Normally I would post a list of articles I’ve read on the web in the past week. But I haven’t really read any this week. Instead, I’ve been reading books.
So I would like to use this space to recommend a few of those.
I love audiobooks. I like real books too, but for this stage in my life, audiobooks seem to be the best way for me to continue reading. I can listen while I work and still be productive. (I’ve experimented with silence and I do not work as well.)
One thing I love even more than audiobooks is free audiobooks. So I have been hitting Librivox pretty hard in the past few weeks. The catalogue is truly stunning. I mean, the western canon is pretty much presented there completely. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, L Frank Baum, HG Wells.
I have listened to the first four or five John Carter books. The narration is just a bit annoying to me (pronouncing ‘escape’ as ‘ex-cape’ over ten hours in a book in which our hero is quite often trapped does make a very pleasant listening experience.)
I’m excited to listen through some Jules Verne. I haven’t read any Verne since I was ten, so it will be fun to explore his world a little more thoroughly.
His books are definitely directed at kids, but there is still much to enjoy in Baum’s Oz books. They’re pretty short and Librivox offers at least one version of all fourteen Oz books written by Baum, as well as a few written after he died by his successors. The Oz series has been nagging me to read them since I was nine and I’m only now getting to it.
As for Wells. Well, he’s on the pile. Swift is on there too. And to satisfy my love of period stuff, Elizabeth Gaskell is there, along with more Austen and the Brontë sisters. And to satisfy the theologian in me, I have some Calvin and Thomas a Kempis queued up. And The Bible itself of course!
I spent a lot of this past work week listening to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, read by the immensely talented Elizabeth Klett. I happened upon Miss Klett’s work for Librivox by first listening to Austen’s Northanger Abbey. She played Dorothy in the dramatization of the third Oz book also. And I’m currently listening to Eyre at the recommendation of a friend. If you’ve selected a book to read and discover that Klett has read it, go with her version.
I mentioned audio Bibles earlier. Librivox does have a selection that I haven’t explored yet. I’ve been making a lot of use of Bible Gateway‘s pretty excellent service. My favorite version is the dramatized NIV. Which I’m a little embarrassed to admit.
A book I’ve actually opened and been reading to myself lately is Edith Schaeffer’s L’abri. This is her account of the founding and first two decades (or so) of her family’s work in Switzerland. She and her husband would simply welcome people with existential or religious or philosophical questions into their home and serve them by living together, working together, and reading and conversation. This book is of particular interest to me because of my wife and I hope to host a similar service.
Of course, this book is a bit poignant in light of Francis and Edith’s son’s books, in which he more or less condemns the work of his parents. All I can say is: I haven’t read his book and whether his account is fair or not, I am busy admiring the values these people recommended, not the lingering faults of these redeemed sinners.
I reread my Dune comic. It’s based on David Lynch’s movie and masterfully illustrated by Bill Sienkewicz. It’s just a little short. Maybe someday the story will get a long comic adaptation. This will have to for now.
At least it looks nice.
It just reignites my wish for Paul Pope to illustrate the full story.
Have a good weekend. I’ll be back next week with another Star Trek review, maybe an Adam Strange review, and I’ll finally post my write-up of the Doctor Who story “The Parting of Ways”
Next Week, I’ll also post the first in a new series in which I defend the movies and TV and comics we’ve all been trained to hate. On the list so far: Masters of the Universe (1987), Fantastic Four movie (1994), Superman comics from the early 80s, and a handful of others. I haven’t come up with a title yet, so suggestions are welcome!