Monday, February 22, 2010

Audiobook: The Wordy Shipmates

I've been cutting back on a lot of things this year (and finally, finally got my Solano County library card), but one thing I haven't trimmed is my subscription to

I think I've gotten a real winner this month in The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. Sarah (a regular contributor to This American Life and the voice of Violet in The Incredibles) has a unique voice and also knows, from her radio experience, what a person can reasonably hear. What she has to say is like good preaching: straightforward language with insight, and I think it's meant to be heard.

In addition to that, she has lots of guest readers who recite relevant passages from letters, journals, and sermons. And by guest readers, I mean Campbell Scott, Peter Dinklage, T-Bone Burnett, Catherine Keener, Eric Bogosian, John Hodgman, Jill Clayburgh, and John Oliver. It's just so much fun to listen to.

And who would have thought a history about the Puritans who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 would be fun? Although I think she simplifies things a bit for the audience, thus, I'm sure, driving serious historians crazy, I still find her take on things delightful. Thanks to Amazon's "Take a look" option, I can quote from her opening pages:

Cotton's sermon is titled, "God's Promise to His Plantation." He begins with one of the loveliest passages from the book of Second Samuel, an otherwise R-rated chronicle of King David's serial killer years.

That's my kind of writer!

Here's a YouTube clip that will give you a better sense of what kind of audio experience we're talking about as well as her reasons for exploring this group of people now.

Here's hoping it continues to be this engrossing all the way through.

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