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15 October 2011 ·

iPads, iPods, Playaways & old fashioned books: What I’m reading and How

I had some sort of stomach flu last week, and was a bit shocked to find that I didn’t even feel well enough to read for a couple of days. I started listening to an audiobook, and finally had two days when I still didn’t feel well enough to write, but could truly enjoy reading what someone else had written! So, combined with what I’d already been reading and wasn’t in the mood for while recuperating, I realised that I had quite a variety of books on the go, in quite a variety of different media.

On the iPod: Some Sing and Some Cry, by  Ntozake Shange and her sister Ifa Bayeza, narrated by Robin Miles – and what a magnificent voice she has to read, and sing, this wonderful novel. It’s a multigenerational saga, which makes it very long as an audio book, but totally engrossing. 

On the iPad: A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy. My daughter rates this as one of the best books she’s ever read, so it seemed an appropriate choice as my first ebook, since she gave me the iPad. I started it at the Brisbane Writers Festival, and enjoyed reading it on solitary breakfasts; less convenient as we had visitors for a month on my return. The book is very funny, wry and sad, but I think it will take me a bit longer to feel completely the same about reading on screen as on paper. 

In hard copy (normal!) books: Wise Children by Angela Carter, a great 20 c op shop find and fun, engaging read
Time Bites by Doris Lessing – a collection of essays, wise, wonderful and excellent for dipping into in odd moments and between novels

Du Coté de Chez Swann – I’m loving this, but it needs full concentration, good light, and a French dictionary on standby

The Proust Project – a selection of essays by 28 writers on their experience with Proust. Since it’s in English, I read a selection as a bit of a reward in between sections of actual Proust

And on a Playaway for Book Club – I’ve just finished listening to the Naked Buddha. If you haven’t seen a playaway, they’re an individual mp3 player for one book, so ideal for libraries as they can’t be pirated. I greatly approve them, although this one seemed to be faulty and kept fast forwarding when I tried to rewind after falling asleep listening….
(I’ve returned this to the library, so the photo is of the Playaway for Peeling the Onion.) 

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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio