Monday, March 22, 2010

Books on CD

In addition to reading books, I also really like to listen to them. I first started doing this on long car trips and then as a way to pass the time on my morning commute. Now I use them to keep occupied during mind numbing activities like cleaning the bathroom or folding laundry.

I don't necessarily think of this as "reading" per say, but it's worthwhile entertainment to me. I generally favor series mysteries because they don't make you work that hard when you are also focusing on another task. Also, series books usually have the same narrators who literally bring that character to life. It's very important that you like the narrator or you will be unable to listen to very much of the book.  I once listened to a Sherlock Holmes that I could only stand for about 5 minutes. It's very disconcerting when the reader doesn't sound like "your" version of the main character.

I get all of mine at the library because I will not listen to a book more than once.

My favorites include:

Judy Kaye as Kinsey Millhone. I'm currently listening to U is for Undertow, by Sue Grafton. I've read or listened to listened to all of Grafton's books, but I prefer to listen because Judy Kaye does the voice so well.  Grafton's plots are complex but make sense. This particular book is 11 CD's and 14 hours long. That's a lot of toilets. I have also painted rooms to this series.

George Guidell as James Qwilleran in all of Lilian Jackson Braun Cat Who mysteries. These are just ok from a readability standpoint but when George Guidell speaks as  he makes me want to be the 60 year old librarian, Polly Duncan out to dinner with the distinguished  Qwill of the Qwill Pen Column in Moose County.

Michael Prichard reading Rex Stout's Nero Wolf series. He's a perfect Wolf and a perfect Archie. Stout's books are classic in the mystery genre. What more do you need?

My all time favorites books to listen to on tape are the Ladies No 1 Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith read by Lisette Lecat.  Her melodic rendering of Botswana Detective Precious Ramotswe compliments the richness of the stories perfectly. These are actually books I love to physically read  (and have read a few) , however, the recordings are SO  good that I usually listen. I should probably write an entire post on these books. While the books are about a detective agency, the crux of the stories is always human nature, not the mystery being solved. If you've never read these you are in for such a treat! Precious Ramotswe is one of my favorite characters and this Wikipedia write up of her does her better justice than I can. I often wonder if Alexander McCall Smith is not really a woman because of how completely accurate he is is his characterization of Mma Ramotswe. (Mma and Rra are the formal terms of greeting and respect in Botswana. Mma is pronounced ‘Ma’, with a gentle m sound and a shortish a.)  You will fall in love with the books (or recordings, whichever route you choose!)

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