I recently finished listening to Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. I also read the book. That is to say that when I left the car, I didn’t want to leave the story so in addition to the audio I got a copy of the book. I opened it here and there and read portions that I had already heard and then continued reading. Weird, perhaps, but it filled my need to have the story available when I wanted it rather than only when I was driving.
Other books I have enjoyed listening to and recommend: Faithful Place by Tana French (and what a reader Tim Gerard Reynolds is! I kept looking over at the passenger seat expecting him to be there.); The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee and The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, both excellently read by Orlagh Cassidy.
I’m afraid that I’m overly discriminating when it comes to how a book is read. There are readers who do it well, while others only succeed in making me flinch. If a book is read too slowly (argh, just that one-second-too-long break between sentences; Christina informed me that turning music on and off for a beat or two is used as a method of torture); or too melodramatically; or when some readers attempt to make each characters’ voice unique, I just can’t listen. I am silently screaming, "Read to me; just read to me."
Books read by their authors are a 50/50 deal: Hosseni reading The Kite Runner was exceptional; Sue Miller reading Lake Shore Limited was nice – not too this, not too that. Just right. Others are not so adept. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson was great, but then with At Home, I liked the content, but not his voice. It’s a gamble.
Picky, picky, picky, that’s me. Still, I like listening. Here are a few more I’ve enjoyed listening to:
- Any Jane Austin
- Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
- (Actually, most classics)
- Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
- Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
- Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
- Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
- Heat by Bill Buford
- Anything by Alan Furst
- Any Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspeare
- Any Donna Leon (English with an Italian accent, but still okay).
- The English American by Alison Larkin (Read very well by the author!)
Alec suggests listening to Acacia by David Anthony Durham. Whether he will staff pick it is yet to be determined, but here again, the narrator, he says, was fabulous.
Linda recommends David McCullough’s The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. She says: “The voice is so special. Hearing him read it was exciting – and I learned French that way!”
Now I’m going to drive home listening to Rachel Maddow’s Drift. She is one energized woman and a good reader so I’m going to listen up. You, too, I hope.