#OpenBook June - Driving with Audiobooks

Welcome to this month's An Open Book!  While the calendar tells me we have entered June, my brain is not convinced that March has ended yet.

Last month's linkup generated quite a discussion about audiobooks, with various recommendations bouncing between blog sites.  While I grew up with beloved memories of my mother reading innumerable classics to me - everything from Little House on the Prairie, to Jules Verne, to Regina Doman's fairy tale retellings - I could never wrap my mind around audiobooks.  Why listen to some unknown person reading a story when I could pick up a hardback and immerse myself, a few pages or a few hours at a time?

Then last summer, adulthood hit like a systemic disease, and in three weeks I had bought a car and moved to Michigan, four hours from my parents' house.  I can manage a four-hour drive, but even music gets old after a while, and it doesn't take long for me to get bored and drowsy.  The Overdrive app lets me borrow audiobooks from the library and download them to my tablet, which I can plug into my car's sound system.  Suddenly, 250 miles of flat, open road (with barely a cow for a change of scenery) became an excursion through the Irish countryside, Discworld, London, or some fantastic landscape.

Over the course of the last nine months, I have burned through the Artemis Fowl series, a handful of Terry Pratchett novels, various fairy tale retellings, the occasional classic, and practically anything that is read in a British accent and not too intense a story.

On my trip home for Mother's Day, I enjoyed a set of Terry Pratchett short stories, A Blink of the Screen, published in 2012.
One of my favorite experiences as a reader is to catch a glimpse into the mind of an author whose work I love.  This anthology, spanning the whole range of Pratchett's writing, and annotated with short introductions by the author, provides that opportunity.

Pratchett has a wry, clever sense of humor, and an instinct for wordsmithing matched by his consummate world-building.  He manages, via a delightful sense of the fantastic, to craft easily-accessible yet profound satire.

If you are in need of a little humorous reading for the summer, I strongly suggest picking up one or two of the Discworld novels/audiobooks - Mort, for instance, or Guards! Guards!, or Going Postal (the one that got me hooked.)  If, about once a page, you try to read an hysterical quote aloud to the nearest rational being, and ultimately find yourself contemplating some facet of human nature, you'll understand the magic of Pratchett and Discworld.
And last weekend, I revisited an old literary friend, Dorothy Sayers.  Oxford scholar, friend of the Inklings, and mystery writer, she is best known (with good reason) for her mystery series featuring the character of Lord Peter Wimsey.  Lord Peter somewhat resembles a mixture of Lord Percy Blakeney, Bertie Wooster, and Sherlock Holmes, yet has his own particular and irresistible flair.

Sayers' novels are the type of mystery that even if you do remember who is the murderer and how they did it, you'll want to read it again just to revel in Wimsey's humor, Bunter's loyalty, Parker's steadiness, and the Dowager Duchess's quirks.  Whose Body, the first of the Lord Peter Wimsey series, sets the reader and characters in media res of Wimsey's sleuthing, as a missing persons case and a mysterious corpse slowly begin to intertwine.

Check out the linkup over at Carolyn Astfalk's blog, and at CatholicMom.  What have you been reading?


  1. Thanks for linking up! I need to read some Dorothy Sayers. I've been meaning to for years. I'm looking forward to listening to Graham Greene's End of the Affair on audiobook soon - read by Colin Firth. I, too, use Overdrive although I always have trouble getting my selections from the website to the app. It all works out in the end though!

    1. Okay, I just started drooling over the combination of Graham Greene and Colin Firth...finding that ASAP!


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