Friday, September 23, 2011
On the Road Again
As a publishers’ sales rep I spend a lot of time in my car driving to libraries and bookstores, or just the office. In January someone gave me a gift of The Room on CD, and since then I’ve become hooked on listening to books in my car. Now, getting caught in traffic on the QEW is much less aggravating.
The Toronto Public Library has a wonderful selection of books on CD. When it comes to listening to books, fiction works best, and one of my recent favourites was The Help. It is performed like a play, with different actresses taking on the voices of various characters. (I think I developed a slight southern drawl during the week I spent listening to this). A surprise hit for me was a spiritual book called, The Shack. It’s a story about a man who spends a weekend at a shack where he meets and talks with God. I also got very involved in all the Jackson Brody literary mysteries by Kate Atkinson. They’re very dark, but Atkinson is a beautiful writer who is very good at creating characters with a lot of depth. Start with Case Histories and you won’t be able to stop until you’ve listened to all four books in the series.
Unfortunately, non-fiction doesn’t work as well on CD, but the exception is biography because it’s usually got a strong narrative like fiction. I was surprised that I enjoyed My Life by Keith Richards as much as I did – even though I still think the guy’s a jerk. It's read by Johnny Depp, Keith Richards and a British actor. However, my favourite biography on CD is When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub, a Hollywood producer who started in the music business managing John Denver. He also has some great stories about working with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and many contemporary and actors like George Clooney. With a distinct Bronx accent, Weintraub reads his own story for the audio, and it’s an entertaining, funny and poignant tale of a very interesting and full life.