We’re frequently asked for reading advice–which author to try if you’ve finished everything by your favorite writer, which book comes first in a series (and whether that matters)–but almost never queried for listening suggestions. Most readers have assessed their needs in this case, whether it’s suspenseful fiction to prevent drowsiness or an assigned classic to facilitate multi-tasking. My requirement is even more practical.
Audiobooks usually correlate with navigation–road trips, commuting, fitness walking. If you are as directionally challenged as I, you are obliged to devote extra attention to the goal of reaching your destination on the first try. When walking a familiar route, I may safely choose any sort of audio literature, secure in the knowledge that muscle memory will deliver me back home after I become completely absorbed in the story. Driving is another matter.
While I prefer KUT or music for local driving, nothing but audiobooks will suffice for longer trips–excursions that demand awareness of imminent turns, distances between points, and the voice of the GPS (where have those been all my life?). So, for highway consumption I seek out thrillers that are only moderately suspenseful, nonfiction that is reasonably interesting but not enthralling, and–above all–humor that isn’t too funny.
David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day (read by the author, no less) has been deleted from my “approved for driving” list for all time. Enjoying this fine production during a Kansas-to-Texas run, my husband and I were caught off guard by an especially riotous passage. We found ourselves literally doubled over and snorting with laughter in the midst of city traffic. Thank goodness I married a natural navigator; if I’d been alone I would surely have ended up in Arkansas.