This is a screen pic of my Audible App on my iPhone. It has changed my life! OK, not really; let’s just say, I’m finally appreciating the genius of audio books.
I spent most of Friday faffing about on my computer, playing Bejewel(l)ed Blitz, planning new things to do with my sewing machine and reading a book by way of listening to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. That’s right, I can do silly stuff at the same time as improving my mind! When I drove to France, I listened to Anee Boleyn’s downfall in Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies there and back (Not that driving is a silly thing, of course, but when you’re driving a long way on your own, listening to someone tell you a story is brilliant. So I have discovered). I’ve been using Audible audio books for a few months now and I’m loving it (you can tell by how many words I’m putting in italics. More italics, more love!). I started off choosing and downloading recordings of novels I already had hard copies/Kindle copies of, and would listen to them during the day, while I was doing the mundane everyday tasks that await me. But now, since I’m sort-of used to the audio book scene, I’ve discovered I can read two books at a time- a daytime book and a bedtime book. This makes me more excited than it should really.
It sort of works like this- You go to Audible.com (or whatever the country’s Audible you live in- it’s part of Amazon so I use Audible.de) They tell you the regular price of whichever book you’re interested in is upwards of 20€ but with membership, you pay 9.95€ or you can use a credit which you receive every month with your 10€/month fee. (The credits don’t have an expiry date on them so you can save them up until you see something you really want). There are loads of books to choose from and loads of ways to listen to them, via phone apps, tablet apps and computer. I’ve played my books via bluetooth in Mr Mac’s flash car, on my iPhone while I do the ironing and via iPad, while I shut my eyes and relax a little. It’s a great way to fit more reading time into your life. (Oh, I’m not getting paid for this, by the way, it really is just one of my favourite things right now.) (But, hey, Audible, if you want to send me some extra books for the plug… I’m not above that.)
So anyway, The Secret History was a great “read”. It was published in 1992 but in case you, like me, had never heard of it here’s a bit about it- Six miserable cretins, Richard the narrator and his motley crew, are at university in New England somewhere and meet in Greek class. Richard, joins the other five late in the day but becomes part of their too-close-knit group very quickly. He soon finds out what sort of people he’s dealing with and learns maybe too much for his own good. Despite being quite slow-paced in parts, it’s a very compelling read and despite the author having created six of the most cretinous, intellectual-snobbish characters in the history of fiction, I listened and listened for hours at a time to find out what happened to them. I recommend it. I’ll be listening to/reading more Donna Tartt in the future.
Next up, Infinite Jest, a whopping 54 hours of listening time which I think is good value for my 10€/month membership fee. Infinite Jest is exactly the type of book which would suit me to listen to rather than read for myself. It’s about a gajillion pages long for a start- whose hands are big enough to hold that book? You can be sure I’ll let you know how I go.