As lovers of learning and literature know all of the best fantasy, science fiction, history, romance, imagery, imagination and revelation are contained in books. The content of movies and TV shows are often spewed from minds who pander the prurient interests to the lowest common denominators of money and mayhem. The finest thoughts, the highest aspirations and the flightiest heights of imagination are dreamed and written by artists who write books.
Unfortunately, as my body grows older, I find that it is increasingly difficult to read books. Diminishing eye sight, arthritis in my neck, bad back and insufficient time makes reading books more difficult. Thank the gods, and technology for the wonderful inventions of MP 3 players and AUDIO BOOKS!
Now I can download and listen / read a vast array of literature on audio books, read to me by the some of the most talented actors: it’s better than a bed-time story! And I can listen to books while driving, waiting in the dentist office, walking around, sitting in the park and muti-tasking in general. Personally, I’ve listened to more books during the past two years than I read in the previous five years.
Thanks to audio books I’ve been able to read books that I probably wouldn’t have read previously due to the sheer size and expense of the books, some of which are several thousand pages in length! Free audio books, in the public domain, are available from www.Librivox.org. And, a vast library of books read by professional actors is available from www.Audible.com. The most important (FREE) source of audio books is your local public library. More and more books are available of CDs and cassette tapes every day. I use and recommend all of these.
As for subject matter, here are some of the books I listened to recently that are my personal favourites:
All 7 books of THE LENSMAN SERIES, written by E.E. “Doc” Smith (I consider these to be the finest science and science fiction books ever written). I listened to most of them twice!
All of the Sherlock Holmes books written by Arthur Conan Doyle (most of these I read previously, but audio books make them more fun)
American Gods and The Anansi Boys by the magical Neill Gaimon.
Enders Game by the marvellous science fiction writer, Orson Scott Card
The Autobiography of Mark Twain, a compilation of his autobiographical writings and commentary.
Any of the legion of electrifyingly frightening books by the fantastic fiction writer, Dean Koontz.
Under the Dome by Stephen King.
The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. One of the finest works of historical commentary ever produced.
The Republic by Plato is the pre-eminent discussion of the philosophy and culture of Western Civilization, written in 368 B.C.E.
Mien Kamph by Adolph Hitler. This is a ‘must’ read if you care to understand the demented ‘logic’ of a demonic Germanic mind.
The Confession by John Grisham. This is a damning diatribe, written as fiction, on the subject of capital punishment.
The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant. This is a marvelous perusal of the entire subject of Western philosophers.
The complete writings of the Father of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine.
The Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tze. (The new English translation)
At the moment I’m listening to Fall of Giants by Ken Follett.
Good listening! Lawrence R. Spencer