Two audiobook recommendations

I just listened to two excellent audiobooks. Not at the same time, of course :)

First up, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. A fantastic story about a girl who gets put on a boat in England bound for Australia at age four. The story covers her life, her parents lives, her children and grandchild – who finally solves the mystery of why she was on the boat. It’s a little dark, and feels magical, although there’s no actual magic. It was excellent as an audio book – I know the paperback is on the bestseller list now. I think if you liked The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, you’ll like this one.

Next up is The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss. So funny and interesting – the tale of disgraced Revolutionary Army Captain trying to save his first love and save the new nation from financial ruin. SO MANY parallels to today’s stock market and government. It’s a fun, fictional glimpse at Alexander Hamilton as the first Secretary of the Treasury, the men and women of the west that improved the Whiskey trade, the first government in Philadelphia. I loved every bit of it! Historical fiction at it’s most entertaining.

Audible has an awesome sale going on right now – over 200 books at only $4.95. I can’t get enough!

the dome is freaking me out

I recently listened to the new Stephen King novel Under the Dome, on audiobook. 34 hours or some such craziness – for ONE credit on audible.com! Awesome. Anyway, I loved it. And I’m not a King fan at all. I was miserable all the way through Misery, made it to part 3 or 4 of The Stand before giving up, but with Shawshank and Stand By Me in mind, I dove into the dome whole-heartedly.

It’s about an invisible dome suddenly surrounding a small town in Maine. I kept imagining a dome coming down as I was driving on the highway. Totally crazy to imagine – and King does it in full detail. This is a long one, but it holds your attention throughout. Narration is superb – distinctive voices for all of the huge cast.

Although King does go for full detail on some gore and depravity, this isn’t a horror novel at all. I’d say it will appeal to anyone who likes a good small-town story, where the characters rule the roost. Human nature under a magnifying glass. With a little science fiction thrown in for good measure. Highly recommended!

Now here’s the crazy part. As you can imagine, when the dome crashes down – or up – it’s not really clear – the power lines are severed. Along with some people and a wood chuck. But I digress. The power lines are cut and the town is powerless except for generators. So, last night, I’m in the drive through at Taco Bell and I hear a loud crash and see big flashes of light above the Taco Bell. THEN THE POWER GOES OUT. On the whole block! I thought, ‘holy crap, the dome just came down around Taco Bell!’

It was an idiot crashing into the power pole. But it scared the crapola out of me. Anyway, read the book. Or listen to the audio book.

Library vs. Audible

I love my iPod nano. It’s cute and perfect and holds a million hours of entertainment. It fits in my pocket. I love love love it. This is why I thought I’d love Audible.

In theory, I do love audible. I always have my iPod with me, so I thought having the audiobooks I’m listening to on there would solve the problem of always having to listen to audiobooks in the car. First of all, my son understands (perhaps ‘repeats’ is a better word) curse words now, so lots of books are out. Second, he gets tense and whiny when there’s a tense scene in the book. Not good. Plus, he loves air guitar and drums, so I’d rather let him enjoy music.

In comes Audible. I can listen to my book anywhere. Except, I’m really picky. I check out two or three audiobooks from the library each trip. I usually only listen to one all the way through. If I don’t like it, or I’m not looking to listen to the next installment, I give up on it and return it. With Audible, I feel like I have to choose so carefully because I’m paying for it. My first selection was Atonement and I could care less about it. (To be fair, I’m only on chapter 5 or 6, so I haven’t really given it a chance.) Now I have another credit sitting in my Audible account, and I’m kind of gun shy. I don’t want to waste it.

My first idea was to try out books from the library, and then, if I love the book, use my Audible credit to get it. But with the last audiobook I listened to, The Expected One, I felt like I already had it for free, and it would be wasteful to return the free book just to purchase the same book from Audible.

There’s one other problem. Lately, when I have the chance to listen to my iPod, I catch up on episodes of Slate’s Political Gabfest, This American Life, or Real Time with Bill Maher. Which is also why I haven’t given Atonement it’s proper attention.

So is the problem time? Maybe. How do I best use my time?

How do people deal with these dilemmas?

Please understand that I appreciate the bounty of my blessings as I write these things. I know there are people who can’t read, who don’t have books, who don’t have libraries, who can’t afford iPods or Audible accounts. These things don’t really help me. They just make me feel guilty.