Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Somewhere on NPR I came across some podcasts called "driveway stories," a perfectly clear description as far as I am concerned. Since I am as much an avid listeners as an avid reader, I covet car time when I have an excellent book on CD. When I don't have something good on audio, I actually get a little twitchy.
Since an average book is around 8 or 9 CDs, I don't exactly fly through them either. I don't cheat and listen in the house, and when I carpool, I don't inflict them on my passengers. I do, however, catch myself sometimes sitting in the garage once I arrive at home (or in the parking lot at work), listening until I get to a good stopping place. I listened to much of the Harry Potter series in the garage, and I even cheated and listened to the last two or three chapters in the house.
Today, though, I arrived home to a power outage with just a track or two left on one of the most entertaining audiobooks I've heard in a long time, Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. I hadn't read anything of his until The Graveyard Book; then I came across this set on sale at Tuesday Morning. The characters, especially Fat Charlie Nancy, are wonderful. The writing is clever and suspenseful, with a quirky mix of fantasy. The reader (whose name I'll check and report later) is one of the best I've heard so far. I catch myself laughing out loud as I drive and--as strange as it must look to cars around me--I even clap sometimes. It's the kind of book that makes me eager to share with a friend so I can talk about it.
The book blends folktale (Anansi tales, the predecessors to Uncle Remus stories), literary allusions, murder, white collar crime, cliches and word play. The bad guy (who has the same last name as my own maiden name) gets his comeuppance, and the goofy romances even promise to turn out right. I'm either going to have to go break my usual rules and play during carpooling tomorrow, or I'm going to have to go outside in the garage right now and finish.