Thoughts about Books

Blog No. 155

Much of the following story has been told on this blog before, but it may have been a while ago, or you may have not read it, or you have and I’m telling it again anyway.

Some time ago I was in London Ontario for school. I was only there for eight months, but in that time I made some astounding discoveries. One of the greatest was audio books. I took the bus to campus most days. The school forced students to buy a bus pass and I wasn’t about to pay for a parking pass. I wasn’t overly experienced with riding the bus (coming from a family of drivers) but I was given a crash course. The first month or so I tried to read during the short trip. Sometimes it was things for school, but mostly it was for leisure. At every stop (and there were many) I would look up from my book and lose my place. I’m a slow reader naturally, so over the twenty minute ride, I wasn’t getting more than a page read, and being distracted at every stop wasn’t helping.

I forget where I got the idea, but somehow I thought that I should try audio books. I had a brand new ipod (a big 80G sucker that I still use today) a bunch of space, and a lot of books I wanted to read. First on my list was The Hitchhiker’s Guide. I found a version read by the author and fell in love with both the book itself and audio books as a medium. Every bus ride from then, every evening before bed, and several long walks were filled with all five parts of the trilogy (and a lot of awkward public laughter). I finished in no time and started scrounging the interweb for more. And More I found. I was ecstatic. All the reading I did was for school, but while I cooked, cleaned, walked, or any time I could squeeze it in, I was listening to books on that ipod. It was great and I had to share my elation with my book loving mom.

From what I remember, she didn’t take a lot of convincing and she enjoyed it the same way I did. Every book I got (and quite a few more) were passed over to her or lent to me. Most of what I listen to was (and is) sci-fi, classics, young adult, or the odd horror (mostly books that I wouldn’t get around to reading myself). A few of them weren’t of any interest to her (not surprisingly) but one in particular was so unexpectedly good that I prodded her to give it a chance.

I am Legend is a tale that has been told and retold in many mediums. There was an early Vincent Price movie, The Omega Man was based off the book, and Will Smith did a version recently. There has also been a graphic novel version. While not all of the movies were good, it turns out the original book is fantastic. On top of that, the reader of the audio book was great that I searched out other books he read. My mother gave it a chance and the subtle nature of the story, the strong narrative, and grand scope reigned in, won her over. (At least I think it was those things. That’s why I liked it).

Recently at a book dive where my mother works, a paperback copy of I am Legend (the Omega Man movie version) was for sale. Thoughtfully, she snatched it up as a gift for me. It’s just a tiny, yellowed book, cured at the edges, but it was a fantastic gift. It is something that has a story behind it (beyond the novel itself). It’s a small, cheap gift, but it has value because of that history. Initially I was going to write about a feature of the book that stood out to me, but it turns out I wrote this instead. Maybe I’ll get to it next week; maybe I’ll be distracted by something else. Anyway, thanks for the book mom!

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