Let's just start off with an admission that nothing I finished in February required thought or in any way threatened to change my perceptions of the world. In fact it is questionable whether I can even count two of the the three completed books as reading as I actually listened to them on tape.
First, I actually read One Shot by Lee Child. I picked it up on a whim at the grocery store, knowing it has been rereleased because of the film based on this book. I have little to no interest in the film and even though the book I read was marketed as a film tie-in, I refuse to post a picture of that cover, filled as it is with the all too pretty face of Tom Cruise. I have to admit that I enjoyed One Shot more than some of the newer Reacher novels I have read. The focus on Reacher's code of honor was very strong, on his inner voice that keeps driving him to look for the things that don't fit, for not blindly accepting the easy answer and defending or avenging the innocent. The book is also an interesting analysis of how we tend to sometimes ignore the obvious, how appearances can be deceiving, and how the human tendency to over-do, especially when one is worried about being caught out in something leads to our downfall.
I somehow never really got in the habit of listening to books on tape. I have the capability and a backlog of books, but I always figured that I could actually read the book faster than I could listen to it being read and discounted the functionality of audiobooks. Of course when I was a full time caregiver I couldn't be running around with headphones on becuase I would get so wrapped up in the book I was listening too that I would be completly oblivious to G calling for me. Of course I get overinvolved with the paper variety of books as well, and can completely tune out the real world when I am lost in my reading. Reading or listening I am happy to be able to lose myself in a story again.
I started listening to Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island as entertainment while walking around my neighborhood, the daily 3 mile walk gave me a good period in which to get involved in the book. Little did I know when I started that walking up the hills in my neighborhood would actually make my back worse however, so the walks got shorter and shorter and I started listening to the book while I was working on my needlepoint instead.
I have to admit that I found the story gripping. I am also probably far less critical of a book when I am listening rather than reading. There were sections in the middle of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed as a listening experience but which would have driven me crazy had I been actually reading the book, but I was so thoroughly wrapped up in the story that these niggling thoughts stayed far in the back of my mind. Perhaps I am also more easily lulled by the sound of the voice and find it easier to get wrapped up in the story and suspend disbelief. I did not anticipate the ending; I knew something was amiss, but I was too engaged in the moment to try to figure out what was happening. In the end I was left wondering how much of each of us create our own realities and how much a measure of our sanity depends on how in sync our realities are with those around us.
Next, I listened to Ken Follet's Hornet Flight. I enjoyed listening to this also, and also got wrapped up in the story even as I thought it was rather derivative hash. It was, at least as read, entertaining and the characterizations were probably more engaging as I heard them in my mind than they would have been had I been translating the words on the page. I do think there is something in the human brain that loves the sound of the human voice telling stories and that told stories register differently in our minds, in a different way than do those things we actually read. Anyway it was gripping enough, and has convinced me that I should seek out more audiobooks, especially books by those authors for whom I am not likely to sit quietly savoring the beauty of their prose. As I want to do more needlepoint and needlework in general, books on tape might provide an interesting diversion.
cover of One Shot from goodreads.com
Cover of Shutter Island from Audible.com
Cover of Hornet Flight from audible.com