Story Time: Jewelry Editors Try Audiobooks in the Jewelry Studio
|Sponsored| I love reading, and I love jewelry making. Wouldn’t it be great if I could combine the two? Turns out that I can, with audiobooks.
Children know there’s nothing better than having someone read you a story. There have been few times in my adult life that I’ve been read to, but they were memorable and decadent. I love recreating that experience with audiobooks.
I don’t have as much time to read as I would like, but audiobooks allow the ultimate multitasking. While making jewelry in the studio, taking a walk, riding in a car or train, or knitting—audiobooks allow me to do things I want or need to do while also enjoying books that I love. Read on to see how the other Interweave Jewelry editors and I enjoyed our experience with audiobooks and listen to a sneak peek of our picks.
Step Into Your Moxie by Alexia Vernon
Reviewed by Merle White, Editor in Chief, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist
What was Rosie the Riveter riveting? She wasn’t making jewelry, but that World War II icon of a can-do nation was riveting metal. There’s another personification of the era’s determined and resourceful spirit I like even better: the dame with moxie, a word I adore. Not ordinarily one for self-help books, when I saw the title Step Into Your Moxie, I knew I had to check it out.
Step Into Your Moxie is a contemporary exploration of how women especially, but not exclusively, can accomplish more than they imagine in what is still a male-dominated world. Through anecdote, comparison, questioning, and exercise, the author presents insightful perspectives on the issues she squarely sets out, and realistic advice you probably know but frequently forget to heed. Know yourself, consider others, and be prepared to make the case that what you want is what others want, too.
Easier said than done, which is why the book is more than a single sentence and the audio runs 7-1/2 hours. Given that length and breadth, doing something with your hands while listening to shorter clips makes perfect sense. You can hear it all, keep going past whatever you care to, and hit pause when a section makes you want to think it through.
Intrigued? Listen to a bit of this book!
If you like to hammer frustrations away on metal, try hammering in time to the measured cadence of the author’s reading of Step Into Your Moxie. You can make progress on both your jewelry and your place in the world as you do. But you don’t need to be worked up to learn from this book—and you don’t need to be female or devoid of moxie, either. –MW
Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness
Reviewed by Karla Rosenbusch, Managing Editor, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist
I usually listen to music or watch TV (don’t judge) while making jewelry, but recently I decided to listen to the audiobook of Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness instead. It was an awesome book, and I got very caught up in the story. It really has everything I love—history, heavy romance, politics, and vampires. Yes, vampires.
It’s an intriguing story that moves from the time of the American Revolution, when the main male character, Marcus, becomes a vampire, to present-day Paris, where he falls in love with Phoebe. It has a rather dark feeling to it, but that is a lot of the book’s charm. It was also very appropriate that I was listening to it as Halloween approaches.
Listen to a snippet of Karla’s audiobook pick, if you dare!
I decided that the book was best suited for listening to when I was using a quiet jewelry-making technique like filing, stringing, or wire wrapping. Hammering and sawing? Perhaps not—but only because I got so lost in the story that I was afraid I’d smash or cut a finger. –KR
Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart
Reviewed by Tammy Honaman, Editor in Chief, Beadwork
When I tune into my studio time, I usually tune into another world. It’s like a third dimension. Time slows to a crawl (unless I’m on a deadline!); there’s a hush that takes over the room; and I can think. The quiet is when I can sketch a design, think through the engineering, and then dig out all the jewelry-making materials and tools I’ll need. Once I’m into a design, the thinking isn’t as critical and then I can tune into something entertaining while I work. Recently, I listened to Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart.
I have to admit—I usually put on a movie or a series of shows, letting them play in the background. I usually play something I don’t have to really watch but can easily follow along with a slight bit of attention. A strange phenomenon (to me), when I look at the pieces I make during the span of a television series or movie, is that I feel and see the story in the finished piece of jewelry. It’s kind of wild.
Playing a movie in the background isn’t much different from listening to a book, except I knew I’d want to listen more intently. I really enjoy reading and it’s been awhile since I’ve taken the time to lose myself in a good novel. I chose Lake Success and boy, did I enjoy having this on while I worked on some new metal clay lentil beads for my Beads, Baubles & Jewels segment.
Hear a bit of the audiobook Tammy chose:
The story is about a man (Barry) who’s hit some hard times. He’s lost a lot of money on hedge funds and is being investigated. He chooses to make a run for a new life, heading to El Paso to find an old girlfriend. The story is woven much like a bead-weaving pattern. A few steps forward (Gary on a bus heading out of town), glance at the pattern (life and hard times), take a few stitches back to regroup (a glimpse at life at Barry’s home, his wife, and how she’s struggling to raise an autistic child).
I won’t share how this story ends, but suffice it to say, when I look at my pendants, I see Barry, his family, his fancy lifestyle, and remember the book fondly. –TH
House of Gold by Natasha Solomons
Reviewed by Tammy Jones, Online Editor and Social Media Manager, Interweave Jewelry
Given a list of audiobooks to choose from, my pick jumped out at me right away. When I saw the words heiress, headstrong, England, 1911, garden, and family in the description, I knew House of Gold by Natasha Solomons was the book for me! And it didn’t disappoint, right down to the narrator’s accent.
The headstrong heiress is Greta Goldbaum, a defiant free-thinker who is many years beyond her situation. I’ve always felt just the opposite, as if my old-fashioned self was born many decades too late. But listening to Greta’s struggles, I realized that though I am enamored with the more genteel decades before me, I think I, too, am too headstrong and defiant to have been happy during those times. Forced to marry her own cousin and live the life of duty that generations before her have lived for over 200 years, Greta is full of conflict.
Listening to Greta’s joy at finally being given what she longs for—a place of her own, in the form of a garden—was invigorating. That joy led me to the bench, piecing together the first stages of a jewelry design. But when war comes to Greta’s longed-for bit of happiness, her frustration created frustration in me, as well. And what’s better for a frustrated jewelry than hammering and setting things on fire?
Here’s a short clip of the book I chose–listen!
House of Gold is an ideal book to listen to in the jewelry studio. During quiet, happy times, you can do quiet, happy tasks—sketching, stringing, wirework. But when things go dark for Greta, hammering is a great release. And if all else fails, just torch it. –TJ
Feature image: Getty Images.
Want to listen while you work/craft/drive/walk/etc.?
Visit TryAudiobooks.com to sign up for the Penguin Random House Audio newsletter and try a craft-friendly audiobook for yourself. It’s a great way to have someone read you a story! Let us know what you think of it in the comments below.