Tuesday, May 01, 2007

audible.com, i love you!

In addition to always having a book in my hand when I'm not doing things like working on the computer or driving, I always have an audio book going. I have been a subscriber to audible.com for around 3 years, now. And I always get 2 books every month and the New York Times. Right now, I also get a weekly audio version of the New Yorker. Life is rich.

Audio books are great productions these days. There are some unbelievably talented readers, who manage to make every character voice unique. Some books are read by the authors, themselves. Some can pull it off, while others can't. I've learned a lot about ordering audio books.

1. Never get anything that isn't unabridged. Why would I want an abridged version of ANY book? Sheesh!

2. Don't order anything that's not main stream literature. No classics. The recording quality of all the classics I've ever ordered has been terrible 100% of the time. I have to jack the sound up as high as it will go, and it's still hard to hear. I would love to listen to Dante or Virgil or Fitzgerald or Joyce, but no can do in the realm of audio books. I end up wanting to drive my car off the road and into a ditch, which would be overkill.

Some books may even be better in audio version. I read (can you say you read it if you listened to it?) The Devil Wears Prada and The Nannie Diaries in my car. They had me laughing and crying and driving around the block so that I could listen for just a few minutes more. I listened to 8 books on my last road trip. That's when I first heard the books by Sue Monk Kidd. I couldn't put them down...figuratively speaking.

I actually miss commuting because I don't get as much reading done.

Today, I began listening to Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer. I read the book the instant it came out, just as I do with books by all of my beloved living authors. The book is narrated by Barbara, herself. Within the first few minutes, I found my mind wandering.

My mind wasn't wandering because the book didn't have what it took to hold my attention, but because the richness of her language and the closeness with which she holds me to the character's chest sent me to thinking about my own writing. How can I do that? I began thinking about my unfinished short story, The Love Potion. Maybe I should make it 3rd person. Maybe I should go back and put the reader inside the character's, trapped in her time limited body. The whole thing is so expository right now, and I know that this ain't going to fly.

I have a white paper to write, and the customer is justifiably getting antsy. But I really, really need to look at this story. Shit. Shit. Shit.

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