An informal survey (a questioning of friends) indicates that listening to audio books on both coasts is much more infrequent than the same activity in the Rocky Mountain West. There are obvious reasons for this, both of which, in my opinion, are positive reasons for living in the West: we have to drive long distances to go from destination to destination, and while we are driving, because of the relative lack of population density, we can really concentrate on the books we are “reading.” Of course we have to focus on our driving, too.
Recently I had to drive between New Mexico and Colorado a number of times, and I decided early on that excessive singing along with Led Zeppelin has its limitations. Because the Santa Fe public library has an excellent selection of audio books, I became a frequent patron of that section of the library. I actually looked at both Joyce’s Ulysses and Proust’s Swann’s Way, but I decided that once was enough for both. I listened to Pride and Prejudice even though I’ve read it several times for the beauty of its language, and because I know the story well, it was an enjoyable read. I tried practicing my Spanish using a CD but realized that I might end up on the plains with the antelope or would have to pull over to the side of the road (isn’t that an old John Stewart song? See, the mind wanders far too easily….).
Mysteries are good for the highways. Two of my favorites are Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard and The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid. While traveling, it’s always good to have several choices just in case one or two don’t work out. I tried listening to a popular writer about Tuscany who should have stuck with writing and avoided recording. Another favorite which I will now have to read on paper that simply needs a deeper examination is Charles Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus.
Those of us who are now hooked on audio books have often had to resort to sitting in the driveway, driving around the blocks for a few minutes, or just giving up altogether and taking the book inside to finish it. We invite you to look at the opulent selection of audio books at all three branches of the Santa Fe Public Library and enrich your life.
by JA @ SS