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Archive for the ‘Audiobooks’ Category

When I first moved to Lowell about 20 years ago, I got interested in Jack Kerouac and was intrigued by a reference in “On the Road” to a book by Eugene Sue entitled “The Mysteries of Paris.” I often thought I should find the book and read it, but, in those pre-internet days, never did track it down.  Recently, while (finally) reading “The Proud Tower” by Barbara Tuchman, I was reminded of this long-ago impulse when I read that Eugene V. Debs was named after two authors (Sue and Victor Hugo). I decided to do some googling and learned that Sue’s novel, serialized in 90 parts from 1842 to 1843, had been so popular it had spawned a “city mysteries” genre.  The article added that Michael Chabon had written a book in 1988 as a tribute these works.  At is happens, that book, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” is sitting, as yet unread, but highly anticipated, on my nightstand, purchased after listening to and thoroughly enjoying “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.” For some reason,  I didn’t draw a connection between the two titles until the Tuchman reference started me thinking of the earlier work. I immediately opened up and started enjoying “Pittsburgh” and may yet get around to “Paris.”

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Audio Austen

While on a roadtrip to Virginia (11 1/2 hours with minimal stops), I listened to an audio version of Sense and Sensibility, read by Nadia May (Blackstone Audiobooks; 2000).  At first I thought her voice was too strident, but that impression evaporated almost immediately.  She does a fine job with the different voices, crucial with Austen which is very dialogue-heavy, and you always know who is speaking.  She did two favorite characters, Mrs. Jennings and Sir John Middleton, to perfection. 

While I have read all of Austen’s books many, many times and seen every film adaptation, I had never listened to them, but now that I have heard one, I must hear them all.  The exquisitely chosen language rewards the ear with every speech and phrase. It is a true delight, and one does not have to quarrel with casting or director’s choices of which scenes to leave in or take out as with a movie. 

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