Friday, November 19, 2010

Jonah and the whale

I don’t have a lot of time to sit down and read books. I’m too busy watching TV. But watching TV is difficult when I’m commuting, what with the need to keep it at 80 while I’m glued to the bumper in front of me and updating my Twitter status and all (though I would never text while driving). So I listen to audiobooks.

Audiobooks are awesome. It’s like story time when I was in elementary school but even better because there aren’t little girls doing each other’s hair or boys picking their noses or trying to give each other buttercups. I’ve read, or rather had read to me, various novels, memoirs*, and even some non-fiction that I would never have made it through otherwise.

*I’m particularly fond of the memoirs of men who are gay or grew up the sons of alcoholics in Depression-era Ireland and highly recommend Dry, Running with Scissors, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and Angela’s Ashes. Angela’s Ashes I haven’t finished yet, but it’s way awesome so far. I started it after a succession of Hemingway books following which I didn’t think I could bear any more Hemingway because it was too depressing. Turns out Hemingway’s stories are like the Brady Bunch meets Leave it to Beaver by comparison. But it’s still worth reading, as is For Whom the Bell Tolls.

But the “had read to me” part is important. Because the reader* matters. A lot. Some books are fantastic on their own but made even better with a good reader. The Book Thief is one of those. Other books I can tell would have been more enjoyable with a better reader.

*I have a hard time saying “the reader” after that creepy (but good) movie of the same name where Kate Winslet plays the illiterate Nazi cougar. I even considered titling this post “the reader” but couldn’t bring myself to do it because of the association.

One book that it never even occurred to me to listen to as an audiobook is the Bible. Because quite frankly I don’t think there’s a reader alive who could keep the passages with all the begats or the various and sundry rules about how to treat unclean women or how to properly slaughter sheep from becoming terminally boring. Or at least I thought that until I saw this video.

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.

I would totally listen to the Bible as an audiobook if she were telling the stories. Hallelujah.