Monday, July 21, 2008

The Last Few Days

Beach, Food, Nap, Beach, More Food, repeat.

I had a great drive down to Florida and the weather has been just beautiful with perfect ocean waves. We had the traditional shrimp feast tonight and tomorrow is a trip up to the best fried shrimp place on the coast.

Before I drove down here I stopped at the library to get some books on CD. I have been meaning to write a round-up of the ones I've listened to forever but never got around to it. For those who care (or more likely, for my future reference), here it is (I'm not doing links - you all are smart enough to find these for yourself):

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke: I loved this one. The reader had a fantastic British accent and the book seemed to fly by even though there were 26 CDs. There were some slow spots so I don't know if I would have gotten through the book as quickly, but the audio was great for drives between NC and Indiana a few years ago. I checked out a CD of short stories from the same author this trip but haven't gotten that into it yet.

Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland: I could not have loved this one more. I can't listen to audio books if the reader isn't invested in the story, but this is not at all the case with this one. Every time I see this one on the library shelf I want to pick it up again, and I think about it a lot. The actors/readers are so perfect for each section of the book and add so much to the listening experience - I know that sounds cheesy. Coupland's other books have been hit or miss (mainly miss) for me, but this will always be one of my favorite audio books.

Oh, The Glory Of It All - Sean Wilsey: An autobiography of a boy growing up with socialite San Francisco parents. Pretty interesting but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they were familiar with the city. I can imagine that it would have been much more enjoyable if you were able to relate to the location and the time period, but Wilsey was still pretty whiney through the last quarter (third? half?) of the book. Interestingly (for me), his mother founded an organization that sponsored visits between US children and children from the USSR. As soon as he started describing this group I recognized the group from a picture book we had while we were growing up. It was called Making Friends but I can't find it from a brief amazon search.

Son Of A Witch - Gregory Maguire: So, so bad. I loved Wicked but have been very disappointed by everything else he's written. To his credit, he read the book, but that's a technical redeeming quality that can't save a boring book.

The Areas of My Expertise - John Hodgman: This is the PC guy from the PC/Mac commercials and he has written a very Dwight Schrute-esque guide to his catalog of made-up knowledge. There have definitely been some laugh out loud moments but it's a bit much for seven straight hours. It looks like the last CD just contains a list of 700 hobo names so I have one fewer CD to go (unless you're looking for a hobo name, in which case I would gladly help you pick one out).

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