Monday, June 9, 2008

This will keep me busy for a while

Uncharacteristically for me, I didn't have any audio books on hold at the library a few weeks ago, so I started browsing the shelves at my local branch library. Since I was in need of *something* to listen to, I decided to try a book I'd passed over many times before, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Since it wasn't set in London, or anywhere else in the British isles, I really wasn't interested in it. I'm glad that I was at a loose end so that I had to give it a chance. It's a wonderful series about Mma Ramotswe and her friends solving mysteries large and small in the African country of Botswana. The characters are all so warm and respectful, and the stories so heartwarming, that I didn't notice the time (or the miles!) rushing by. I simply allowed myself to get lost in a world where people address each other with, "Did you sleep well?" and the greatest delicacy is cooked pumpkin. My local library had several other audio books in the series, but they were unfortunately not in order, but I was so eager to hear more about Mma Ramotswe's adventures that I had to listen to them anyway. I'm now going back and listening to them in order, with The Tears of the Giraffe (second in the series) currently entertaining me. The actress who does the reading, Lisette Lecat, is really wonderful with all the various accents, even managing some words in a clicking African language.

I was thrilled to see that The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency was shown recently on British TV. I'm anxiously waiting for it to be shown in the U.S. , or else for the DVD to become available.

Since I have been listening to audio books for many years, I can go on record with my preference for cassettes over CDs any day! If you are buying an audio book on CD for yourself, and are careful, I suppose that would be one thing. However, I check audio books out of the library very frequently, and nothing is so frustrating as to get to the end (or anywhere, really) of the story and have the CD skip, stop or otherwise refuse to play. Cassettes may misbehave sometimes, but there is an extreme satisfaction to be had in ejecting the cassette and, as some audio books instruct us to do, "slapping it smartly" against the dashboard. Even if this doesn't fix the problem, you at least feel better! Even so, the problems I've had over the years with cassettes are nearly non-existent, compared to the continual frustration of CDs. I recently went to great personal expense to have a cassette player installed in my new car, so I hope the audio book people will continue to release books in this format. There really is no contest.

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