I had a wonderful discovery at our local library recently: Playaways!
Audiobooks no longer come in just bulky cassettes or CDs that you have to load in a CD player or burn into your ipod or MP3 device. Playaway is "the world's first pre-loaded digital audio player!" It's a self-playing audio gadget with the book already loaded inside, and all you need is your fave pair of headphones and one AAA-sized battery! How convenient!
Curious, I borrowed Ian McEwan's "The Atonement." I've seen the movie which starred Keira Knightley and the dreamy James McAvoy. What attracts me to audiobooks is that I like to listen to people talk, hear their accents and pronounce words. In this Playaway version of the book, I was amused at how the word "migraine" was pronounced as "MEE-grain." And these are no ordinary people who read the book out loud for the Playaway, they're professional actors who can easily adjust their accents according to the characters talking in the story.
What I love about Playaway is how you can adjust the speed of how the narrator talks, the volume, and fast forward and rewind the chapters. It's like Tivo for audiobooks!
I just finished listening to John Grisham's "Playing for Pizza." It could very well have been entitled "Playing for Prosciutto" or "Playing for Parmesan Cheese," because those two food items also appear prominently in this sports-themed story of a failed NFL quarterback who found himself playing for an obscure Italian football team in Parma. Grisham manages to treat his readers to sidetrips around Italy through the main character, Rick Dockery, aside from the main goal of scoring an Italian Superbowl. I like how the narrator shifted from an American accent, to thick Italian accent (Rick became "Reeek"), to female Southern (Georgia) accent. Voice acting is also a remarkable talent!
And since Grisham is a lawyer, he also managed to squeeze in an Italian judge character who plays with Rick in the team and a side serving of immigration law where visas are concerned.
Listening to Playaway also encourages you to multitask. You can clean your room, do the dishes and the laundry while listening to it.
I hope my library acquires more Playaway books. Looking forward to my next one!