Tag Archives: audio book

Baby, You Can Drive My Car (and listen to my book)

Let me be the umpteenth person to tell you that I’m so over this winter already.

I mean, I am done. 

Pittsburgh’s daily dose of snow-slush-slop atop Arctic Circle temperatures colder than my freezer has made for some interesting – and somewhat frustrating drives to work lately. One can only listen to the same litany of traffic delays and weather cancellations so many times.

What is a ‘Burgh commuter to do?

Put the pedal to the metal and press play on the audio books, baby.

Before we moved to Pittsburgh, I had a job where I drove two hours – each way! – to work.  Public transportation, sadly, wasn’t an option and nobody else was crazy enough to live nearly 80 miles away from the office, as I did.

So, do the math: four hours behind the wheel every day, multiplied by five days, buys you 20 hours of quality audio book time every week.

I did this for three years.  

That’s a lot of audio books.

Fortunately, here in Pittsburgh my commute is much shorter (and my weekly gas and coffee bills much less expensive), but my love for the audio book is just as strong. I find that listening to an audio book is calming and a nice bridge between work and home. There’s a sense of productivity, too; when I’ve read a chapter or two while languishing in yet another daily backup at Camp Horne Road on 79 or on the Vet’s Bridge, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

If you’re new to audio books or if it has been awhile since you’ve given them a try, these suggestions might be helpful:

This week I’m listening to Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal, by Melanie Warner, which – holy cow! – is this generation’s version of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.

Here are a few others that I recently listened to and can recommend:

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted - CLP

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show A Classic, by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (read by Amy Landon, 11.5 hours). Fans of MTM and those who hold a certain nostalgia for television’s Golden Age of Comedy may enjoy this retrospective, which gives equal time – if not more – to the female writers and the cultural shifts that shaped “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

I'm Looking Through You - CLP

I’m Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir, by Jennifer Finney Boylan (read by the author, 9 hours, 30 minutes). A poignant memoir about identity and becoming one’s true self. The symbolism of growing up in a haunted house on Philadelphia’s Main Line is interwoven with Jennifer’s quest for acceptance of her personal ghosts and discovering herself.

Next to Love - CLP

Next to Love, by Ellen Feldman (read by Abby Craden, 11 hours, 23 minutes). A sweeping historical fiction World War II novel that follows three couples and their families through multiple changes, both in their personal lives and in society.

Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson (read by Scott Brick, 14 hours, 30 minutes).  Set in the midst of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, this is a gripping tale of mystery and intrigue about a little-known part of America’s history.

Want more? On the CLP website, we’ve compiled lists of audio books.

So, while the winter weather may be putting a damper on our abilities to get from here to there, why not make the trip  more pleasant by bringing a book along for the ride?

Beep-beep, beep-beep, yeah!

~ Melissa F.

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Historic, Mystery, Science Fiction

If you enjoy a good audio book now and then but just don’t feel like sorting through the 1,600 (really!) or so titles that we have in stock at any given time, check out our display of historic, mystery, and science fiction titles. Each of the books on these shelves is lovingly hand chosen by yours truly, using an exactingly scientific process and a roll of cheerfully colored stickers. And here’s how I do it.

            

Historic – To me, historic fiction is written in the present but set in the past, where the book’s time period is almost as important to the story as the plot and the characters. For example, although Suite Francaise is set during WWII it’s not historic, because that’s when it was written (it’s just a book that no one bothered to translate right away). But these books have made it into my historic fiction section.

  • Heyday by Kurt Andersen – America, gold rush, blah blah blah. It’s really really long and I couldn’t finish it. Definitely historic, though.
  • The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery – You get two fires in this book, which is about an American orphan in Kyoto in the mid 1800s.
  • The Good German by Joseph Kanon – Don’t misplace your mistress, especially in Berlin, especially in 1945.

Mystery – The easiest way to find a mystery is to look for dead people, or if you’re me, look for the word “mystery” on the CD case. Those who write mysteries tend to keep writing mysteries, so if you find yourself fancying a particular detective you’ll often have many titles to choose from.

  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – Highlight the text between the brackets for a spoiler. (Everyone did it.)
  • Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith – You could argue that this one’s a western (due to the blatant use of cowboys) but it does say mystery right on the cover. So there you go (plus, I don’t have western stickers).
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear – Okay, this one does border on historic since it’s set in the years after WWI. The main character is a charming female private investigator and former army nurse with a tragic love life, intriguing scar, and a sporty little car. What else could you want?

Science Fiction – If there are robots, spaceships, strange planets, hot green alien babes, stuff like that – you’ve got science fiction. Stay away from dragons, though, as that puts you into fantasy territory and I don’t have any fantasy stickers either.

  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov – I will lose a little librarian street cred here by freely admitting that I’ve never read the book, but I’ve seen the movie.
  • Dune by Frank Herbert – Okay, I’m really bad at science fiction. You’ve got me. But Scott likes Dune. So you can go talk to him about it, right?
  • Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan – This one sort of veers into mystery territory, since the main character’s a UN investigator. But he’s also doing his detecting in a) the 25th century, and b) a replacement body. That covers the sci-fi requirements nicely.

And there you have it, the three genres that I’ve managed to label. I’m still campaigning for more stickers (Vampire Porn and Manly Adventure come to mind), but that may take a while. Until that glorious stickery day, you can always ask a librarian.

– Amy

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