimes wonder how things would have been, if India had such a leader. (I have great respect for Gandhi and Nehru but in retrospect some of the mistakes made at that time proved quite costly.)
I actually read Long Walk to Freedom WHILE INCARCERATED (2 years, Illinois, marijuana-related), I’d been wanting to read it for years but made a point of finally doing so in prison–what better time, right? I loved it as well; especially learning about the military wing (Umkhonto we Sizwe [sp]) of the African National Congress that he co-founded, and drawing inspiration from his courage & unerring advocacy for better living conditions for himself and all his comrades =)
I had the incredible honor of seeing Mandela speak in person, during the closing ceremonies of the 2002 International AIDS Conference in Barcelona. Simply amazing!
Wow! I got interested in Mandela after watching ‘The Invictus’. Then I read the book on which it was based – ‘Playing with the Enemy’. I was so impressed by this man that I decided to read his autobiography. The way he sticks to his core principles and at the same time is flexible enough to lead is something everyone can learn from.
You are really fortunate to have seen him in person. chance of a life time.
Btw, checked your website. Very impressive!
Thank you! Do you mean my wordpress blog, or my “official” site (www.JanSmitowicz.com)?
Your official website. I just clicked on your name here. 🙂
I recently read Ready Player One and I really liked it! It matched my expectations which was really great 🙂
I just finished reading Banana Yoshimoto’s wonderful collection of short stories ‘Lizard’, and fell in love with the way she plays with language. So pumped to have finally read something by this amazing woman writer from Japan! Her characters are modern, urban and young (and hence, easy for me to identify with), and her way of writing about their personal travels so poignant. Have you read her? Would love to hear what you think.
Thanks Kandala – I haven’t read her. Sounds like one to add to the to-read pile!
I really enjoyed ‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore’ recently. The author is from my home town!!
Saša Stanišić’s ‘How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone’ is one of my all time favorites and it was nice to see that on your list. A new book that I liked a lot is Moon Over Samarqand by Mohamed Mansi Qandil.
The first book that comes to my mind in all of the books I’ve read recently and loved (within the past couple of weeks) is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
This year I enjoyed two amazing books. The first one was “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”, by Muriel Barbery. The second book, that became one of my favorites, unfortunately hasn’t been translated into English yet. Its name is “Milagrário Pessoal”, by José Eduardo Agualusa. If you have any chance to read a book written by this author from Mozambique, I believe you will love it.
I recently listened to Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I have been wanting to read this young adult title for a couple of years and was not disappointed. The stars of this story are young women – one Scottish, one English – taking on dangerous work during world war 2. One is a pilot and the other a spy. At the beginning I thought this was going to be a dud as I took some time to “get” the narrator. However, this proved to be a book which had layers to discover – a masterful plot.
I have just bought Reading the World for my school, Ann, as we use your website to introduce a wide reading topic on international books with year 8. Thanks for your insights!
How lovely – thanks for letting me know Marita.
this year my favorite book was ‘just a shadow'(in frensh juste une ombre ) from karin giebel it was really in amazing thriller its A book you’ll read in one gostop reading My thought on closing the book: dammit, she’s didn’t go in for half measures . by far my favorite book this year ( sorry for my bad english its the 3 language in my country )
No need to apologise – your English is good! Thanks for the recommendation
I have recently read and loved The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman. Good luck with the launch of your audio book.
My most recent read was a NetGalley ARC of “Come Rain or Come Shine” by Jan Karon. It’s the latest in her Mitford Series, and will “drop” in late September. I read across genre, but I have loved this series since the first literally fell off the shelf when I was at a bookstore a decade or so ago. I also read Jane Green’s “Summer Secrets”, which I then shared with an African refugee,who had an entirely different take on the story
Aha – a nice advance recommendation there! Thanks Andrea
As a French Canadian living in Quebec I was mostly in contact with American writers, but I recently discovered how different the English writtng can be while reading Amanda Prowse “What have I done?”. About the story: I still cannot understand that a woman would endure such treatment from her husband – even though it’s not a true story – and then again I know such crazy things do happen behind closed doors…
I´m rereading “Dead Famous” by Ben Elton, a whodunit set in a Big Brother house. I read it about 10 years ago so I´d forgotten most of it (which is a good thing when reading a detective story). Not only is it interesting and funny, it also takes you back to those days of Big Brother Madness (the book was written in 2001), when reality tv was booming and many of us were asking ourselves where all of this Peeping Tom business was going to end.
I’ve recently read and enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It deserves all the hype! (I’m currently reading a lovely anthology called Me, My Hair and I: 27 Women Untangle an Obsession)
After hearing and studying so much about it, I finally read The Scarlet Letter recently and found it quite enjoyable; I particularly liked all the symbolism and how Hawthorne pointed out that not everything is in black and white. Thanks for sharing all your adventures through your blog (and your book, which I’ll read as soon as I can), it’s been enlightening!
I loved My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante and will definitely be reading the other books in the series this summer. I look forward to reading/listening to Reading the World soon!
I actually haven’t been reading many books lately–I have been reading some great comics though! My recent favorites have been Groot and Bitch Planet. 🙂 I am really excited that you got to read your audiobook.. I can’t wait to listen to it!
It’s not a book that changed my life but I must say that I really enjoyed reading Colm Tóibín’s Nora Webster which was left by a tourist who visited my hometown recently.
Going slightly off topic, as an Indonesian I found this article concerning. https://en.qantara.de/content/andrea-hiratas-novel-the-rainbow-troops-one-novel-two-very-different-versions His book is one of the Indonesian books listed on this blog. While I understand jokes and expressions may get lost in translation, but changing a story to suit a different market? What do you think?
Thanks Bram. I enjoyed Nora Webster too.
Thanks for sharing this article. I have yet to read the novel myself (I’m still working my way through many of the titles people suggested and will probably do so for a long time to come!). It certainly sounds problematic – and some of the changes do seem rather baffling, although it’s difficult to comment without knowing the book. That said, books often do get changed because of market expectations – and not just across cultures. The British novelist Thomas Hardy had to write a different ending to his novel ‘The Return of the Native’, for example, because his publisher said the original version was too bleak for readers. Similarly, in the first published version of ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, the heroine is wheeled over a puddle in a wheelbarrow rather than carried by the hero because the editors thought Victorian readers would be too shocked by physical contact outside marriage.
In the case of ‘The Rainbow Troops’, however, my worry would be that the changes would be made to reflect misconceptions or stereotypes that English-language readers might have about Indonesia so that they get the story they expect rather than the story that the author wrote. If that’s the case, then it dilutes the value of the translation in my eyes because instead of broadening readers’ horizons and challenging them, the English version would simply reinforce assumptions. What are your views?
Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan, a historical novel on her familiar theme of mother/daughter relationships, is my most recent favorite novel.
You will probably not find this very unique or relevant, but I read Fahrenheit 451 recently and loved it. It just feels so prescient. Raises very important questions, I think.
I recently read a book in my native language, Et il me parla de cerisiers, de poussières, et d’une montage by Antoine Paje. I really enjoyed this book. It is a great and funny life lesson on true fear. Helped me a lot.
I recently read Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. The author managed to describe the huge American funeral industry in an interesting and even humorous manner.
I recently read Hamlet. It was written by a guy named Shakespeare. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Seriously, though, your book’s premise seems really interesting. I look forward to purchasing a copy!
Just finishing A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. Incredible writing… POV and time switching back and forth and somehow, she never loses us! Speaking of POV, Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller is amazing as well.
I’ve finally gotten around to reading The Kite Runner. I have to read more of his books, they’re supposed to be amazing!
Good luck with the book! (and I’d love to win the audiobook because I need something good to listen to on my way to/from work!)
This is such an awesome idea, I’m so glad you have committed to this! Thank you for being you! I could recommend a few American or German books, but it seems you have already read those:D
But as for a book I recently enjoyed I would have to go with Three Simple Steps a self help books that inspired me to change the way I looked at the world. My life is so much more enjoyable now, it is also the reason I started my own blog with intention. 🙂
I just finished Frangipani by Céléstine Hitiura Vaite, which is to become my Tahitian book. It’s a lovely insight into the life of women in Tahiti today and often laugh-out-loud funny. I can’t wait to read the sequels to find out what happens to this loveable and slightly madcap mother and daughter.
Recently I enjoyed the audible version of Countdown to Zero Day
I can’t resist a contest for a free book, especially when the entry is talking about books!
I recently read Obasan, by Joy Kogawa. It’s one of the first novels about the Japanese internment in Canada during the Second World War. It explores the consequences, both major and minor, from a personal, first-person perspective, but also considers more carefully-reasoned, legal and political-moral arguments as well. There’s a comment in it along the lines that this story repeats with the names and faces changed, so I think it’s still very relevant.
I’m also currently re-reading The Pears of Ribbeck, which is entirely one sentence, in which an old East German pear farmer becomes increasingly drunk and rants about all the governments he’s lived under. (This doesn’t do it justice.)