Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What a Treat

Today I rediscovered an old favorite book. There are several books on my all time favorites list, including Little Women, Gone With the Wind, A Wrinkle in Time and To Kill a Mockingbird. Over the course of the last year or so, I've indulged myself in purchasing and listening to Little Women and A Wrinkle in Time audiobooks. I'm waiting for Gone With the Wind to be issued on CD (it's 28 cassettes and I just don't have the necessary patience to deal with 28 cassettes). Until a couple of months ago To Kill a Mockingbird was not available on any format. But just before Thanksgiving, a version narrated by Sissy Spacek was released.

I knew I had to have it. I loved the book and I love Sissy Spacek. But I hesitated to buy it before Christmas for fear someone would think to get it as a Christmas present. It was hard to wait, but when the possibility had passed I immediately got on EBAY and found myself a copy at a good price. Today I listened to the first two hours.

I am in love with the book all over again. You know how it is. Once upon a time you read a book, and in subsequent readings you skip to the good parts and don't waste your time with the descriptive narrative. As the years go by, you begin to forget all the subtle foundation that the author built and only remember the highlights. While the movie was an excellent adaption and I've seen it many times, that subtlety is lost in the interest of condensation to fit into a 2-1/2 hour time frame. Listening to a book, you rediscover all the delicate shading of atmosphere. Harper Lee may have written only one book in her career, but with a book like this there was no way to go but down. She wisely quit while she was ahead.

What a perfect book to listen to while driving through the lazy farm land between Bastrop and Round Rock. I have 9 more CDs to savor and then I may just plan on listening to it at least once a year. Now that I've rediscovered it, I don't want to lose it again.

A little side note about that commute. I realized after a week that I'm getting to work in a much better mood these days. It may be 12 minutes longer to get to the office, but I have very little traffic to contend with. I haven't been pushed to utter profanity at another driver once since I stopped driving through Austin. I'm thinking the increased time may be well paid back in the lack of wear and tear on my nerves.

Another little side note about the book. When we named the kittens, we chose Boo and Scout for two characters from To Kill a Mockingbird. I knew it felt right at the time, but after today's trip into depression-era Alabama, it feels exactly right.

How wonderful to rediscover an old friend and find that you still feel the same about it all these years later.


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