The Perils of Audio Books

Posted by mrssmythe on October 1, 2014 in Books |


The girls and I are in the middle of another audio book. We love audio books. At least I do. I think the girls enjoy them too, but I don’t give them much of a choice in the matter. When we’re in the car, we listen to books – and not just any books. Often I choose things I suspect they wouldn’t be drawn to on their own.

Currently, we’re on an Elizabeth George Speare kick. Have you read anything by her? She wrote historical children’s fiction, mainly, and most of it set in New England. We listened to Sign of the Beaver first – a fictional story of a twelve-year-old boy left to fend for himself in the wilds of Maine. Now, we’re listening to The Witch of Blackbird Pond, which I read as a sophomore in high school. I thought it was good then, but then I re-read it as an adult and decided it was wonderful. The story centers on a teenaged girl named Kit who leaves her home in Barbados to live with her Puritan relatives in 17th-century Connecticut. It’s an award-winning book and very, very good.

Anyway. This is our dilemma. Normally, we are content to listen to our audio books only during car rides. We usually manage about fifteen to thirty minutes of listening a day, and, up until now, that has been fine.

But The Witch of Blackbird Pond is good. Really good. And we’re having a hard time waiting for the times when we are in the car to listen to it. Two days ago, when we’d finished with our car ride, Pepper raced into the house, found a copy of the book in the bookcase and picked up where the audio book had left off. She kept reading until she’d finished the book later that evening.


Ginger held out until this afternoon, when she, too, broke down and grabbed the book.

Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to think of somewhere else we can drive so I can continue the story without “cheating”. Not that it’s really cheating, but it seems wrong somehow. (Maybe that’s my “inner Puritan” speaking).

And, anyway, the actress who is reading the book is doing an excellent job. She’s brought each of the characters to life, and I think I would be missing something if I just plunged into the book and read the rest of it silently to myself.

So – I think I’ll wait. But it isn’t going to be easy. Especially with the main character cold, and wet, and on the river bank, and….

I won’t say anything more – just in case you decide to read (or listen to) the book, yourself.

However – if I can think of any errands tomorrow, any errands whatsoever, you can bet we’re going to do them. And I might just drive nice and slow – just to get in a little extra listening.

From the dining room table, wondering if, despite all my blustering, I, too, am going to succumb,

Mrs. Smythe


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  • TeaLady says:

    I remember reading that book, too! Such a wonderful memory! Don’t you just love the beautiful bindings on these older books?

  • Deb says:

    I adore that book. Have you read The Bronze Bow? It’s very different from her other books but it’s powerful.

  • Amy says:

    I would totally have to succumb . . . that’s probably not helping, is it?

    • mrssmythe says:

      It was hard, but I managed to wait. We finished the story today – though, I confess I drove more slowly than usual to make sure I had enough drive time to get to the end.

  • IrishMum says:

    We love audio books, and listen to them at meal times, mostly. Sometimes lunch can take an hour or more of sloooow eating, just to keep listening!

  • AnnMarie says:

    No worries! I will request it electronically! Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Jane says:

    I always listen to audio books in the car. I’ve listened to books I would probably not have read and I’ve also discovered new authors. The readers are very important. I have a few that I look for, Kate Burton and Steve Goodell are both good as is the guy who read all the Harry Potter books, he won an Emmy for every book in the series. I’m waiting for the new Ken Follett book from the library which will be about 20 CDs long,so I think it’s time for a trip to Ohio when it comes in! Many, many times I’ve driven around the block to finish a chapter before going home. They can become addicting…

    • mrssmythe says:

      I agree. There are some audio books I’ve returned to the library without listening to because the reader just didn’t engage me. And, I think a good British accent always helps. 😉 Twenty CDs long! That’s some solid listening time. Perfect for a long road trip!

  • AnnMarie says:

    Can I return The Witch of Blackbird Pond for you? My motive is that I can then check it out on my card! I am serious. Let me know! Been overdue to have a good audio book in the car.

    • mrssmythe says:

      Let me check to see when it’s due – this one was an ILL and I think once it’s turned in it has to go back to its library of origin before it can be checked out again. If there’s a way around that, though – absolutely! I think you’d really like this story.

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