My work season is gearing up. Starting tomorrow - yes, Sunday - I don't have a day off until mid-May. To that end I've been preparing my audiobooks for the work season. That's quite a process for someone as OCD as I am. The first thing I do is decide which of the hundreds of books I have in my library ought to be next on the list. I narrow the list down until I have a range of genres, both fiction and non, that I think I'm going to enjoy. Then I copy those into a folder and divide the book-length files - yes I have some single files that are over 40 hours long - into 30 minute segments with a program called mp3 Surgeon. Then I apply a randomization algorithm to the directory so I'm not listening alphabetically or by size or whatever. I do keep series together and in order, of course. Once this is done, then I place an episode of This American Life between each audiobook to give myself a bit of variety during the day.
Here are the books that are coming up next on my list, in the order that I'm going to hear them:
I've read this one in print a couple times and listening to it read by Stephen King is going to be wonderful I know. It's part writing advice, part motivation, and mostly memoir about his life, career and even the terrible accident he survived. A really great read.
Reader: Stephen King
Length: 7 hours 45 minutes
This is the second book in the Empire of Man series. I don't much like Weber and Ringo's politics and I surely don't like most of their rabid military sci-fi fans, but I have to admit they really know how to spin a gripping tale. To me this is candy reading. It's not very deep, it's fast paced, and it's filled with cliche characters and dialogue. But I'm listening anyway, aren't I?
I listened to book one last year and as is my habit, if I like the first book I'll listen to the rest of the series in subsequent window washing seasons.
Reader: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 19 hours 14 minutes
This is book 3 of the Empire of Man series. See the above description.
Reader: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 17 hours 34 minutes
This is book 4, the final book, of the Empire of Man series. See the above description.
Reader: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 16 hours 03 minutes
I decided to revisit this classic after Dr. Clarke's passing several weeks ago. It just seemed right to do, and there are few stronger stories in the genre than this masterpiece.
Reader: Dick Hill
Length: 7 hours 20 minutes
This is one of those mainstream bestsellers with strong science fiction undertones. It's about a British neurosurgeon who's life is unraveling in the course of a single day - the day the Iraq Invasion began. Past, Present and Future all become jumbled as he tries to sort through the meaning and symbolism that one day brings.
I went back and forth on whether to include this book on the list, but in the end I decided it was worth the time. I can always skip to the next book if I don't like it.
Reader: Andrew Sachs
Length: 10 hours 53 minutes
This just looks cool to me. It's about all the discoveries that other cultures weren't credited with, like the fact that five millennia ago the Sumerians concluded that the earth was round. He explores evidence of other findings, inventions, and discoveries from the people of the Middle East, India, China, Africa and Oceania, as well as Mesoamerica. I want to know about these things, the stuff that our Euro-Centric culture doesn't emphasize.
Reader: Peter Johnson
Length: 14 hours 38 minutes
This 1986 book is an expansive look at the history of the genre from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein on. It looks to fill in a lot of my own knowledge of the subject and give me more background on what's been done, by whom, and where the genre can expand. Okay, I'm a geek. Sue me.
Reader: Lou Harpenaue
Length: 28 hours 16 minutes
When I hear about great new writers in the genre, Stross's name comes up as much as anyone's. This one is supposed to be a multi-generational story that takes into account nanotechnology, star travel and age-defying bio-science. It looks wild and fresh.
Length: 19 hours 14 minutes
This is Martin's autobiography, but more as he puts it - it's the story of exactly how he gained his success and what kind of work and dedication went into it. He doesn't gloss over the parts where he failed and failed again and what he studied and learned in order to become a top comic, top banjo player, and best-selling writer. I'm interested, naturally.
What's better is that it's read by Steve Martin.
Reader: Steve Martin
Length: 4 hours 03 minutes
The Bataan Death March was one of the most horrific atrocities committed - and it was against our captured soldiers. This book is supposed to be a sensitive and compelling telling of that event. It's supposed to be as engaging as a novel and without the minutia of normal military histories. And it's about something about which I have limited knowledge.
This was at the top of my must-reads.
Reader: James Naughton
Length: 4 hours 52 minutes
I love Mark Twain's writing and I don't know how I let this book slip past me all these years. I'm correcting that oversight this season. From stagecoach travel to prospecting, this is the supposed tale of Twain's many misadventures. I suspect much of it is of the pulling your leg kind, but then that's what I want from Twain.
Reader: Norman Deitz
Length: 16 hours 26 minutes
I wasn't an English Lit major and never got my MFA, so I didn't have to read any Maugham. Of course the stuffed shirt crowd sings his praises and I want to be as condescendingly smug as the next over-educated fool, so I'm giving his stories a try. Wish me luck.
Reader: Charleton Griffon
Length: 8 hours 9 minutes
I have never been let down by Louise Erdrich before - she's one of my favorite writers. This is her answer to the Little House on the Prairie books. It's geared toward young readers and it's the story of the daily life of the Ojibwa as seen through the eyes of a seven year-old girl living on Madeline Island, Lake Superior in 1847.
Ms. Erdrich's bookstore is named Birchbark Books and it's near where I live. I can't wait to hear this book and I already want to start applying adjectives like beautiful and flowing without hearing a word.
Reader: Nicole Littrell
Length: 5 hours 28 minutes
One of my passions in early U.S. history. I have enjoyed biographies of Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, Madison, and others. I've read many books about the Pilgrims and the Atlantic Coast Indian Tribes. I've read many books on the Revolution, the years before, during and after. But not since middle school have I read anything specifically about ole' Ben. Isaacson has impressed me before with his excellent biography of Albert Einstein so I'm going with him again on this book.
Reader: Boyd Gaines
Length: 7 hours 15 minutes
I recently read a collection of novellas by Dan Simmons called World's Enough and Time. I loved that book and now I'm going to read his newest book, a best-seller no less. It's a historical novel about an ill-fated arctic voyage with a supernatural horror plot. I hope it lives up to its title.
Reader: John Lee
Length: 28 hours 19 minutes
And those are what's loaded onto my two players right now. That's 215 hours and 29 minutes of listening (not counting the hour-long This American Life episodes in between each of these and the various files I'll load in if I feel like it.)
I have sixty more books waiting and ready in the load directory on my hard drive. I'll keep you posted, whether you're interested or not.
What's on your reading list?
- rick, reader.