The Audio Book That Changed My Life

Japanse meisjes tonen radio-cassettercorders / Japanese girls demonstrate radio - cassette players

For nine bleary-eyed months, I commuted between Milwaukee and Chicago twice a week.  (Pro Tip: 100 miles, plus traffic, plus construction, plus winter, equals don’t try this at home.)

It was miserable, but it was not all bad.  The main good thing was spending a lot of those miles with my friend Jan, who picked me up at 5 AM and dropped me off at 11 PM on many a Monday.  The other good thing was: audio books.

Thalhimers, phonograph

I listened to every single Harry Potter book, all the Little House on the Prairie books, all the Jane Austen books I like (and Northanger Abbey, which I do not like very much), and every David Sedaris book I could find.

And it was wonderful.  I loved hearing these beloved books come to life.  There was Pa’s fiddle!  There was Nagini the snake’s hiss.  There was David Sedaris singing Chevrolet commercials in a voice that really did sound just like Billie Holiday.

What I did not do, in all those months of listening and driving, was listen to a novel I had never read.  (I did listen to some David Sedaris I had not read, but I just felt like I was listening to him on NPR.)  I tried once or twice, but my need to hear and understand each and every word removed all pleasure from the listening experience.

And then, I met Ender Wiggin.  Two friends recommended the audio book
of Orson Scott Card’s classic young adult novel about brilliant children, battle school, and aliens (among other things).  I had never read the book, but the dim recollection of my affection for a different Orson Scott Card novel (Seventh Son) and the prospect of a fourteen-hour solo road trip made me take the plunge.

Readers.  Friends.  Dear people.  You must listen to this book.  You might think you don’t like science fiction.  Or young adult novels.  Or audio books.  And all of that might be true.  Even so: you must listen to this book.  It is a wonderful book, wonderfully read.

So get in your car and drive somewhere.  You will fall in love.

**You will have to get past some particularly grim scenes in the beginning, and also the general fact that children are being treated like soldiers.  It’s hard, but you can do it!


Filed under Book Report

6 responses to “The Audio Book That Changed My Life

  1. I put it on my list for the next long drive!


  2. Steve

    It’s a swell book. It’s important to get to it before you know much about the author. He’s not my sort of fellow.


    • I still know nothing about him (although my curiosity is growing), but I can sort of imagine, based on the book, that he is not someone I’d necessarily want to hang out with. Definitely not someone I’d trust my own child with, either . . .


  3. Kristin

    Ack! Maggie! I tried to read Ender’s Game (it was a book club selection) and HATED it! I could not even finish it. The whole child-soldier deal, plus the six-year-old-wrenched-from-his-family-and-forced-to-live-among-angry,evil-people made me so sad I couldn’t handle it. Also, as Steve points out above, the author is a pretty icky guy. Oof.


    • I think if I had been reading it instead of listening to it I might have given up, too. I almost stopped listening because the beginning is so upsetting. And lucky for me, I knew nothing about Orson Scott Card and his ickiness. And am now reluctant to find out . . .


  4. Pingback: Books for the Big Screen | Never Done It That Way Before

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