Sunday, August 26, 2007

Plan-tag-e-net, adj.

For my birthday this year, I was given an Ipod. The idea was to bring my tune-whistling equipment into the 21st century and away from the single cassette/CD playing boombox of 1992 that just wouldn't die. It was fine boombox. Fine enough for a ten year just discovering his taste in music. And so it has a new owner, proud to not know what a cassette tape even is. And I....I love my new Ipod. I gather that everybody loves their new Ipod, only for different reasons. My BIG reason, other than being able to fit every CD I own and still listen to on it with a mere 22GB left to fill, is audio books! Love the audio book. High prices and sketchy reviews rein this world of highly literate audio action, but I don't care. I (used to) love reading before my kids needed reading to and the internet replaced that special time we all make for page turning and immersion into the art of words. And while I do still read most nights, much of the effort leaves me with broken moments only remembered for the purpose of avoiding another literary deja vu. It can be very frustrating. Especially when you find yourself thinking of all the things you could be doing with your hands at the same time; drawing, knitting, folding laundry, scrubbing toilets......ok, that might be pushing it just a little. But you get the idea.

So anyway, I was given a copy of,"Harry Potter and the Order of something something", you know, the one the new movie is named after. An excellent unabridged 26 hrs. about a character I didn't know I cared a thing about. Very full of angst, that kid. However, what I missed most at it's conclusion was the old English accent of the narrator and drawl of strange names and new words that seem terribly overused after you've heard them more than twice in what amounts to 500...600+ pages of writing. I must be hard to please. Anyhoo, it took a lot of research, a few stand-in podcasts and even a couple of Ray Bradbury radio clips and short Sherlock Holmes stories before I found my next "old English" fix. I found it though, A mere 13 hr. commitment, short based on my previous experience with that Potter kid, to "Mistress in the Art of Death, " by Ariana Franklin. Truly excellent.

I can only describe it, in audio drama terms, as CSI: Cambridge, England circa 12th century. A female doctor, who "talks to the dead," from Salerno, Italy is sent to Cambridge, by request of King Henry II, to clear the name of the local Jewish community as "baby-eaters", basically. It had all the layers required of a good whodunit; a couple of worldly pilgrimages, deception of female vocation, at least one ax-wielding eunuch, much historical reference to religious bigotry, freaks in antlers dancing around womb-like chalk caves....oh yeah, it was all there. But what I will miss most, now that it's plot too has neatly rounded to conclusion, is hearing all the new names and the new words that will, no doubt, be stuck in my head like a tune on the radio. Words like, "Plantagenet", "Sir Rowely," "S-a-l-e-r(roll on tongue)-n-ooo." Words I suddenly feel the need to look up, curious to know why I didn't know them(better, in some cases) before, exactly as if I'd read them from a page in the book....



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Blogger ladylinoleum said...

I too love audio books. Unfortunately I rarely read more than 10 or so pages per night from my actual honest to goodness paper-based tomes. So, an audio book is a wonderful alternative. I am listening to Dune now, a book I just love.

I am assuming you have discovered Audible...

4:12 PM  

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