Four weeks to go before the big walk! I have been training very regularly. Now that school has started, many of my walks are solo walks once again. My team mate is back in school and running cross country so her days are long. I think she is probably getting in shape with cross country. At any rate, I hope so. We still walk together on the weekends. She doesn’t have the stamina I have, but I expect when push comes to shove her innate fortitude will kick in. Ellie has always been tough. She has played basketball with a broken finger and displayed physical fortitude in many other ways.
A few weeks ago, I started listening to audiobooks when I walk. Now, many poeple who know me know that I have had something to do with audiobooks in my career. Quite a long history with audio, although I wasn’t always an avid listener. I didn’t have a commute by car, tended to be on public transportation and was never a big ipod user. In any case, it occured to me that long hours spend walking through the countryside or on city streets could be tons more entertaining if I could listen to a good book.
The Greenwich Public Library has audiobooks for download. In my former professional life downloading audio was a hugely growing part of the business. In my civilian life, I am getting a glimpse into the way a consumer would think about audio. Despite hours of having discussed and stragegized the technology of downloading audio, actually downloading the files was more of a technological challenge than I could handle on my own. Thank heavens yet again for my IT department who sighed deeply and proceeded to show me how to download.
So far I have passed many enjoyable hours listening to my audios. First I listened to Henning Mankell and an older novel of his called FIREWALL. My friend, Patricia, had often recommended Henning Mankell and I figured this was a great opportunity to try him out. I liked the story and the characters, but got a bit giggly over the endless names ending in “sohn.” Next up was Patrick O’Brian’s MASTER AND COMMANDER. I read the book years ago and have seen the movie. Nothing wrong with watching Russell Crowe play Jack Aubrey. My friend, Philip, and I used to chuckle over one particular scene in the film, “the lesser of two weevils.” Jack Aubrey humor. It was good to revisit the story. Blackstone Audio was the publisher and the recording was fine, although I did pick up two missed edits and must question their quality control. Quality control on unabridged recordings is always an issue because, as a publisher of many books, there are just so very many hours of recordings to oversee and get everything right.
At this point I ran into a rather thorny issue of availability. Because I didn’t want to go out of pocket for my audios and download from someone like Audible (long story former colleagues would understand) and I was listening on an ipod, I had fewer titles to choose from. I needed unprotected files and many publishers protect their files. I decided that it was worth the time and effort to take audiobooks out of the library and rip them into my itunes library. This meant ripping ten to twelve cd’s, but to be honest ripping is much more within my technological skill set anyway. I was sorry to see that the second book in the Jack Aubrey series wasn’t available on cd at my library, but rebounded with a visit to a fantastic old classic, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I have meant to re-read that classic for decades. Cissy Spacek did a good job of reading and I will confess that Atticus Finch will always and forever look like Gregory Peck in my mind’s eye.
I finished TKAM this morning. I was one quarter of the way into my walk and I dove immediately into my next selection, NIGHT FALL by Nelson DeMille. Sometimes after finishing a moving book, I need a break, but at least this was so different that I began listening with a complete change of pace. And, I must confess, that having gotten quite a ways into the story during my eight mile walk, I am kind of itching to get back out and listen some more. When he is on, Nelson DeMille can tell a great story and I like his characters.
So, this is in a way my busman’s holiday. I am using audio in a way I never could when it was part of my career. I can experience from a much more detached point of view, the process of accessing and listening to audiobooks. They really are tremendous entertainment. I never have enough time to read and now I can listen when I am doing other things…all the old chestnuts ring true. I figure I can knock off a few more books in the next four weeks and that audio will make the miles fly by.