In the meantime, I've been listening to audiobooks lately, rather than reading. Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE reading. Unfortunately, with the other stuff I've got going on, I haven't had a lot of time to read lately. Instead of abandoning books altogether, though, I've been listening to audiobooks. I can listen while I drive, while I work, while I shop (yes, I listen to books while shopping), while I knit... Audiobooks make it nice and easy to multitask.
The thing is, I'm cheap. Or broke, depending on how you look at it. Anyways. I don't want to spend $20 on an audiobook, especially if I can just buy the paperback for $7.99 or so. I've been using the iTunes store and stocking up on classic books via Librivox. I started off with Jane Eyre last year, and while I don't think I would have had the patience to read it, I got through the audiobook in just a couple of weeks. I've also listened to most of the Anne of Green Gables series - I had read them as a child, and I was surprised to find myself enjoying them the second time around.
Right now, I'm working my way through Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. I've finished volume one, and I started on volume two this morning. As I was listening to it, I remembered why I had such a hard time getting through it when I first read it. I was in junior high, and I was so proud of my three-inch-thick book. I felt all smart and cultured as I carried it around. It took me several months to get through the book. It wasn't above my reading level, and the language wasn't anything complicated for me. It was just, well, boring. Hugo takes nineteen (19!) chapters to set up Thenardier as a thief. Nineteen chapters of inane details about the battle of Waterloo. NINETEEN!
By going back and listening to these classics, though, I'm getting a better handle on flow and pace and plot. I can see where Hugo loses my attention, and where he gets it back. I'm not saying that I can now write better than Victor Hugo - what I'm saying is, I'm starting to realize the things that make my attention wander. Once I realize what makes my attention wander, I can start to take that stuff out of my own writing. If I can get rid of the boring stuff, that just leaves the interesting stuff - the good stuff!
So I shall continue slogging through the boring parts and finish up Les Miserables, possibly by the end of next week, and then move on to the next one.
Curious about what's up next? Well, I haven't decided for sure, but here's what I've got in iTunes, ready to go:
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
- Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
- Emma by Jane Austen
- Heidi by Johanna Spyri
- Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
- Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
- Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
- Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett
- Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
- Ulysses by James Joyce
Any suggestions about what should be next on the playlist? Or other suggestions for classics to listen to?