Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Recently Heard...

On a recent road trip to Shippensburg (and later, about 15 trips to the grocery store), I enjoyed the following audiobooks from the Reading Room:

47 by Walter Mosley. I am a big fan of Mosley's Easy Rawlins mysteries, but realized this young adult novel would be something quite different. This audiobook, one of Ossie Davis' last performances, is a science fiction slavery novel, if you can conceive of such a thing. 47 is a 14-year old slave in the American south, who is magically mentored by "Tall John," loosely based on High John the Conqueror. Tall John is actually an alien visitor engaged in a struggle against the forces of evil and the threatened destruction of the universe. I could hear the traces of Easy Rawlins' honor and integrity in the character of 47 and the personalities of the other slaves were finely drawn. What a unique adventure! Very different and very enjoyable.

David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall. Funny, wicked funny, droll. This reading by Sedaris includes hilarious takes on his sister's secrets, St. Nicholas in the Netherlands, a horrible device called the Stadium Pal that facilitates covert public urination, and a boss with a rubber hand that loses (or gains?) something in French translation. Dryly read/performed by Sedaris to good effect... short and very amusing.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. The reading club consists of five women and one man (they have decided to tolerate him) and they read only Austen novels. The book is very episodic as vignettes from the lives of each of the members are portrayed and I admit that I was sometimes struggling to remember who was who at first. Somewhere around Bedford, I figured it out and found myself eager to hear what was happening with: Allegra, the lesbian daughter; Sylvia, her recently separated mother; the delightfully dotty Bernadette; the mysterious male, Grigg; Pruddie the lustful French teacher; and Jocelyn, the dog trainer and seeming leader of the group. Once into the individual accounts, the stories were fascinating as unexpected tales emerged from the people I just stereotyped above. Good beach read maybe, not profound but entertaining.


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