Monday, February 17, 2014

Books on Tape

Yes. That's what I said. Books on tape.

My local library has finally decided to purge the old tape-recording technology. Smile. Smile. Smile.

I still have some of that old technology. I've hung onto a CD player that has a tape player built into the machine.

And my old car, a 2002, still has a tape player on the radio panel. I do have a CD player in the glove compartment, but when I bought this car, used in 2004, I had a few very specific specifications. The seat had to let me sit at an angle close to 90 degrees at the knees and hips. The steering wheel had to be smooth. And it needed an old-fashioned tape player. That was ten years and about 130,000 miles ago, and I've listened to an awful lot of books on tape in that time.

So, the Friends of the Library store has two or three of those carts they use to shelve books packed full of books on tape that they restock as fast as friends of the library can carry them out in plastic grocery sacks.

I am definitely a friend of the library, there at least once or twice a week. And I cannot resist those tape-laden carts lining the hallway between the atrium and the conference rooms. Hey, they're only fifty cents apiece. That's cheaper than what I would pay in library fines, though I'm really trying to get better on that. And now that I have the local library app on my phone, I'm a little more consistent. Just wish it had a reminder feature connected to my list of checked out books.

I love listening to stories. Reading aloud to my children was always built into our days and nights. Now I read to my grandchildren, even long distance. There are many studies that highlight the benefits to reading aloud to children, including developing their vocabularies, enhancing their writing skills, and increasing their ability to perform in other subjects. So why should it be any different for adults. Or for writers!
I keep a book on CD or tape going in my car most of the time, always my choice for listening pleasure over music. It started when my children were teens and we headed out on a road trip. We went from Mrs. Polifax and her CIA adventures to The Cat Who books. I was hooked and just never stopped listening. 

I've listened to these in the last month.

Trustee from the Toolroom by Nevil Shute, read by Frank Mullerpublished in 1960 to starred reviews. Atlantic Monthly said, "A story remarkable for its lucidity and amiability. Trustee from the Toolroom is that rarity in our time, a happy book about a decent and resourceful guy."  A delightful adventure story about an average guy who walks into circumstances he could never have imagined and comes through smiling. I must admit, I was smiling, too.

The Pilgrim of Hate by Ellis Peters is one of the Cadfael Mysteries. The marvelous reader, Patrick Tull, brings the Benedictine brother to life. He reads with the most wonderful sense of timing, stretching words, pausing in the most perfect places. Set in twelfth century England, Brother Cadfael solves all sorts of crimes using his knowledge of herbal lore and his good sense. I love these books that were made into movies by BBC with Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael. Ellis Peters is a pen name for Dame Edith Pargeter who wrote for sixty years and published over seventy books.

The Tristan Betrayal by Robert Ludlum, full of labyrinthine plot twists that had me wracking my brain to keep up until the very last chapter. Published after his death, written by a ghost writer from an outline Ludlum left, apparently this is the seventh book "Ludlum" has published posthumously. Death did not make him a better writer. I liked the Bourne books he wrote in real life better.

The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell, best known for his chronicles of rifleman Richard Sharpe during the Napoleonic wars. (I listened to one of those this month, too, but it was on CD and made it back to the library without fines!) This book is the sixth of the Saxon Chronicles. No, I didn't find one through five, but maybe will go back and find the hard copies. I like the way Cornwell writes, love the way in the heat of battle axes and blood, he suddenly draws your attention to a purple flower growing on the moor or baby rabbits in a hollow on the hillside.

I love a good story. And I love listening to someone read it to me.

1 comment:

  1. What a little gift you've received, Doraine! I love listening too, & still have a way to play tapes, although mostly I'm doing cds now. Happy for you!