Reading by Ear: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
read by Betty Harris


During the mid-aughts, my family spent two weeks in Seattle visiting my brother. (I’m not the first McBride who has gone west before returning east in glory. I am not even the second.) A little ways into the trip, my parents asked me if there was anything I wanted to do while we were there. Stunned by this rare opportunity to steer our course, I nevertheless had a ready answer: the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.

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Reading by Ear: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
read by Frank Muller


I didn’t pick up The Great Gatsby just because the film’s coming out in a few months. I mean, it is a major factor in my decision, I’m not going to lie. (Can we talk about how Jack White’s cover of “Love is Blindness” is amazing? Because it is.) No, I picked it up because, despite the fact that this is the novel most kids are taught the beginnings of literary criticism on in American high schools, there are still unplumbed depths. One of my peers here at Agnes wrote her senior thesis on Great Gatsby on a topic that, to the best of our research, hasn’t been written on seriously. Texts like that—well, those are the texts I like the most.

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Reading by Ear: Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
read by Barbara Caruso

Oh, Little Women. It’s one of the very few “classics” (y’all know I feel about that word) that I actually read as a kid—I think I read it in middle school or high school, casting around for something to read (and still not having my act together library-wise). We had a copy lying around the house, and so I read it, enjoying the domestic drama, identifying with Jo (I think everyone who reads Little Women identifies with Jo), and, towards the end, becoming a soldier in what I believe is one of the oldest shipping wars in fandom. It left an impact on me, needless to say, but I didn’t revisit it (save in film form) until I randomly grabbed the audiobook at my local library.

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