Monday, July 2, 2012

I heard a book I wish I'd read instead.

Recently I listened to Toni Morrison's Tar Baby.  I don't mean for this to be a formal review, just my observations.  I wish I had read the book as it did not work for me as an audiobook.  Although the narrator, Desiree Coleman, has a lovely, clear voice that was easy to listen to, she didn't really differentiate between the characters and I would get lost, wondering who was talking at the moment.  That would not have been so hard to do with a well placed he said or she said.  The novel seemed to drag until the middle of the story but I think it would not have done so on a written (or Kindle) page.  I couldn't seem to connect with or care about any of the characters and when I finally was sympathetic to one character, I could not feel empathy.  Tar Baby is a thought provoking novel and would be excellent to read for a class or book club.  It just doesn't work for audio.  I actually found myself washing dishes and doing laundry without my mp3 player. But the next audiobook did work!  I ended up with a tidy house that I barely remembered cleaning. 

Sometimes I have odd reasons for choosing what I listen to.  I was happily clicking on links in audiobook blogs and websites when I came across a post by narrator Peter Berkrot.  I didn't remember hearing any of his work so I quickly went to my local library's website and did a search for audiobooks narrated by Berkrot.  I didn't find the one I was looking for but I did find Death is a Lonely Business by Ray Bradbury.  Due to Bradbury's recent death, I chose it to listen to.  This is now my favorite work by Bradbury and Berkrot has joined the list of my favorite narrators. 

I have read a few reviews of this book.  Some like it, some say it wasn't Bradbury's best work.  I loved it!  One reviewer called it a "quirky blendings of creepiness and humor, innocence and decadence, nightmare and cartoon." I totally agree and I honestly don't see how Berkrot kept a straight face reading some of those "laugh out loud" lines.  One line that cracked me up, "I won't go shoveling horse flops to find the horse"  (said to the young writer by the local detective, who didn't believe another murder had occurred.)

I know it is an old work, one I seemed to have missed in my science fiction/fantasy phase, but I'm so glad I found it. 

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