#22 and #23, still rampaging

Posted on 11.12.2013

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I am not sure I believe the rampage I just went on, just after waking up.

I’m an early riser, and the boyfriend tends to sleep late. Since there’s not a whole lot to do at 7am aside from watching the room get brighter, and since I want to stay beside him, warm in bed, I do things online, like read the news. Or play Wordscraper with friends in the states who should really be asleep right now (I’m looking at you, Rick!). Thankfully, he’s grown accustomed to the sound of my typing and can sleep through it, so I’m not bothering sleeping beauty while typing this out.

As I mentioned earlier (yesterday? maybe?), I am looking for Gaiman and Dahl stories online to give to my students. I was on a site that lists all of the free stuff Neil’s allowed on the internet, and came across a podcast series where he read one of his shorts. It was a series of short story podcasts in general, so I subscribed to it. Free short stories being read to me? I do love sampling new authors. Got it.

From that, I had an idea. So I did an iTunes search for Roald Dahl, and wouldn’t you know it, he is ALL OVER TEH ITUNES. I’ve now also got a whole lot of free Dahl short stories, ℅ various podcasts. But I didn’t stop there: listeners who subscribed to this also subscribed to this collection of PG Wodehouse short stories (subscribed) and this series of modern crime shorts (signed up!). Oh and also, here’s an audiobook that is FAR too inexpensive, and contains 4 of Dahl’s children’s stories, read by THE MAN HIMSELF. Bought that shit.

But I didn’t stop there. I wondered if there might be a Hitchcock podcast. While there was, in fact, a literal ton of Hitchcock stuff, the only podcast was a collection of modern crime shorts. I subscribed to that, too. And then, awesome upon awesome, a few of his stories that were radio shows back in the 50’s (The 39 Steps, etc) are available as audiobooks for like $1.95 each. Compared to the going price of about $17/per on Audible, I went a bit crazy and bought all that was on offer.

All  of this, because of Neil’s list of what he’s got online. Thanks for that, Neil. Merry Christmas to me!

You might be wondering why I’ve suddenly jumped on the audiobooks and podcasts bandwagon. It’s simple, really: I want to keep reading, but after a full day of teaching English to students around the world on Skype, I literally have trouble focusing on a page or screen, and suffer from week-long headaches. Audiobooks allow me to still get the story, and probably at a slower pace than I might devour them if I were reading them myself.

It’s also kind of nice to have story time as an adult, I have to say. And also nice to hear an extra voice that is not asking me questions about grammar. It forces me to listen closer than I tend to when sampling a new album, or watching a movie.

And on top of this, although as an artist and designer I love the actual feel of paper and books… ebooks, audiobooks and podcasts are a hell of a lot easier to carry around than the full library I just downloaded. I’m about to move to a new country where I will have a 30 minute commute to work each way, every day, and no one will talk to me for the most part. Bring it on. Oh, and let’s not forget that 12+ hour flight I have ahead of me. We all know I never sleep on planes and look forward to watching all the movies I can squeeze in, but in the event that I get tired of that tiny screen, I now have an alternative that won’t weigh down the carry-on luggage. Or me.

fragilethings22. Other People, Neil Gaiman (December 11)
I’ve definitely read this one before, as I have certainly read all of the stories in the Fragile Things collection. Interestingly enough, not all of them have stuck with me. I didn’t quite remember this one, so when the opportunity came for Neil to read it to me (thank you, youtube, for that), I took it happily. As the story went on, I kind of remembered it, and knew how it would end… doesn’t change the fact that hearing it read by the author is one of the best things about audio book recordings. Or videos of him reading it, in this case. Not that I watched, I just lay in bed and listened after a very long teaching day, and was happy to rest my eyes for a bit.

I think that if there was a hell, this would be a good description. I’m not a religious person by any means, but his imagining seems… appropriate.

ill-1623. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, Neil Gaiman (December 11)
Holy hell, I had NEVER read this one before, and when I got to the part of the story where I realized what exactly was happening/about to happen, I had to actually stop the recording to ‘take a moment to compose myself’, and take in what had just happened/been revealed. As usual, shocked by the things Neil can imagine sometimes. I should have seen that one coming, as I’m starting to get used to his style of foreshadowing… but I totally missed it.

This one was excellent. I got to hear it on a podcast, as a recording of someone, maybe Neil, reading it. I don’t think it was him, but I might be wrong. I was very tired listening to this one, and had to go back a few times as I was falling out. It was longish, too… about an hour or so. But worth it on a Tuesday night after a long day.

I would definitely recommend this one to any fans of NG, or just good short stories in general.

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Today I make the trip into London again, to go to the Japanese Embassy and pick up my passport, hopefully complete with Japanese visa attached. I’ve packed my next Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus for the ride, but in the event of  a headache (I’m on day 3, currently), I’ve got plenty of stories to choose from:)

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