"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Road Trip...the audiobook and e-book version

Yesterday my daughter and I concluded our cross country road trip: New York to Washington State. According to Google maps the trip was 2,875 miles and could be driven in 43 hours. Of course, our trip had side trips and wasn't accomplished in a nonstop fashion. Our trip took six days of pretty intense driving and we got home yesterday around 7 pm.

While on the road we listened to audiobooks. In the evenings and on the plane ride to New York, I read e-books. Here is our road trip in books:

Seattle to New York (flight)
  • The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin (e-book)--- I put in a request for this book after the famous fantasy writer died earlier this year. Everyone else must have done the same thing so I had to wait a long time to get the book. When it arrived, my husband was pigging the Kindle every evening working on another book so I didn't get a chance to finish it before the due date. I placed another hold on it and this time was able to finish it on my trans-continental trip to join my daughter.  The book is amazing. It was LeGuin's first young adult novel and she wanted to explore the nature of man, how he has to war with himself over uses of power, forming and keeping friends, and accepting self. It is a tremendous book. Published in 1968 it is the first book in a multi-book series.
Every evening
  • Truth Like the Sun by Jim Lynch (e-book)--- Truth Like the Sun is a novel about the 1962 Seattle World's Fair told from two time perspectives, 1962 and 2001. I should want to eat this book up being from the Seattle area and having enjoyed other books by this local author, but I am having a hard time gaining any traction on it at all. Why? I suspect the reason is multifaceted. First, I attempted to read it each night after a long day of driving when I was tired and my eyes were already fatigued. Secondly, the story is told in a very hands-off third person perspective, creating a sense of distance from the characters. But since this is a book club selection for an upcoming meeting I will finish it. Progress: 27%. 
First leg of the trip: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio

  • A Force of Nature by Jane Harper (audiobook)--- Aaron Falk is investigating a company for possible money laundering when his inside connection, Alice, suddenly goes missing while participating in a company outdoor adventure. When her four hiking companions all tell a different story about her disappearance, Aaron is concerned that her cooperation with him has led to her demise. Set in Australia, this mystery had us guessing to the end. The narrator was Australian which made the book more authentic but did cause us a few problems with comprehension. 3/5 stars. 

Second leg of the trip: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin

  • Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer (audiobook)--- Greg Mortenson became famous after he published his book Three Cups of Tea about building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This book, by a well-known author, debunks quite a bit of his story and proves that Greg has not been honest in his stories and his business dealings. Krakauer is a first rate author and works hard to get the details right. Parts of this book did not lend themselves to the audio format, like when the long list of persons included in the story was read out. 4/5 stars.

Third Leg of the trip: Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota

  • Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (audiobook)--- Set in Philadelphia during the beginning days of our nation, Anderson novelizes a true situation--- a yellow fever outbreak that killed nearly 3000 souls. This is a YA book and though the details were interesting, the YA features like the little romance, and the childish past-times made this book drag a bit in the audio format. Long before the story was finished, we were ready for it to end. Several years ago I read a nonfiction book about this epidemic, An American Plague by Jim Murphy and was much more satisfied by it. Often and oddly, listening to audiobooks of YA literature isn't as satisfying as just reading the print version. I think this book would be better in the print format. 3/5 stars.

Fourth Leg: South Dakota--- Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Badlands National Park,  Mt. Rushmore

  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (audiobook)--- this is the only Christie book which was included in the 1001 books everyone-must-read-before-they-die list. Classic Christie with Inspector Poirot conducting the investigation. Both of us decided that we could have listened to Agatha Christie the whole trip. We were shocked by revelation of whodunit. The narrator, Hugh Fraser, kept us engaged. 5/5 stars.
Fifth and sixth leg of the trip: South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington

  • Going Bovine by Libba Bray (audiobook)--- this was a re-listen for both of us. Going Bovine was the Printz Award winner in 2010 and has been one of my favorite YA books of all time. It is hilariously funny and zany, while being extremely sad and poignant at the same time. Cameron is diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease, which has no cure. Instead of spending his final days dying in a hospital he decides he must find the illusive Dr. X and save the world. He embarks on a heroes jouney with two companions: a dwarf named Gonzo, and a yard-gnome named Balder. If it is possible I liked this book better the second time around. Narrator Erik Davies was spot on. Can I give it 6 out of 5 stars? This was the longest book we listened to on the trip. We were half way through Washington the second day of listening before the ending.

  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (audiobook)--- Dimple is on her way to Stanford in the Fall. Before then she really wants to attend a 6-week programming workshop in San Fran. She is ready to get away from her mother who does understand her at all and just wants Dimple to meet a nice Indian boy and get married. Rishi, also from an Indian family, wants to honor his parents and agrees to cooperate with the scheme to find a suitable wife. This YA novel is charming. 1/3rd complete.
We each had several other books on our devices which we didn't get to, or decided we didn't want to listen to. One book club selection, The Leavers, is 15 hours of listening time and we decided that we didn't want to get stuck in a super long story. Two others, The Hag-Seed and Euphoria, didn't strike our fancy after brief previews. While two others, The Nightingale and Goldfinch, Carly wanted to listen to but since I had previously listened to them, we decided against them.

That's all.


  1. What a trip! That's a great way to illustrate the books you read during certain parts of your journey. I would imagine that you're exhausted. By the way, I walked out of the RHS 50th Anniversary event with your beautiful daughters. Such gracious and lovely women!

  2. Boy that sounds like a wonderful trip to take with your daughter and listening to "books on tape" is perfect. I liked both Fever 1793 and When Dimple Met Rashi. Bovine has been on my list to read forever, but I keep reading other stuff. 6 out of 5?! Moving it up the list!

  3. Based on the comments you and Carly made, I must read Going Bovine.

  4. Sounds like an excellent reading trip!! Wow, you fit a lot in. And I think you guys made excellent time - all the way across the country in just 6 days, including some sightseeing. I forgot to ask on your roadtrip post - did you get some good regional food? I did see your cheese curds :) We've never tried those on our trips through WI due to my dairy intolerance, but they sound yummy!

    So, books...my husband and son have read Wizard of Earthsea but I haven't yet. I've been hearing great things about Force of Nature but wondered if it might be TOO creepy for me since we love to hike & used to backpack! Did you read her earlier novel, Dry? I've also heard great things about that one.

    I don't think I could stand to read Three Cups of Deceit. I loved Three Cups of Tea so much (and even donated to his charity) and was heartbroken when the news broke that much of his story wasn't true - just too devastating.

    Can you believe I have never read a Laurie Halse Anderson OR a Libba Bray novel? I have heard such great things about Going Bovine - must try to read it!

    And I just downloaded When Dimple Met Rishi (probably from the same place you did - SYNC) and am looking forward to it.

    Wow, a great road trip AND a great reading trip - lucky you!


    2018 Big Book Summer Challenge


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