Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Word About Audio Books

Week 25     Fiction

Several years ago, when my daughter was about 12, we were on a 14-hour straight through trip to New York City. I stopped at the library and borrowed an audio book of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It was very well done, and my daughter and I had a marvelous time listening to it and discussing it. It was a book that she never would have read but listening to it was a transformative experience.

On my trip to Duluth and back last week, I listened to two audio books, The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly and Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith. The trick about audio books is to get a good reader. Sometimes when you are driving, the reader can put you to sleep; other times you are riveted with attention all the way through.

Such was the case with The Lincoln Lawyer. This is the story of a Los Angeles lawyer, Mickey Haller, whose office is a Lincoln Town Car and whose clients are a series of low-life scum. When he finally gets a stellar client (a franchise client, he calls it) named Louis Roulet, Haller finds out that it’s not what he thought it would be. The reader of the audio book, Adam Grupper, is very good, the plot moves along quickly, and I didn’t get sleepy once. By the way, a movie of this book has been made and will be released next year. Sounds good.

I also enjoyed Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith. Paul Hecht read it very well and used lots of accents, which made it fun to listen to. This is a very funny book about a German professor whose only claim to fame is a 1200 page tome he wrote years ago about Portuguese irregular verbs. He has never gotten the respect he feels he deserves, and his quest to gain respect is hilarious. I laughed through four CDs and before I knew it, I was home.

Someone told me that the audio book of The Help by Katheryn Stockett has four readers, one for each of the main characters and that listening to the book really helped it come alive. So, the next time you are on a long trip, consider taking along an audio book. It will make the time go faster.

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