Reader's Exchange

When nothing but second best will do

We're frequently asked for reading advice--which author to try if you've finished everything by your favorite writer, which book comes first in a series (and whether that matters)--but almost never queried for listening suggestions.   Most readers have assessed their needs in this case, whether it's suspenseful fiction to prevent drowsiness or an assigned classic to facilitate multi-tasking.  My requirement is even more practical.  

Audiobooks usually correlate with navigation--road trips, commuting, fitness walking.  If you are as directionally challenged as I, you are obliged to devote extra attention to the goal of reaching your destination on the first try.  When walking a familiar route, I may safely choose any sort of audio literature, secure in the knowledge that muscle memory will deliver me back home after I become completely absorbed in the story.  Driving is another matter. 

While I prefer KUT or music for local driving, nothing but audiobooks will suffice for longer trips--excursions that demand awareness of imminent turns, distances between points, and the voice of the GPS (where have those been all my life?).  So, for highway consumption I seek out thrillers that are only moderately suspenseful, nonfiction that is reasonably interesting but not enthralling, and--above all--humor that isn't too funny.

David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day (read by the author, no less) has been deleted from my "approved for driving" list for all time.  Enjoying this fine production during a Kansas-to-Texas run, my husband and I were caught off guard by an especially riotous passage.  We found ourselves literally doubled over and snorting with laughter in the midst of city traffic.  Thank goodness I married a natural navigator; if I'd been alone I would surely have ended up in Arkansas.   


levisque67 said:

I've been wanting to read this book for quite awhile; now, having read your comments, I'm going to have to add it to my reading lists. Because once I put something on a list, it gets done! (Yeah, right.)

# August 12, 2009 9:04 PM

display booths said:

I've never thought of laughing as a danger when driving. I suppose now they have to issue tickets for DWL (driving while laughing). On a serious note, before we recently went to Italy, my wife was learning Italian with an audiobook. It made me nervous when she was driving as I'm not sure where her focus was...


# August 13, 2009 8:47 PM
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