June 29, 2009

audio books

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but in the past few months I’ve taken to listening to audio books in the car, even when I’m not going on a road trip. We have two radio stations – total – in my area, and I get tired of listening to the constant stream of Bob Marley and whatever other stoner music they play CONSTANTLY so I listen to books now and then. It has been fun getting into it, actually. The voice of the reader makes a huge difference to me. If the reader is annoying, it distracts me so much that I can’t even listen to the story. Lately I have been getting the audio books from the library, so if I hate the reader, I can immediately return the book and not feel the sting of a bad (expensive) purchase.

An author who I LOVE listening to is Sarah Vowell. I actually prefer listening to her read her books on CD, instead of reading them myself. Recently, as I drove around town, I listened to her read her latest book, The Wordy Shipmates, about the Puritans and colonial Massachusetts. I learned about John Winthrop, Roger Williams, and Anne Hutchinson. You'll have to go look those people up yourself.

Another book I listened to recently was Trading Up, by Candace Bushnell. Chick lit is a good choice for me on CD, especially those stories that rely on humor and scenes rather than complicated plots – the story lines are typically easy to pick up and put down in short doses, which is good for times when I’m driving around running errands. Anyway, Trading Up was kind of good, now that I think about it. While I was listening to it, it seemed a little trashy at times, but it wasn’t that bad, in retrospect – the trashiness seemed honest to the characters. The book was read by Mira Sorvino, who I like, so that was a bonus. If you knew who I was talking about when I said “Candace Bushnell,” then I’m sure you already have a general sense of the book: New York/L.A., sexy women, social status, fashion, glitterati. It was fun. I admit I did have to quickly turn off the CD a couple of times when stopped at traffic lights with my windows rolled down. Didn’t need the neighbors idling alongside me to hear, at full volume, Mira reading about our heroine doing sexual favors for movie stars in restaurant bathrooms.

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