Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Window into the soul

Somewhere along the line my library practically did away with limits on audio materials. You can check out up to 50 (!!) CDs and books on tape. I was a bit floored. I used to get around the limits by picking out a few biographies or nonfiction works on CD for road trips. No more!


Another thing that's changed over the past few years is that all the books on tape* are unabridged. (*Yes, I'll continue saying it that way even if I get them in CD format. Kind of like "album.")


Wait. Yay?

Gotta say, I'm a bit self-conscious admitting this, but I prefer the abridged versions on tape. Cause, see, it takes a really long time to read a book out loud. (Aside--I just tried to look up how many hours the audio version of The World According to Garp was. I swear there's no easy way to find the answer to that sort of trivia.) Anyhoo, a 354 page book takes over 11 hours to listen to. No, that's not how long Garp is. Silly reader! Didn't you at least do a hover over the link to see?

Rambly Rambly.

My point. A longish weekend road trip (like say, to Georgia) is about 12 hours round trip. The first hour or so you want to listen to NPR. See how the convention is going, maybe do a little Mandalit del Barco name mimicking--that sort of thing. Same with the last hour. Then you need to factor in the "I really should pay attention" times. Traffic. Construction. Rain. Phone calls. Detours. And sometimes you just want music. So really, chances are good you won't finish a 12-hour audiobook on this sort of trip. The abridged versions, however, last only about 4-6 hours. You can get one of those done. Sometimes two.

But maybe a better argument is that I don't like every single book. So if you begin the 12 hour one and don't like it, then you have to switch to one of your backup books. Repeat that a couple of times, and again--you won't finish.

Of course the reason why I'm embarrassed about this is that abridgement is inherently bad, to literature purists. It tastes of censorship. And smells of bowdlerlization. Enough of my identity is tied up in the insecurity of not being smart enough that I get twinges about this. See? I used the world bowdlerize, fercrissake.

I know I'm overthinking a plate of beans. At least maybe that tendency of mine will help stave off dementia.

These are the books and CDs I checked out today (see blog post title).

A Spot of Bother
Lost and Found
Dinner with a Perfect Stranger
The Boyfriend List
The last two are short. Four and six hours, respectively. We've got a book about religion and Young Adult Fiction. Rawk.

The B-52s Funplex
The Smiths The Queen is Dead
The Cure The Cure
Johnny Cash Love, God, Murder

What do you think all of this says about me?