aspen audiobooks

On my road trip to Aspen, Colorado last week (recap post coming soon!) I listened to three audiobooks. My brief thoughts:

First, on the way out there with Nick, we listened to World War Z by Max Brooks. This was the abridged version with an all-star cast, with author Max Brooks playing the interviewer. We both really enjoyed it! Set in the near future, World War Z is told as a set of historical accounts detailing the experiences and aftermath of the “zombie war.” World War Z is unconventional for a zombie story and took me by surprise. I was expecting more gore and guts, like you do with zombie stuff, but this was different—more exploratory of humanity and civilization in the face of a universal enemy that essentially lacks any humanity. It was less horror and more sci-fi/dystopia. I think the audio was a great way to experience World War Z, (the cast was brilliant, especially Mark Hamill!) but since it was abridged I do think I’d like to eventually go back and read the paper copy to catch what I missed in the audio. Going to see the movie tonight—prepared for mediocrity and many differences! [Listened to audiobook on June 18, 2013.]

Next, on the drive home, I listened to Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff, a historical non-fiction. A plane goes down over the barren icy wasteland of Greenland. Another is sent to recover the survivors… only to go down itself. A third is sent, but also fails its mission and crashes. Zuckoff meticulously researched the heroic soldiers on these fateful flights, and recounts his personal experience on a 2012 expedition to find one of aircrafts (and its crew) still lost somewhere in the ice sheet, 70 years later. Zuckoff’s attention to detail and ability to weave the history of not only these doomed WWII missions but also the history of Greenland into a thrilling narrative was spellbinding. I just couldn’t believe what the soldiers had to go through out there—mental and emotional turmoil, frostbite, starvation, fighting for survival. It was interesting listening to this book after reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand a couple of months ago—totally different WWII journeys on opposite sides of the world. Also a good one for fans of Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. [Listened to audiobook on June 22, 2013.]

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz was the last audiobook for my road trip. A collection of short tales of love, loss, heartbreak, mistakes, family, and heritage, This is How You Lose Her had ups and downs for me. I liked that they had an underlying connection through the book’s protagonist Yunior, a smart-mouthed, vibrant young Dominican dude from a rough-and-tumble New Jersey ‘hood. As a whole, the book is a history of Yunior’s romantic conquests, failures, and a depressing personal downfall. I thought a lot of the characters behaved really repulsively, actually—the men and women alike. The stories have stunningly written, powerful prose, but there were lots of Spanish phrases and words peppered throughout that I didn’t understand, which pulled me right out of the narrative (I think they’re necessary, though—it’s just that I would have looked them up if I had the paper book in my hands and wasn’t driving). Junot Díaz is a dynamic reader and his performance commanded attention. This is also the first and only book I’ve read of Díaz’s… I have had his The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on my radar for a long time but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet, but this is the title of his my library had on audio. Maybe Oscar Wao would have been better to start with of his work? [Listened to audiobook on June 23, 2013.]

2 thoughts on “aspen audiobooks

  1. I keep thinking about reading WWZ. It isn’t my usual type of read but people keep saying that it’s not the usual type of zombie book!

    Frozen in Time is something isn’t it? Oh my word, those poor men! Unbelievable.

    I just didn’t GET This is How You Lose Her. 😦

    • I’d love to read your thoughts on WWZ if you end up getting to it!

      Yeah I feel mixed about This is How You Lose Her. Not my favorite thing ever, but there were some really great moments in the writing. I’m also not much of a short stories person in the first place. :-/

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