We're hitting the road!
I spent six hours in the car with the boys and five hours by myself. On the menu?
Shortly before beginning these lists, I had been listening to audiobooks. But then my commute shrunk from seventy-five miles in car to half a mile on foot and that was the end of audiobooks. i'm not sure I've ever written about one before. But here's a handful.
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, finished June 20
Did YOU know that Boris Karloff could be such a cheerful reading companion?two days
065) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, finished June 20
I actually started this two years ago. But I hardly ever drive by myself and in these two years I've listened to but three of the five discs. So I just started over with my drive home. Ended up, driving without kids, I don't take nearly as long. And so I got home with a disc still to listen to. Which I've now done.two-plus years or one day depending on how you count
Sadly, this is an abridged version of Brooks's book. Happily, it's phenomenally acted and its oral-history format leds itself to audio. In fact, I have to say that listening to this book may well be better than reading it. And now, in connection with the movie, there's a twice-as-long unabridged edition that includes not just longer versions of these tales, but left-out tales narrated by actors like F. Murray Abraham, Simon Pegg, and Alfred Molina. You should check it out.
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, finished June 20
This one's not an audiobook. It's the keep-in-the-car-when-I-need-a-book-in-a-pinch paperback. It's been at that job since December 2011 when it replaced this one. It's a terrific book for that job. Even when neglected for months, Tartt's writing is thrilling enough of itself that getting my paws back on the plot was never frustrating. And it's not just the lovely words---Tartt's characters are equally engaging. Each well drawn, each wholly realized, each possessing a soul.year and a half
I remember when this book came out in 2002---largely, I imagine, because of its striking cover---but never really considered picking it up until reading the cover designer's monograph on making book covers (remember Chip Kidd?). He was so enthusiastic about it that next time I was at a library sale and saw both The Little Friend and her first novel, 1992's The Secret History (both Kidd covers), I got them both. They've been sitting on the shelf since then, except this one which spent the last year and a half sitting in the car getting read and banged up and giving me the finest example of a pov filtered through meth as well as a bit role for Mormon missionaries and generally just wowing me.
If you've done the math, you may have noticed that Tartt is overdue for novel three. Not to worry. It's coming out in October.
I don't know if it, like the first two, will be a murdery mystery of sorts. The Little Friend certainly starts off like a murder mystery---it certainly starts like one with its set-up prologue reliving the past and the death of the golden child. But this book has other things in mind besides an unsolvable crime. And where does it end up? In the words of the New Yorker-born cover blurb, "somewhere worth going." I just went and read that review and it claims that the denouement forces you to revisit the entire novel and rethink everything. The manner I read it in won't allow this. And perhaps that's why I was dissatisfied by the last few pages---I felt like she made some weird copouts---but the last, say, three pages notwithstanding, I loved this book. Read it.
063) Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues by Donald Sobol, finished June 19
Listening to this narrator made me want to get into recording audiobooks. Pretty sure I could do better. Not that the narrator was lousy; just that I could do better.just as long as it took
Anyway, Encyclopedia is really starting to show his age. The boys still liked it fine, but I suspect there were bits they just didn't understand. Bits I suspect may be aged out of existence in another generation.
As an adult, some of the ways the kids behave and talk is laugh-out-loud hilarious. The boys didn't get it.
This is, however, the one the newly-minted six-year-old wanted to hear twice.
062) Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary, finished June 19
I probably haven't read any Cleary novels since I was a kid. I liked her then, but certainly wasn't a completist. At this remove, it's fine stuff. I enjoyed it well enough. I think the boys did too. But it made no strong impression.just as long as it took
Previously in 2013 . . . . :