We Meet Again, Audiobooks

I know a lot of people don’t care for audiobooks, and I’ve never been that great of a listener (fact: in elementary school when we took standardized tests, I always did the worst on listening. And science.), so I never thought it was something that would interest me. When I got into the workforce, I discovered podcasts. When you work a desk job that involves data entry, they are a savior. I have found several podcasts that are interesting and make me smile and think all while doing my job. Sometimes when I run a little low on podcasts (fact: I’m never actually low on podcasts since I deliberately stay at least a week behind on most of them, and with the ones that are almost daily I am several weeks behind) I start to feel a little panicky because most of the time, music just won’t cut it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy music, but most of it doesn’t occupy my mind quite in the same way.

headphones

Art by Michelle Lawrence

I also commute an hour both ways to and from work. I listen to a radio show in the mornings that I enjoy, but in the afternoon my routine varies. Sometimes I begin to think of how I wish I could listen to audiobooks.

I tried it out once when I went on a weekend trip. The narrator was good, I had no problem following the story, and it was all grand. But since I had downloaded the book from my library directly from my iPhone’s Overdrive app, it was apparently eating up my data plan. I had to stop listening to The Prestige somewhere around 60-75% through the story and still haven’t finished it.

OMC_logoI thought there had to be a better way that didn’t involve draining my data plan, but I never made the time to figure it out.

Then I got antsy again about my podcast number again. And then my co-worker asked me to help her do something with her Nook tablet. I have one too, though hers is newer and the operating system is a little different on it, and the question she was asking about had to do with her Overdrive app on there. I was able to figure it out even though I was unfamiliar with it, but suddenly I realized:

There’s an Overdrive app for Nook.

The Nook only has wi-fi, and we don’t actually have wi-fi at work, so…

There’s a way to listen to books without wi-fi or 4G.

I mean, it’s not complicated, I just didn’t bother to figure it out before. What I found out was that if I had just downloaded the books to my computer first, and then transferred them to my phone (or apparently my Nook as well), I can listen to the books at work in my car without using up any data. I tried it this week with one of the two books I actually had downloaded for free over the summer and viola! It worked beautifully. And to think I could have done this a long time ago!

So once I finish Sherlock Holmes, my current audiobook listen, I believe The Prestige and I are going have to pick up where we left off so I can finally get some closure. And then who knows after that? I’m keeping an Excel spreadsheet on what the library offers that I might be interested in.

I’m so excited to dive back into the world of audiobooks, and hopefully I’ll stick with it this time. While it’s not my preferred way to “read” a book, it’s convenient for a busy lifestyle.

Are audiobooks part of your life? Please feel free to recommend favorites! 

The Prestige: A Magical Adaptation

Once again I am participating in Picture Me Reading‘s weekly meme Awesome Adaptations, about films that have been adapted to screen from books. This week’s theme is “An Awesomely Magical Adaptation.”

I have not kept it a secret that I really love what Christopher Nolan does as a writer and a filmmaker. In 2006 he released a movie of intrigue based on a novel by the same name, The Prestige, about two feuding magicians.

prestigeI have listened to about half of The Prestige audio book, so I can only compare the two stories so much. The book starts in modern-day, with a young man, Andrew Westley, who we come to find out is Alfred Borden’s great grandson. Since he has been adopted, he learns of this connection only recently at the time the book begins. He is a journalist for a local paper who travels to a place for a story, only to find out that he has been summoned by Kate Angier, the great-granddaughter of Rupert Angier (who is named Robert in the film), who has some questions for Andrew that she believes will explain a mystery surrounding their magician predecessors and from their own childhood. Later, we get Alfred Borden’s account of his story in his own words. Then we get the perspective of Kate, and then we get Rupert Angier’s account in his own words (what happens beyond this point I’m not sure).

“Are you watching closely?”

The accounts of Bolden and Angier share similarities and dissimilarities between the story of the two magicians in the film. In the film, the two appear to be friends and colleagues at first, who then become scorned with one another after a  terrible accident. In the book, an accident does turn the two against each other, though they are hardly acquainted beforehand, and Bolden is not even aware of what the consequences of his actions have borne for Angier. The focus for the magicians in both the book and the movie, however, is on each magician wanting to create the best version of The New Transported Man illusion, where the magician himself appears to be transported in less than a second.

prestige-onstageNolan, however, clearly added some elements for dramatic purposes. (Warning, movie spoilers ahead) Unless these things come up later in the book, it appears that Borden was never on trial, that his wife Rebecca never hung herself, and that Angier’s wife did not drown on stage. Borden and Angier also do not exchange many words during the book, and they especially don’t appear to write secret coded journals specifically for the other magician to find. Nolan also eliminated the modern-day story line that is in the book, which I have found myself engrossed in since I am not sure what will happen there, but I can understand how it needed to be cut for a feature length film.

alfredborden-jail

What I find most fascinating about the film Nolan created is that the viewer doesn’t even know who they are really supposed to root for. Most people I saw the movie with did seem to sympathize with Angier more, whereas I had sided with Borden; but regardless, who the true protagonist is and who the true antagonist is is left quite gray. In the book, when you read (or in my case, hear) Borden’s account, he’s easy to side with. He admits he started a skirmish with Angier, but sought to make amends and did not want it to continue, whereas Angier seemed to further provoke it. Then when you hear Angier’s side, you understand better why he did what he did. Again, it’s quite gray, and even generations later, you see that the families have still not forgiven each other entirely.

(L-R)  Hugh Jackman, Andy SerkisThere’s no real magic in The Prestige, but there is a lot of science, wonder, and creativity crafting the great illusions the magicians perform. And sadly, their stage lives also often overshadow, rule, and consume their real lives. For a great story about the mystery of stage magic as well as the intrigue of the human condition, I would definitely recommend the film The Prestige, and based on what I have experienced with the book so far, I would recommend it as well.

Have you seen the film or read the book? What are your thoughts? 

I’m Back!

Hey all, sorry about the uninformative post about being absent for a  few days, but I wanted to let you guys know that I am back to regular posting now. I went off for three days and four nights to see Atlanta with my husband and parents, and we had a good time! I meant to schedule a post or two to go up during my trip and keep up with comments as I could, but it just did not work out that way due to busyness before the trip. Here’s a glimpse of what we did there…

atlantaAnd yes, those are in fact penguins holding hands (fins?)! It was cute, but what was not so cute was the PG-13 humping that followed. In fact, in seemed all the penguins were paired off. Must be mating season… But anyhow, we hit some of the highlights of the city, ate some good food, but I did not really accomplish much reading and definitely not any writing (which has been difficult lately anyway), but during a small portion of the trip there and during most of the trip home I listened to The Prestige by Christopher Priest on my iPhone. It’s my first time listening to a book, and so far it’s going pretty well! I was nervous because I’m not really the best listener in the world, but listening to podcasts has been a big thing for me in my work life for the past year or so,  and I thought it might be time to try out the audio book thing through my library. And so far, I am enjoying The Prestige. It is, in fact, the story which the movie by the same name, directed by Christopher Nolan (my favorite) is based upon. What surprised me about it is that the first three chapters are actually set in modern-day, and then it goes back in time with Alfred Borden’s memoir. But that’s all I will say for now. The narrator is also keeping my interest pretty well, but I am sure the British accent helps!

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day tomorrow! What are your plans for the weekend?