Sunday, February 27, 2011


I'm listening to Undine by Penni Russon read by Melissa Eccleston. I am immature and obvious so I will refer to the main character as Undies, even though I like her and the book.

Undies is a Year 11 girl living in Hobart who seems to be discovering that she has nautically-inspired magical powers. (I'm only 2 discs in so there's a small possibility that the book is really about the devastating effects of mental illness.)

I am enjoying Undies' story very much. Apparently it's a trilogy and I can see myself listening to the next two books as well. I am extremely impressed with the narrator Melissa Eccleston - she adds just enough inflection and intonation to make it interesting without being distracting.

You can listen to a sample here.

The only thing that I don't like about this recording is the music (you can hear it at the start of the sample). Actually I think the music is quite appropriate, but I keep getting a a fright when it starts because it is a bit jarring and spooky. Mind you, I am easily scared by music, which is why I can't watch Doctor Who.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Every second Wednesday I go to strength class and every other Wednesday I stay home and do exercises on my very own personal fit ball that I got for Christmas.

Tonight was home-exercise night so I continued listening to The Man Within by Graham Greene. The plot has gone silly. I am losing patience with the main character and his tortured self loathing piggy-backing on his blatant madonna/whore view of women.

But there is some good news here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Last weekend we were driving to the country and needed an audio book to listen to. My partner borrowed The Man Within by Graham Greene from the library. However, perhaps because he likes to maintain a charade of story tape hating, he didn't suggest listening to it in the car. Neither did I, so we just listened to the radio.

I continued to avoid The Man Within all week. It seemed pretty grim to me. The cover is black and has a picture of a shadowy man holding a lantern. Like a coward, I just couldn't come at it.

Then today I drove to central Victoria for a baby shower. I was driving on my own (which I hate, avoid wherever possible and consider an achievement if I actually do it) and needed something to listen to.

I had no choice but to start on The Man Within. And I've enjoyed it so far. The narrator, James Wilby, is excellent. The book makes much of the characters' voices and Wilby does justice to these descriptions. I've read that Graham Greene was embarrassed by the book in later life, but I thought it was fine (although the female character's a bit of a saint, which shits me).

And! I didn't crash the car. So gold star for me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Today I went on my weekend long run. I usually try to run for between 60 and 90 minutes. I meet up with a group when I can, but often I end up going by myself.

I run pretty slowly so it's physically fairly easy, but I find it psychologically challenging. At the start it seems impossibly long and far.

I would almost certainly enjoy listening to a story tape while running, but I've always resisted this. It feels like cheating because facing the boredom and loneliness is part of the challenge for me.

It's also true that I do some valuable thinking when I'm running. I'll start the run feeling confused and stressed about something, but by the time I'm really tired at the end, I've generally distilled the issue down to it's fundamental core.

For example, at the start of the run I might wonder, "Are face cloths really a good idea? Or are you just wiping germs onto your face?" But by the end of the run I'll have got to the heart of the matter, "I really need to do a load of towels this afternoon."

So maybe I use the running time to work out the issues in my life. And I couldn't do that while listening to a story tape.

On the other hand, I always listen to a story tape when I'm cooking on my own. I would never make muffins in silence. Perhaps this is weakness though, and I could use that lonely sifting time to resolve my feelings towards my father.

Friday, February 11, 2011

When the cupboard is bare

From time to time, I don't have a story tape to listened to. I finished The Accidental Billionaires on Tuesday and I haven't had a chance to go to the library to borrow something new.

How do I cope? I listen to Frasier episodes on YouTube. I find this a very pleasant accompaniment to cooking/cleaning etc. It also has an added benefit. My partner pretends to find this even more annoying than story tapes. So when I go back to the audio books he is more tolerant. Variety! Good on!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Accidental Billionaires

It turns out that sometimes the film is better than the book.

I really enjoyed The Social Network, but I am not enjoying listening to the book the film was based on, The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Monedy, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook.


- It's very one-sided. Ben Mezrich has extensively interviewed Eduardo Saverin but has not had access to the other major players, including Mark Zuckerberg.

- To get around his lack of actual knowledge Mezrich cheekily overuses phrases like, "It is easy to picture" and "we can envisage", and words like "perhaps" and "maybe" to cover scenes where he actually has NO IDEA what happened.

- Mezrich is very mean about geeks assuming that they are all hate themselves and are desperate to be cool. I know this is not true. He also assumes that, in the normal course of events, a computer nerd will never have sex with anything more attractive than a bin-liner. This is also not true.

- The narrator, Mike Chamberlain, reads some parts really slowly as though they have momentous import. Chamberlain would be better off reading really fast and mumbling in the hope that no-one would notice sentences like, "He forced his pulse to return to a steady beat, like the steady bytes and bits of a processing computer hard drive."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


A friend of mine gave me The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and Founding of Facebook by Ben Mezrich read by Mike Chamberlain. I've seen The Social Network and I thought it was very good.

I was surprised to find that there is only one disk! It's just MP3 files. What an innovation! No more changing disks/cassettes, just a'changing times. You can also borrow audio books online from the library - no disks/cassettes at all.

I know it is often said that "on the wings of the trampling hooves of change doth we fly forward on our journey hand in hand with technology and cherubs". And I agree with that statement. I am very happy to embrace new technology (I admit this might not be obvious given that I still refer to audio books as story tapes).

However, I would like to have one moment of nostalgia for the plummy voice on the Chivers audio books announcing, "That is the end of Side X. The story will continue on the next cassette".

Just thinking about it makes me a bit misty.