Friday, January 28, 2011

Books that Make me Look Forward to Driving

I drive approximately two hours a day - one to work, one back. Two years ago I took Amazon up on their offer of $100 off an iPod if I subscribed to Audible for a year... and I have haven't look back.

I used to spend those two hours listening to the news - and often getting angry - - or worse dissecting my day and agonizing over conversations and other things that I couldn't change anyways. Now, I allow myself to be enveloped into books.

This was especially wonderful while I was finishing college, because there was no time for pleasure reading. Instead of two wasted hours a day, I could "read" books - something I LOVE to do anyways.
So as I was reaching the end of my latest novel, I got to thinking about how several of the books I've "read" over the past two years actually had me looking forward to my commute and I thought I'd share them with you.

First, since it's freshest in my mind, is The Passage by Justin Cronin. Wow, this was an incredible book. It's the first of a trilogy, and I can't wait for the others. This novel had me dying to know what was going to happen next, while simultaneously dreading it ending. His characters are interesting and very memorable. The story is believable - frighteningly so, since it's about the end of the world as we know it. You could call it a vampire novel, but that hardly does it justice.

Along the same lines - end of the world as we know it, not vampires - are Daemon and Freedom by Daniel Suarez. A computer genius unleashes a computer virus upon his death that dismantles the world as we know it. Daemon will horrify you, but Freedom, the sequel, will leave you inspired. These books left me begging my friends to read them so I'd have someone to talk to them about. Amazing books. They're pretty high-tech, but every technology Suarez put in the book exists today.

Innocent Traitor is the story of Lady Jane Grey. Even if you don't recall her history (she was briefly the Queen of England) the book begins with her final hours. This is a poignant and mostly historically accurate book. Alison Weir has a reputation for bringing her historical heroines to life and she certainly does with Jane. By the end you're hoping it will end differently, but you know it won't - yet you'll listen to every last word.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger was very well written, and read. The audiobook is read by both a man and a woman, back and forth. I'd have to say that all of these books were even better because they were read aloud to me, but this one was one of the best. Again, I was dying to know what was going to happen next, while dreading the end. I watched the movie and it did very little justice to the book.

Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, The DaVinci Code and The Lost Symbol. All were really good books, I'd already read the first two in print. They were all mesmerizing. But heck, hasn't everyone read these by now? Hardly worth mentioning. :)

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris was hilariously funny, if somewhat short. Read by the author. Very enjoyable.

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I've read them all, some several times, but listening to Claire (Davina Porter) was incredible. It's a crying shame that two of the books are only available abridged and are read by a different person - and thus I refused to buy them. I recommend Gabaldon's books to just about anyone. She writes so vividly that you can hear the horses and smell the dust.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Again with the end of the world, but this book is hilarious! I'd read it years ago and highly recommend it. An Angel and Demon bungle the Apocolypse, everyone has lost track of the Anti-Christ (he's 11) and Agnes predicted it all ages ago, if people would just listen.

And last, but certainly not least, The Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay is well written and well narrated. If you've watched the Showtime series, you really should read the books that inspired it. The two deviate early on, but the books give you a much better understanding of our Dear Dexter.

So if you see me dashing to my car at the end of the day or sitting with the engine idling when I pull in, ask me what book I'm "reading", chances are it's a good one.