Friday, September 14, 2012

Recent audiobooks

During my crash I couldn’t face reading a physical book, but was happy enough listening to them. Since handing my novel in I’ve had my eyes tested and I need glasses. I’m short-sighted, so I can still read book and work on computers without specs, but it’s likely the strain my eyes have been under has contributed to the difficulty I’ve had reading (and finishing) physical books this year.

Anyway, here are my brief reactions (*mildly spoilerific*) to the last four audiobooks I’ve listened to:

Hard Times (Pocket Penguin Classics)Hard Times by Charles Dickens

C-Dick’s shortest novel. Not his best: too overt, the characters are ciphers for the message. Tom Gradgrind’s bouleversement from a man of pure logic and reasoning to a remorseful father laid low by feeling is both inevitable and unearned. But still, it’s Dickens, so it’s worthwhile.

Breakfast with Socrates: The Philosophy of Everyday LifeBreakfast with Socrates by Robert Rowland Smith

I don’t know why I listen to these sorts of audiobooks. I always feel greatly let down by them. I guess I expected to hear some names I hadn’t heard before, or for some theories to be connected to everyday life in new and eye-opening ways. Instead I felt like the smug kid in a high school class who did all the readings over the summer holidays, when really I was looking to be humbled and informed.

The Human FactorThe Human Factor by Graham Greene

A low-level intrigue in a low-profile section of the Foreign Office (MI6) at a time the UK was rapidly decreasing in international significance. Somehow Greene manages to tell a tale that is both suspenseful and also deeply human. The air gets let out slightly before the end, which is a bit of a shame, but still a good read.

A Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Classics Illustrated)Journey to the centre of the earth by Jules Verne

I read some Jules Verne when I was younger, but not this one. I wonder if I would have liked it at 12? I didn’t like it at 29. They don’t even make it to the centre of the earth!

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