Auto + Audio = Blissful Silence!

Books mentioned in this post:

Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 1)

C.S. Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew

Hank the Cow Dog

Avi – The Good Dog

David Foster Wallace – Consider the Lobster

Didn’t get an awful lot of reading done on vacation, though why that should be surprising I don’t know.  I never do, but still I insist on bringing a crap ton of books along on every trip.  I can’t go anywhere without them, even knowing reading time is nearly non-existent on vacations. It’s a comfort just knowing they’re there.  Then again, keep in mind I’m the person who has the post 9/11 preparedness bag filled with books like War and Peace and Our Mutual Friend.  Not bloody likely I’d have time to read with the world blowing up around me, but damned if I’ll be without quality reading.  If I’m going down I’m going down with literary guns blazing, drat it!

[2013 Note: For some reason I neglected to mention my husband’s disdain for the thought anyone would bring books, of all things, if the threat of Armageddon were pending. Books? Who would have time to READ?!

I would, that’s who. And a large percentage of the studio audience. Who wouldn’t want to bring books along? What is life without books?

Don’t need to mention this but my husband is very much not a reader. In face, I believe he may be the Anti-Reader.  And this makes for an interesting relationship, you may be sure.]

Despite the lack of much print book reading, audio books worked out beautifully this trip.  My children were riveted and QUIET, all was right with the world.  We listened to the first book in the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” series:

My daughter and I have actually read this one before and we’ve seen the movie (filed in my memory under “bad experiences involving demon-like acts perpetrated by badly behaving children, during children’s birthday parties (SEE:  hormone-induced insanity), but the audio book was still a treat.  Tim Roth was the reader and did an absolutely brilliant job of it, too.  Such a delightfully dark tale, though listening to the book it seems all the more grim that old Count Olaf is drooling over the 14 year old Violet Baudelaire.

In a word:  ICK.

Aside from that I love, love, love that sort of dark humor.  Childhood is very lord of the flies, no matter how some try to sugarcoat it. A whole lot of it’s misery, especially if you’re the kid who doesn’t fit in. And guess who had that distinction?


Next up was the first in the classic mystery series “The Chronicles of Narnia.” We listened to The Magician’s Nephew (which was WONDERFUL) and started on The Lion. the Witch and the Wardrobe, but disc two in that particular set turned out to be CRACKED.  Agonizing to have the children perched on the threshold of Narnia and not find out what happens. I was as upset as they were not to be able to progress, especially considering we still had half of Nebraska and all the width of Iowa to suffer through. If I could have I’d have found someplace to buy another copy of the damned thing. It was just that upsetting.

We also listened to several dog-themed books, including two in the Hank the Cow Dog series (preserve me), Avi’s The Good Dog and another with a title that escapes me, about the life of a stray dog.  The latter, ironically, was actually quite good despite my inability to retain any information about it. I’m sure it was the fault of the stunning beauty that is endless Nebraska highway monopolizing my attention.


For myself, I had a listen to an abridged edition of David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster, a book of essays on topics ranging from lobster festivals (with a side trip past “is it cruel to boil lobsters?”) to porn conventions.  Good enough listening, and I enjoy books read by the actual authors.  It just seems right, doesn’t it?  A real writer shouldn’t hire someone else to read his books, unless, of course, said author is inconveniently dead or otherwise unavailable. Or has a grating voice.

Some complain Foster Wallace is long-winded and self-important, but I was entertained.  Does he try a bit too hard to sound intelligent?  Maybe, but it’s also possible he just IS intelligent. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

And I’m not just saying this because he’s actually quite cute, in a long-haired, slightly frumpy/hippy sort of way:

Certainly not like me to be shallow!

Stop the snickering.

[2013: Sadly, as we all know, he’d commit suicide two years later.]

Rather pleased I still managed to keep things somewhat literary, even on the road. I read part of the latest issue of Oxford American, too, which is a very worthy publication.  Okay, okay, I also had an Oprah magazine. It went very well with my time spent in laundromats, plus now I have a very firm idea what sort of swimsuit works best with my body type (answer: none).

Can’t get that in The New Yorker, now can we?

Also kept a travel journal but I haven’t had time to even glance through that. It only has the basics, as an outline, so I’ll have to embellish all the nitty-gritty, not-fit-for-family-consumption musings later.

[2013: SURPRISE! I never went back to embellish the trip. As if  you couldn’t have guessed. Life, the universe and everything, that’s why.]

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