Car books


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.

066) 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.

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.
two-plus years or one day depending on how you count


064) 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.

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.
year and a half


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.

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.
just as long as it took


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 . . . . :

Books 61
061) The Backslider by Levi Peterson, finished June 14

Books 54 - 60
060) The City: A Vision in Woodcuts by Frans Masereel, finished June 13
059) Gods' Man by Lynn Ward, finished June 12
058) Mad Man's Drum by Lynn Ward, finished June 11?
057) Destiny: A Novel in Pictures by Otto Nückel, finished July 8
056) Passionate Journey by Frans Masereel, finished June 7
055) The Sugar Bean Sisters by Nathan Sanders, finished June 3
054) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, finished May 28

Books 47 - 53
053) Farm 54 by Galit Seliktar and Gilad Seliktar, finished May 20
052) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, volume seven by Hayao Miyazaki, finished May 18
051) Dark Day in the Deep Sea by Mary Pope Osborne, finished May 15
050) The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude by Carol Lay, finished May 14
049) Moonlight on the Magic Flute by Mary Pope Osborne, finished May 12
048) This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz, finished May 6
047) Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osborne, finished approximately May 4

Books 41 - 46
046) The Red Diary / The Re[a]d Diary by Teddy Kristiansen / Steven T. Seagle, finished April 28
045) The Five Books of Jesus by James Goldberg, finished April 22
044) The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, finished April 20
043) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Volume 6 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished April 18
042) Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game by John Sexton with Thomas Oliphant and Peter J. Schwartz, finished April 15
041) The Hand of Glory by Stephen Carter, finished April 13

Books 35 - 40
040) Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne, finished April 8
039) You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon, finished April 7
038) Illiterature: Story Minutes, Vol. I by Carol Lay, finished April 2
037) "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" by Lemony Snicket, finished March 29
036) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 5 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished March 29
035) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 4 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished March 28

Books 26 - 34
034) The New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons, finished March 24
033) What Shat That? by Matt Pagett, finished March 24
032) Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones, finished March 22
031) Jews and Words by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger, finished March 22
030) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, vol 3 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished March 13
029) The Princess Bride: Shooting Draft by William Goldman, finished March 11
028) The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother by Lucy Mack Smith, finished March 5
027) Scott Pilgrim vs the World by Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall, finished March 5
026) Screenplay by Syd Field, finished March 3

Books 22 - 25
025) Mortal Syntax by June Casagrande, finished March 2
024) The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo, finished March 1
023) Moby Dick by Herman Melville, finished February 28
022) Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis & Christos H. Papadimitriou & Alecos Papadatos & Annie Di Donna, finished February 22

Books 20 - 21
021) The Complete Peanuts 1985-1986 by Charles M. Schulz, finished February 22
020) The Princess Bride by William Goldman, finished February 20

Books 14 - 19
019) Magic Tree House #10: Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne, finished February 17
018) The Report Card by Andrew Clements, finished February 17
017) Justice (volume one) by AUTHOR, finished February 16
016) The Green Mile by Stephen King, finished February 15
015) Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl, finished February 12
014) The Silver Cord: Book One ~ Nephilim by Kevin Kelly et al., finished February 7

Books 8 - 13
013) Teen Titans: The Prime of Life by JT Krul and Nicola Scott, finished February 2
012) Batman: Vampire by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones and John Beatty and Malcolm Jone III, finished February second
011) Isaac Asimov's Treasury of Humor by Isaac Asimov, finished January 26
010) Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, Perfect Collection 1 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished January 22
009) The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984 by Charles M. Schulz, finished January 21
008) My Letter to the World by Emily Dickinson, finished January 21

Books 1 - 7
007) Spacecave One by Jake Parker, finished January 19
006) The Antler Boy and Other Stories by Jake Parker, finished January 19
005) The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons, finished January 14
004) The Crab with the Golden Claws by Hergé, finished January 14
003) The Adventures of Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure by Hergé, finished January 11
002) Using the Common Core State Standards... edited by some Ed.D., finished January 10
001) Jellaby by Kean Soo, finished January 8

1 comment: