Although being on the road for a good amount of the start of this week wasn’t great for my actual book-in-hand time, it did mean that I finally listened to all those podcast advertisements and checked out Audible.com! Audible is a great website/iphone app that allows you to easily download and listen to audiobooks. I’ve never been the biggest audiobook person, mostly because the CD player in my car has been busted since 2005, but I figured I’d give it a chance. And what did I pick for my free audiobook? The book I’ve heard about from a million, zillion people this summer:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
It’s very hard to discuss this book, as it is so full of twists and turns that I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone. To give the briefest of outlines, Nick Dunne’s wife Amy goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. As he searches for the truth behind her disappearance, he uncovers more about her and their relationship than he’d like to know. The narration switches between his side of the story and Amy’s, which gives a great dimension to the relationship. Do we ever really know our significant other? How can a relationship look so different to the two people who are in it?
I highly recommend this one as a easy, fun, but dark summer read. Oh, and if you want to feel glad about being unmarried, read this. I promise you’ll be happy to be single.
The experience of listening to this on audiobook was interesting. They use two different narrators, one male and one female, to read the alternating chapters, which I think helped with really clarifying whose viewpoint we’re getting. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a true audiobook fan. I find myself getting a bit too distracted, especially after listening for a few hours in a row. I like the actual physicality of running my eyes across a page (or an ereader!) a lot more. But, on a three day, 26 hour road trip, this certainly helped to pass the time.
In this charming, slim novella, Alan Bennett asks, “What if Queen Elizabeth II was a voracious reader? What would she read? How would she relate to it? What would the general public think?” This book is nothing but fun for someone who loves to read and maybe has a slight interest in the British monarchy. I love to imagine Queen Liz sitting around, corgis at her feet, reading Nancy Mitford. Darling.
It also includes a couple of delightful passages about the sheer joy of reading.
‘But Ma’am must have been briefed, surely?’
‘Of course,’ said the Queen, ‘but briefing is not reading. In fact it is the antithesis of reading. Briefing is terse, factual and to the point. Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting. Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up.’
‘Pass the time?’ said the Queen. ‘Books are not about passing the time. They’re about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, Sir Kevin, one just wishes one had more of it.’
Agreed, dear Queen, agreed.