I have a longish commute everyday through fairly heavy traffic. When I first started this job, I had no idea how this commute would affect me. At first, I was fine. I wasn’t aggressive, I slowed to let people in, and I gave grace when people did stupid things. Gradually, however, I found myself becoming competitive and angry, especially when I was tired. Recognizing that this was unhealthy, I knew that I needed to do something to redirect my brain into healthier pathways. Music didn’t help. Deep breathing didn’t help.
Audiobooks worked like a charm.
They distract me just enough that I don’t care about stupid drivers, but I’m not unsafe. Just what I needed. So, I’m always looking for a good audiobook. And, as a terrific bonus, I can give great recommendations to patrons.
The audiobook that I just finished was fantastic. A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder really comes into its own as read by Susan Denaker. It’s the story of a crusty old dragon, Miss Drake, who is grieving the death of her human pet, Fluffy (a.k.a. Amelia), and Amelia’s great niece, Winnie. Amelia wrote to Winnie before her death and explained all about Miss Drake. Now Winnie and her mother have inherited Amelia’s estate, and Winnie takes on the task of bringing Miss Drake out of her grief. When Winnie accidentally sets a bunch of magical creatures loose on San Francisco, it’s up to her and Miss Drake to rescue the city.
Even while I was listening to it, I imagined reading it and thinking, “This wouldn’t be nearly as good if I was reading it.” The book is told by Miss Drake, and Denaker absolutely brings her to life. She is clever, grumpy, arrogant, and deeply grieved by her pet’s death. Winnie is just as clever, and uses her wits to annoy Miss Drake out of her self-imposed solitude. The two make a brilliant team.
I was so delighted by the tale that I couldn’t wait to get into the car each day to get my next fix, and was terribly tempted to sit in the car and listen on. I was surprised and pleased by the resolution of the story, which made me tear up.
When I enthusiastically recommended it to a co-worker, she said that she had hated the book, and set it down after two chapters. So, if you’re interested, really get this as an audiobook. Evidently, it makes all the difference.
The copy for review was supplied by my library.