Thursday, October 18, 2007

Further Quick Update

The “friend” concept (see yesterday’s post, below) gets a little stretched, here. This is Nora Ephron, after all. She writes (and does other things for) movies. She’s friends with Rosie O’Donnell and knew Craig Claiborne. She lived in a much tonier section of the Upper West Side of Manhattan than I did.

Until I realized how much out of my league she was, though, I listened with a “time to tell my friend to quit whining” attitude. She writes about things that are common to most women over, say, 40—common enough that my reaction is, What else is new?—and with not enough exaggeration to be really funny. I confess I fast-forwarded through much of the Purse essay. I listened to most of the New York apartment in the 1980s essay thinking that I could have written it, until I came to the end. It was like watching all of “When Harry Met Sally” just for Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm in the deli—that one scene makes the whole movie worthwhile.

So I’ll keep listening.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Quick Update

I’m listening to I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron. I was pre-primed to enjoy this one.

She wrote “When Harry Met Sally,” for one thing. And another movie I saw a long time ago and enjoyed.*

For another, she correctly titled it I Feel Bad..., not I Feel Badly..., which would have disqualified it immediately for my listening.

For yet another, Ms. Ephron herself narrates it, and has a great New York voice. She sounds like about a hundred people I used to know and like in New York.

And the first disk is all scratched and full of skips (don’t worry, I’ll do something about that before I return it), so a lot of people must have listened already.

And I am liking it, so far.

But here’s the weird thing: she doesn’t read it very well. Ms. Ephron reads as though she doesn’t know what’s coming next, and emphasizes words unexpectedly and ineffectively. Maybe she’s just not a great reader out loud, or maybe she’s self-conscious about reading her own prose, or maybe she’s self-conscious about her neck confessions.

I’m going to finish it and enjoy it, anyway. I’m going to pretend I know her and like her (I suspect I would), and listen to a friend’s effort at narration just because she’s my friend. (Yes, I do have a life.)

I’ll let you know how it goes.

*Just looked it up: “Heartburn.” Also “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “You’ve Got Mail.” And other famous ones, but these are the ones I’ve seen. I’m limited.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Another Really Good Audiobook

I was at the library yesterday and noticed that they have a copy of Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I don't remember who the narrator was, but it looks like the same version I listened to several years ago, and you should run right into the library and borrow it. The text, as I'm sure you all know by now, is compelling (Arthur Golden must have been a woman in a previous life), and the narrator complements it perfectly.

In the meantime, I have resorted to The Lord of the Rings again.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I Win

I'm happy to report that at the next book club meeting (Friday, October 19) we'll be discussing Copies in Seconds. As you know, I'm always eager to recommend this book, and the book club members finally took the bait.

We've heard from one member who has already finished the book that she enjoyed it. I'm re-reading it now, and luckily it lives up to my memory.

In other news, some of you may know that I was the only book club member who didn't enjoy Water for Elephants (see post below). I did force myself to finish it, however, even after the discussion, and it didn't get any better for me. The author definitely did a lot of research into circus life in the '30s, but for me that alone didn't translate into an entertaining book.

On the other hand, I did enjoy the selection before that, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, probably because there wasn't a single expected sentence in that book.

Anyway, I just finished a lovely palate cleanser after the elephant debacle: Howards End by E.M. Forster. I was probably the only one left on the planet who hadn't read that book yet, so I was lucky to find an audio version (Recorded Books) at the library with a very good narrator. An older-sounding man with a great British accent (John Franklyn-Robbins), he struck the right balance between straight narration, imitation of character voices, and a very subtle emphasis on the funny parts. Run to the library now and pick this up before it goes back to Middletown.