Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Audio Roulette

As picky as I am when choosing books, I can't afford to be when settling for audio. Unless I'm willing to fork over thirty-five or forty bucks for a one-time listen--and I'm usually not--I often have to rely on the library's selection (far too many Danielle Steel and Nicholas Sparks for my taste) or what I can find at outlets. Recently, I've gone through a mixed bag. Of the last three I've gone through, I honestly can only remember two titles. One, London Is the Greatest City in America, I honestly bought because of the title (and the price), and it certainly proves the old adage, don't judge a book by its cover. I thought it was simple figurative.

I honestly considered a one-line review: I just finished London Is the Greatest City in America. You shouldn't even start it. I suspect the author thought of the (somewhat) clever title and managed to try to build a novel around it (which had almost nothing to do with London, by the way). The narrator was annoying at best, and she seemed to come from a family people with commitment issues. Enough said.

My last book, though, was certainly memorable: Josh Bazell's Beat the Reaper is certainly not my usual cup of tea, but I couldn't quit listening. The main character is a former mob hit man, now a doctor, an intern, in the witness protection program. The story could easily be an airplane book, the language was salty, to say the least, but the edgy humor kept me going. The story moves back and forth between the present day, when he finds himself at risk again when one of the patients on his rounds ends up being a mobster who recognizes him and leaves orders to have him killed in the event of his (imminent and unavoidable) death, and the flashbacks, when his entrance to the mob follows his discovery of the grandparents who are raising him as the victims of a hit, probably by a mobster wannabe being "made."

I particularly found the lurid details of the medical world interesting, so I was glad I didn't his "eject" as the music started up to signal the end. I listened halfway through the credits and heard the disclaimer, warning not to take any of the medical information as factual. Now I have to wonder--which was true and which wasn't? I don't ever plan to follow the process outlined in the novel for removing one's own femur to use as a knife, but I wonder about some of the facts about how much insurance money goes toward patients who only technically live, in the absence of a DNR--do not resuscitate--order.

This is the time of year when I get more of my book fix through audio, since my sitting on the couch time at night requires massive essay grading, but my drive time is all my own. Fortunately, in just over a couple of weeks, I'll have the whole summer ahead of me--and I have a big stack of books just waiting.


b said...

Nancy, so glad to have met you yesterday and made the connection between your name and Poetic Asides. I read Sondie a few of your poems as we drove home yesterday and I'm looking forward to curling up with your book and a cup of coffee (I hope!) one afternoon this week.

I love audio books and listen to them on my 1/2 hour drive back and forth to work. I depend on our local library which has a very good selection. My favorite, I suppose, would have to be Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. So very well done! But there are many, many more I've loved. Here's a link to my blog and audio reviews:


I look forward to connecting again, maybe in Hickory!


Nancy said...

Belinda, Thanks for leading me to your blog. I'm ALWAYS trying to find good audio books. Do you check them out or download? I'm trying to learn to do that.