Normally, I like to write about good books, books I want to share with others, books I am excited to talk about it. But as I look through my list of audiobooks I can talk about, I see several that I wouldn't recommend. So that's what tonight's blog is about: audiobooks I recommend you stay away from.
First, let's go classic. Last year, I listened to Henry David Thoreau's Walden, and I am encouraging you to give it a pass. I am a big fan of Thoreau, or at least of the idea of Thoreau. He is known for living in the woods because he wanted to "live deliberately," to suck the marrow out of life, yadda yadda yadda. It's such a lovely, romantic idea. So I wanted to finally read the book, the whole book, that tells the story of how he did that. But when you've just read excerpts and quotes from the man, then listening to this entire book is such a disappointment. Really, Thoreau went to the woods to figure out a way to save money and make a fortune. He prattles on endlessly about all the many, many things that make him so superior to others and details his every bean and apple. Overall, he sounds pompous, boring, and incredibly self-interested. I say: stick with the lovely quotes you find on the internet and skip the whole story. You'll think him a far better man for doing this.
Second, let's talk about comedy. This is subjective, to be certain. But some is more universal than others. Amy Poehler's book, for example, Yes, Please!, has a lot of universal humor in it. I loved listening to her book and would recommend it to everyone. And then there's David Cross. I listened to his book, I Drink for a Reason, against the advice of my boyfriend. I hate to admit that he was right, but he was completely right about this one. It turns out that when David Cross is not painting himself blue or wearing cutoff jeans shorts, he does comedy that is very specific. If you are a huge fan of his stand-up comedy, then you might like this book. If you are not a fan of his comedy or not familiar with his comedy, then you will not like this. His comedic voice is dark and strident. I struggled to find it funny or even interesting until almost the end of the book. I did finally start to get it, but I didn't really enjoy it. I recommend you give this one a pass as well. Just watch reruns of Arrested Development instead.
Third, popular fiction. I'm not a big fan of horror novels, so I haven't read a lot of Stephen King. But I decided I should listen to The Stand, a 30+ hour saga of good vs. evil set in a postapocalyptic world. I knew the story, as I saw the miniseries many years ago. But I decided to listen to it, to a version that was not just unabridged but that Stephen King had added to. Originally, his publisher told him that the novel was way too long and cut hundreds of pages from it. After its publication and runaway popularity, they let King add those cut pages back in, so the version I listened to was actually longer than the original printed version. And personally, I agree with his publisher. If anything, they may not have cut enough. I'm not saying to skip the book altogether--it's a good story. But reading it would save so much time. So. Much. Time. So I'm going to recommend skipping this audiobook too.
I like to recommend books that I believe in, that I think people will get something out of. But in finding those great books, I also bump up against books I think people should avoid. These are just a few of those books. Next week I'll be back to talking about great audiobooks that offer a fun, interesting, fabulous listening experience for you and me both.