Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thoughts on Reading

You can't read and drive at the same time. Well, you could, I suppose, but you might run into a bridge or something worse. I like to listen to audio books as I drive--makes the driving more interesting. I confess that I am an intense bookworm, even the audio kind. Reading is the best entertainment of the world, and listening to books is an excellent substitute.

That’s usually true. However, a recent one I heard was Emma, an unabridged (every last word) Victorian novel by Jane Austen. This book was almost interminable, as the characters conversed on and on about every possible subject, not many of much consequence, mostly relationships. One day as I was agonizing with Emma and her friend Harriet, I thought, This would make a good play, but as a book, it is hard to take. But I was determined, so I gritted my teeth and stayed with it to the long-suffering, happily-ever-after end.

Then I rented the movie, and it was delightful. I was right about it making a good play. Gwyneth Paltrow was perfect in the role of Emma. It was considerably abridged. I even cried at the end.

After that one, I checked out the audio book of Pride and Prejudice, another novel by Jane Austen. Why did I do that? I still don’t know. But after one fifty-mile trip with it, I couldn’t take it any more, and I returned it to the library. I will rent the movie.

I generally love huge, long novels. Last year, when I was going on a three-hundred-mile trip, I bought the unabridged audio version of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It had over twenty CDs, and I was completely engrossed in that story. I adored Gone with the Wind and Les Miserables and the Mark of the Lion series of three long novels. James Michener’s 900-page The Source and John Irving’s gigantic A Prayer for Owen Meany held me enchanted.

But Emma. Please….no!

The picture was borrowed from Life magazine: http://images.google.com/hosted/life/

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