Exclusive! A free (and sexy) Jon Papernick short story

Jon Papernick’s first novel, Who by Fire, Who by Blood, has been referred to as a “fast-paced thriller,” and “smart, relentless, impossible to put down.”  The audiobook, narrated by John Greenman, is such a sharp, hairpin-turning work of literary delight that we asked Jon if he’d not only indulge our few questions, but offer us up another audio story for you.

He was, John graciously recorded it, and we’re pleased to offer up My Darling Sweetheart Baby, a short story by Jon Papernick, narrated by John Greenman. Enjoy it, then read below to discover what else Jon’s up to.

Listen now

Miette Elm:Did you have any reservations about allowing Who By Fire, Who By Blood to be made into an audiobook? What were they? How did narrator John Greenman’s voicing of the text match up to what you had in your head?

Jon Papernick: I had no reservations at all about turning Who by Fire, Why by Blood into an audio book. I think John did a wonderful job and he was really willing to work at getting all of the Hebrew/Yiddish pronunciation correct.

Bruce Pirie

Author Jon Papernick

ME: The novel works quite well when read aloud– there’s something cinematic to the narrative voice, and a natural cadence to the sentence structure. Do you read aloud when writing?

JP: Yes, I do read aloud when I’m writing, and I always tell my students that it is important to constantly read your work out loud. I think Robert Frost once said “The ear is the only true reader,” and I think that is absolutely true. Not reading your work aloud is somewhat like writing sheet music without actually playing it out loud. Prose should be as musical as poetry, and of course human speech at its truest is poetry.

ME: Do you listen to many audiobooks? If so, what else do you do while listening? Driving? Knitting? Ay titles you’d like to recommend as exceptional?

JP: I used to listen to a lot of audio books when my kids were first born. I would listen in the car as it was driving them back and forth, and while I was preparing dinner, and while I was folding laundry. Sometimes I would download them onto my iPod and go for long walks listening to novels. I really think that John Greenman did a wonderful job reading The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, which is probably the funniest book ever written. Listening to that book made me really excited to work with John. I also think that the audiobooks for Middlesex By Jeffery Eugenides, Tree of Smoke by Dennis Johnson and Lush Life Richard Price were superlative.

ME: We seem to be in somewhat of a golden age of strong Jewish heroes and anti-heroes in North American fiction. Who else is writing gripping, bitingly real fiction like this that would work well as an audiobook?

JP: I just met with a young writer named Ilan Mochari whose novel Zinsky the Obscure is coming out this fall. I think that would make a wonderful audio book.

ME: You’ve also taught fiction writing at a number of colleges and universities. How does teaching the craft shape your own craft, and vice versa?

JP: First of all, I really enjoy teaching, and I wonder whether I could be a writer at all if I was simply locked up in a garret somewhere with a pen and paper. I think there is a certain symbiotic relationship between me and my students, and I often articulate my inner thoughts clearly to them before I actually integrate them into my own writing. Teaching really helps center me as a writer, and I am constantly reminded that writing is a craft that needs to be practiced regularly.

ME: What are you working on next?

JP: I’m currently working on a novel and am about to undertake a major rewriting of it. The novel is called the Sunday Synagogue Softball League. I recently sent my agent the first 68,000 words, and he had some very helpful comments about major structural changes that I need to consider in order for the story to really come alive. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, and I’m just trying to find the right headspace to get started. I’m also working on a third collection of short stories entitled Gallery of the Disappeared Men.


Who By Fire, Who By Blood

Who by Fire, Who by Blood  is available from Iambik as an audiobook for only $6.99. Bestselling author Jennifer Haigh calls it a thinking man’s thriller — smart, relentless, impossible to put down.

We couldn’t agree more. Why not listen to the first chapter and see if it hooks you?

eMusic Loves Iambik

Well, it’s kind of nice to get this from a distribution partner:

eMusic Loves Iambik Audio
by Scott Esposito

In a world saturated with iPods, smartphones and tablets, it’s no surprise that audiobooks have become a billion-dollar business. But where does the discerning bibliophile go for the hip, overlooked books that have been eclipsed by the kings of the audio world?

Iambik Audio is one answer. It bristles with street cred, with a founders circle that includes the man behind an all-volunteer effort to make over 3,318 out-of-copyright books available for free in 29 languages. It also boasts a founding publisher list that reads like a who’s who of indie imprints — Tin House Books, Graywolf Press, Akashic Books and Cursor/Red Lemonade among them.

Read more, including some lovely reviews of some of our books.

Friends, Listeners, Internetpeople . . . Open Your Ears

Well, we did it . . . we’ve got Iambik Audio—a new kind of audiobook company—up and running, and we’re pretty excited about it. Iambik comes from some ideas I’ve had for a long while, ideas that flow out of LibriVox, a project I started way back 2005 that offers free public domain audiobooks (!).

What is Iambik?

The gist is this: There are an awful lot of great books out there that aren’t available in audio. And there are an awful lot of excellent independent audiobook narrators in the world who make wonderful audiobooks.

At Iambik, we’d like to connect those great books with great narrators to make great audiobooks. And if all goes well, it’ll be great for everyone: audiobook listeners, authors, publishers, and narrators.

Our First Collection

Our first collection, launching today, is made up of 11 literary novels from wonderful independent presses in the US and Canada. Among the collection, we have one giant of American letters, Gordon Lish; one Pulitzer Prize finalist, Lydia Millet; a number of new and upcoming writers like Felicia Luna Lemus and Laird Hunt; and one expert in late 1940s mixology.

To check out these books, just follow this link to iambik.com; or see below for a list of authors, books, and publishers we’re working with.

We have more collections in the works, some crime, some science fiction, and more.

A New Kind of Audiobook Company

Up there at the top of the page, I said that Iambik is a new kind of audiobook company, which warrants some explanation. We’ve got three main constituents that we’re trying to serve, and here are some ways that we’re a bit different, maybe a bit special:

For Audiobook Listeners

  • We’ll be bringing you hand-picked collections of books, a little off the beaten path.
  • We’ll keep our prices low.
  • We’ll provide our audiobooks in mp3 and m4b (soon!), other formats if we get lots of requests, with no DRM.
  • We’ll ask you, the listeners, for requests of audiobooks you’d like to hear, audiobooks that no one has bothered to make yet.

For Publishers and Authors

  • If you make good books, we want to make them into audiobooks.
  • We approach everything as a partnership: we want to help you sell print and ebooks, as well as audiobooks.
  • We give you a good slice of the pie.

For Audiobook Narrators

  • We also give you a good slice of the pie.
  • We’ll try to get audio rights for books you’d like to record.
  • We’re more like a collective or a co-op than a traditional audiobook company.

We’re not sure how radical all this is, but it’s fun. The first batch of books sure was, and we hope you’ll like them.

Our First Batch of Books

Here they are:

Thanks to all who helped get iambik off the ground, our great team: Janina, JC, Andy, Christine, Gesine and Julie; our advisors Richard Nash, Don Linn, Gene Quinn, Chris Goringe and Dan Parsons; our narrators, and partner authors and publishers; and of course our prooflisteners: Betsie Bush, Linda Andrus, Nadine Eckert-Boulet, Diana Majlinger, Mary McCullough, Elizabeth Medeiros, and MaryAnn Spiegel.