A Dirty Job: Should You Read or Listen?

My weekly post to help you decide the best format to enjoy a book.  Without further ado:

Should you read or listen to A Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore?

The Afthead Summary:

After the unexpected death of his wife, Charlie raises his infant daughter Sophie through a series of hysterical misadventures.  Wait.  That doesn’t really sound funny or like a book anyone would want to read.  How about, A Dirty Job, a comic tale of a motherless child and her beta-male father battling the forces of evil.  Crud.  That’s not really selling it either.  Okay, I recognize that Christopher Moore isn’t for everyone, but trust me, this book is funny and you’ll hardly even mind the dying mom part once you start laughing.  If everything I have written so far upsets and disturbs you, do not pick up this book.  Listen to last week’s book, or wait until next week’s book.  But if you have a strong stomach for inappropriate humor, read on.  From the Russian neighbor and her discussion of the “tiny bears” (hamsters), to the Chinese neighbor who eats all the dead pets, to the harpies of darkness stalking  “new meat” (their nickname for Charlie) this book will teach you about the mythology of death, the kindness of strangers who become family, and the love of a father for his daughter.

Read:

I read the novel first and actually laughed out loud several times.  Moore’s writing is fresh, unexpected, and will make you think long after you put the book down.  The ending takes a bit to resolve, but it’s worth the ride.  If you read it, or have read it, please let me know so I have an outlet for all my funny allusions to this book that no one I know understands.

Listen:

This is an amazing audiobook.  Fisher Stevens’s voices for Minty Fresh, Charlie, the harpies, Sophie, Audrey, and the squirrel people make the book.  His characterization is so much better than what my imagination could supply.  Listening to him makes the characters take on solid form and distinct personalities.  When I’m feeling glum I start this one up again and laugh my way to work.

Again, this is not a book to listen to with small children, grandparents, humorless or judgmental people.  Know your listeners before sharing this one with friends.

Recommendation:

Listen


Much to my excitement and joy, I found out that Moore has published a sequel to this novel, and it was released in August!  Is there anything better than an unexpected sequel that is already out?  It’s my next read, so watch for a review in the coming months.

The Bees: Should You Read or Listen?

For quite some time now I’ve been trying to come up with a “regular feature” for my blog.  Something unique that I can offer the community.  On my ride into work, inspiration hit.  I listen to a ton of books.  My 0:45-1:30 commute gives me ample time to listen to books.  However, I really like listening to books that I have read already.   That way when the person in front of me slams on the brakes and I have to make evasive maneuvers I don’t miss any of the plot.  I can pick up right where I left off.  Bingo!  I can do reviews of reading versus listening to a book.  That way if you aren’t like me and automatically do both, you can gain from my dual book experience.  Without further ado:

Should you read or listen to The Bees, by Laline Paull?

The Afthead Summary:

The Bees is a remarkable novel told from the perspective of a honey bee.  Flora 717 isn’t just any honey bee, she a bee from the lowest class worker in her hive.  Flora shares the life of her hive from child rearing, to drone care, to foraging, to fighting enemies and through her life we learn of the political and social struggles of hive living.

Read:

I read the novel first and the book moved quickly and was one of my favorites of the year.  I loved Paull’s description of the hive and the places Flora visited.  Her perspective of life as a bee was so unique that it sucked me in, and I couldn’t stop reading.  I learned about the novel from NPR’s list of best books from 2014, which has contained some of the best books I’ve read this year.

Listen:

The listen on this wasn’t quite the experience of the read.  I’m a dedicated Audible user and I downloaded the book to my iPod to enjoy while I drive.  Sometimes the story is enhanced on the second telling, but for this one, I think the power of the story was in it’s uniqueness.  That was lost the second telling.  Also, the magic and the flow for me weren’t as apparent with the audio version.  I liked flying fast while Flora was on the wing and slowing down when she was tired.  The reader didn’t bring the same pacing to the story that I had internally.  Also, I’m a fast reader, and tend to miss details when I read.  In this case I think that helped.  At times I got tired of all the details, because in an audiobook I listen to them all.

Recommendation:

Read


Let me know what you think about this feature.  If it’s popular I’ll make it a normal Monday post.  Also, does anyone know about using images of book covers in my blog?  I took this picture, but since it has Paull’s cover, is that kosher?