Tag Archives: audiobooks

Mississippi Missive

My Dearest Huckleberry,

I’m writing to you from somewhere in Italy.  Rome, I think.  My voyage overseas has carried on a bit longer than I first expected, and this corset is killing me, I can’t wait to kick off my shoes and float barefoot down the river with you. There are some here, but no one seems to take much interest in the finer points of the waterways.  No fishing, no rafting, no swimming.  It’s a bore.

Instead they spend a large amount of time visiting one another, traveling about, and talking in great detail about subjects which bore me to no end.  As of late there has been some drama, but let me tell you, it’s nothing as exciting as finding a dead cat.

And although nearly everyone here is American you would never know it to listen to them.  They’re always dropping la-de-dahs into conversations and although they had to get here somehow it doesn’t seem as if any of them has ever taken a boat ride longer than the journey over the channel.

Most of them are pretty stiff grown-ups.  There is one girl, Pansy, and I think she could really benefit from a little vacation to your neck of the woods.  Instead she’s forced to spend a lot of time hanging out in what seems like and extreme version of Sunday School.

I’m spending my last days in Europe dreaming of the lazy time we spent with Tom’s audiobook over Christmas Break.  It was wonderful to have some adventures with you two, although it would have been nice if you could have helped me out of that uncomfotable situation when my seven year old asked, “Are the Indians bad?”  I’m sure as I fumbled around with that awkward answer about Injun Joe being a bad man, but not being a true representation of Native Americans you were in the background chuckling away, knowing good and well that the young boy would soon follow up with a quizical tilt of the head and, “Mom, I mean the baseball team.  Did Indians lose a lot last season?”

But I forgive you, and in fact I’m even going to come see you again soon.  We’re going to cast aside our riches, grown-up behaviors, and French phrases to hop on a raft with you.  Build us a sturdy one, Huck, we hope to bring along some friends.

Christina Joy

P.S.  Can you read?  Maybe I should have asked that at the beginning of this letter.


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Strategy Games

We had a snow/ice day earlier this week.  I always view these bonus days as the perfect opportunity to take on a “project.”  You know, projects like Dinah’s kitchen drawer, things that would make Miss Ophelia proud.

The disaster area of choice this time was our game and puzzle closet, and I was going to need some sort of fortification or mental stimulation to take on this task.  My weapon of choice:

Portrait of an Audio Book

Surprising, right?  I have done pretty much nothing but complain about Henry James since the beginning of this month, and yet I chose him as my companion while facing this horrendously mundane sorting nightmare.  What was I thinking?  I’ll tell you:  I was thinking that it couldn’t get any worse.

Also, if I could knock off some pages by means of audiobook, that would improve the dismal chapter-a-day average I was barely managing to eek out.  So, I put on the lovely voice of Wanda McCaddon and started separating Uno Attack from Cars Uno and plain ol’ Uno.

As the stacks of cards, dice, and meeples grew, I found time flying.  I even began to regularly smile.  It turns out that The Portrait of a Lady makes a fairly decent read-aloud.

I suppose there are a couple of factors at play here.  The first is that the sweet sound of words replaces the text stretching endlessly for pages without the slightest hint of white space.  I don’t know why paragraphs are so important to me, but they are.

The second, is that when read by a skilled orator, the somewhat laborious descriptions of people and places come off as interesting details delivered with clever and witty poignancy.

So, although never-played games and puzzles missing more than 75% of their pieces are no longer present in our home, I think I may look for some more opportunities to throw down the needle on the old Henry James album.  Who knows, I might survive this novel, yet.


Posted by on February 2, 2013 in The Portrait of a Lady


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Close Your Eyes and Hear the Waves. And Ishmael.

According to people “in the know,”  Moby-Dick is even better if heard aloud.  Here’s Nathaniel Philbrick on the subject of Melville’s poetry,

Moby-Dick is a novel, but it is also a book of poetry.  The beauty of Melville’s sentences is such that it sometimes takes me five minutes or more to make my way through a single page as I reread words aloud, feeling the rhythms, the shrewdly hidden rhymes, and the miraculous way he manages consonants and vowels.

For more on Philbrick’s book Why Read Moby-Dick? check out this great post by our friend Adriana.  She helps buckle up your life jacket and preps you to jump into the whale-infested waters with us.

Then, pop over to LibriVox and you can listen to the entire novel read aloud for free.  It’s broken down by chapter chunks, so you can read a little, listen a little, reread what you’ve heard, or rehear what you’ve read.

I’m even thinking of pulling out one of the old baby swings to play some ambient ocean sounds and really set the mood.


Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Moby-Dick


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The Moral of the Story Is . . .

I am not an athlete.  Nor am I married to an athlete.  Competition just isn’t really our thing.

Or so I thought, until my husband came upstairs the other day and plopped this on the counter.

That’s right.  The Scarlet Letter audiobook.  Strike that, The Scarlet Letter Bookcassette.  And it didn’t seem all that threatening at first.  Then I realized that we still own a “Boom Box” (excuse me while I cringe at that phrase which confirms the fact that I am no longer in my twenties.)

The next thing I knew, he was listening to a mono recording of a deep voice pronouncing words oddly, like “preeternayturally” and “endeevor.”  At the time he was about twelve chapters behind me, and I was happy that he found an additional way to make his way through this classic, since there doesn’t seem to be an abridged version.

It probably should have a picture of a guy doing dishes and folding laundry.

Then I caught him taking a bath while his Kindle lady read to him.  Her pronunciations made Dick Hill of the cassettebook look like a phonetic specialist.  And while it was a little bothersome that a woman was reading to my bathing husband, my concern actually was with how quickly he was catching up.

When I got home from my run the next afternoon I wasn’t feeling particularly speedy, and then when I heard that deep bass voice reading out the very chapter next to mine, my whole world slowed to a turtlesque crawl.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the recording perked my rabbitlike ears.  For I was the hare, and my beloved, the tortoise.  And the faithful, consistent, resourceful, shelled contestant in this unbeknownst competition was crawling towards a win.

You don’t need to know how the fable ended.  Just know that it did. Also know that this rabbit and turtle are still happily married, and it’s possible that the turtle didn’t even know we were in a race.

So, tell me, what is the moral of the story?


Posted by on February 29, 2012 in The Scarlet Letter


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