While on our wild, arctic adventure, Rocco and I listened to an absolutely beautiful audio book – Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. This audio book was particularly wonderful because the actor on the recording, Lenny Henry, did a magnificent job of mastering the many dialects of Gaiman’s characters.
I know it makes me beyond uncool to love audio books, but I still do. I love to listen to them while I’m painting or while I’m out for a walk. It’s like having someone whispering a story in your ear…but without the awkward hot breath issues.
You know how sometimes you have an intense, almost debilitating craving for something…but you have no idea what that craving is for? And sometimes you aren’t even aware of the craving? Everything just looks a little dingy? Flat? And you start to wonder if something has broken in you or if the world was always flat and dingy and somehow you just hadn’t noticed?
And then you stumble upon a thing that magically satisfies that craving long after you’ve stopped looking for it and finally accepted that what there is must always have been all there ever was?
Yeah. That’s this book.
If I were to describe it in a single word, it would be delicious.
The only downside of listening to books rather than reading them is my inability to highlight the passages that make me swoon. But there was one passage so captivating I ran home and transcribed it for you guys. Man, am I good to you or what?
A voice from the creature, smooth as buttered oil. “He-llo,” it said. “Ding-dong. You look remarkably like dinner.”
I’m Charlie Nancy,” said Charlie Nancy. “Who are you?”
I am Dragon,” said the dragon. “And I shall devour you in one slow mouthful, little man in a hat.”
Charlie blinked. What would my father do? He wondered. What would Spider have done?…
“Er. You’re bored with talking to me now, and you’re going to let me pass unhindered,” he told the dragon, with as much conviction as he was able to muster.
“Gosh. Good try. But I’m afraid I’m not,” said the dragon, enthusiastically. “Actually, I’m going to eat you.”
“You aren’t scared of limes, are you?” asked Charlie, before remembering that he’d given the lime to Daisy.
The creature laughed scornfully. “I,” it said, “am frightened of nothing.”
“Nothing,” it said.
Charlie said, “Are you extremely frightened of nothing?”
“Absolutely terrified of it,” admitted the Dragon.
“You know,” said Charlie, “I have nothing in my pockets. Would you like to see it?”
“No,” said the Dragon uncomfortably, “I most definitely would not.”
There was a flapping of wings like sails, and Charlie was alone on the beach. “That,” he said, “was much too easy.”
Go read Anansi Boys. Or, if you’re willing to join the ranks of the woefully uncool, go listen to it. And then tell me if things don’t start to look a little shinier.