What happens when one frustrated dad turns his kids’ lives upside down in search of a new way to be a family? You’ll find out when you listen to Dan Kois’s new audiobook How to Be a Family.
We asked Dan about his journey writing this book, his favorite audiobooks, and what independent bookstores have meant to him.
Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.
I’m the host of a parenting podcast, Slate’s “Mom and Dad Are Fighting,” and every week I’d hear from parents who found contemporary, over-scheduled, super-busy family life frustrating and unfulfilling. I did too! So my wife and I hatched a crazy plan to live in four countries over the course of 2017 and learn how they do things outside our east coast parenting bubble. The story took shape when everything went wrong almost immediately.
In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise Libro.fm listeners about your audiobook?
They’ll be surprised to hear not only from me but from my wife and both our daughters, who all certainly have their own things to say about this adventure we went on.
Have you listened to your own audiobook? If so, what struck you about the narration?
It was really important to me to read the book myself—I mean, it’s my voice and my family. But because it’s me, I think I would drop dead if I had to listen to it. I hear enough of myself everyday in real life!
Are you an audiobook listener? If so, what are some of your favorite audiobooks?
I’ve just finished the glorious full-cast audiobook of Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass with my younger daughter, and I’m excited about listening to the next book in the series with her.
What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?
Oh man. My first job I ever liked was when I worked at the (dearly departed) Harry W. Schwartz bookshop in my hometown, Milwaukee, and then my first full-time job was at the (dearly departed) Bull’s Head in Chapel Hill. Those jobs taught me that the world is full of readers and they’re always looking for the next amazing story. They taught me that there could be a place for me in the world of publishing. And they taught me that booksellers—like my boss at the Bull’s Head, Erica Eisdorfer, the best boss I ever had—make for the most fun co-workers. These days I do my independent shopping at Politics and Prose and Solid State in Washington, DC; at Flyleaf in Chapel Hill, where Erica works now; and at the spiritual successor to Schwartz’s, Boswell Books in Milwaukee.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
To any New Zealanders who listen to the audiobook, I’m so very sorry about my accents.