Monday, June 29, 2009

Adventures with audio books

I started listening to Sword in the Stone while commuting to a gig that was a 40 minute drive from my house. I really enjoyed it because it is so whimsical, so random as my teen sons would say. I can see why JKRowling counts it as an inspiration for her writing. It kept reminding me of the Harry Potter books.

I did not know, however, that when TH White decided to compile his Arthurian books, including Sword in the Stone, into The Once and Future King, that he edited and even rewrote big sections of each individual book. This fact set me up for a major case of befuddlement!

One afternoon when I was home and listening to Sword in the Stone, I drifted off to sleep. I could remember that Arthur was learning to be an owl with Archimedes, and when I started to regain consciousness he was in a giant's castle and King Pelinore was looking for his toothbrush. I wondered what on earth I had missed, but thought, no worries. I'll just re-read the section from our print copy of Once and Future King and continue on with the book.

Only problem was I couldn't find any mention of giants or toothbrushes. I started thinking maybe I had dreamed it all.

The next time I had a chance to listen to it, I started once again at the owl part of the story and once again started drifting off to sleep just as the episode with the giants was starting. Aha! There really is a section with giants, I thought. But the next morning when I once again flipped through the print edition I couldn't find it! I was beginning to think I was losing my mind. I was further perplexed because I also couldn't find in the audio version a section I had seen in the print edition where Arthur has an adventure with storks.

I was a perplexed. Puzzled. Befuddled. And a little worried about the state of my mind.

Fortunately my ds was also listening to Sword in the Stone, and I had told him about my confusion and questionable state of mind. He finally caught up with me in the book and was able to reassure me that there is indeed an adventure with giants, that King Pelinore had indeed been looking for a lost toothbrush! Hallelujah, I wasn't crazy! He was confused that there should be a chapter featuring storks, and was adament there hadn't been one.

I finally looked it up on Wikipedia and learned about the differences between the original Sword in the Stone and the version of it in Once and Future King. What a relief! The Naxos company, for some unknown reason, decided to produce an audio version each original book rather than the entire Once and Future King.

I have also learned that when my eyes start getting heavy to use the "sleep" function on my iPod dock so it shuts down after 15minutes!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

52 Books in 52 Weeks: update

I haven’t been blogging, but I have been reading. I’m up to 30 books now, though at least 9 of them are from a period of binging on Janet Evanovich books. I needed some escapist reads during the hectic month of May, and these provided a good diversion and some laughs. Her earlier books are better as by the 14th book it is getting old to have the protagonist continuing to be such a clutzy dope! Shouldn't she be improving by now?

There have been some other easy fiction reads, too. Garden Spells and the Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society both were predictable but enjoyable reads. Dreamers of the Day was good historical fiction placed in Egypt just after WWI. I enjoyed the first half of the book better than the second half when the author just couldn’t quite leave her academic voice out of the picture.

My 14yo convinced me to read Death by Black Hole, and I’m glad he did. It was intimidating to start simply because learning about astrophysics isn’t really something I look forward to reading for enjoyment, but Neil deGrasse Tyson is an engaging author. I learned so much, and want to go back to reread some sections that left me a little puzzled. What I especially loved was his exacting English that only a physicist can have. It reminded me so much of my physics professor father, and how he would get mad with tv reporters who weren’t exact in their explanations of things. Of how he would explain things. It reminds me of how great it was to have a physicist in the house to explain how things work!