I downloaded the audio version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love through Guardian‘s promotion, so I’m listening to that at the gym and on long bus rides in snowy Istanbul – it’s really a good idea to listen to audiobooks in crammed buses, because you cannot always sit in a comfortable position (if you can sit at all). You could also listen to it while you’re driving, so a good solution to the problem of wasting time in traffic. It’s a shame it took me so long to try this technology, but I’m not sure if all my favourite books are available in audio.
I haven’t watched the film, and I don’t think I will (I’m not a fan of the “cute” Julia Roberts). It’s surely an uplifting book – made me want to travel – very well narrated too, although I’m not enjoying the bits where she’s drawing a caricature of the places she’s visiting: Italy (oh that section 36 on Sicily!), India (she does make fun of Indian people’s spoken English) and Indonesia. The part that’s set in Italy reminded me of Anthony Capella’s The Food of Love – I’m sure there are many other books on young lonely American women enjoying Italian food and Italian men in Rome. (Elizabeth Gilbert decides to stay away from love life in Rome, but she does enjoy the sight of Italian men). I’d call the book a cross between travel writing and self-help, with long descriptions of food of course. She writes about her new-found spirituality in an honest and sincere way. Although spirituality is not that big a part of my life, I like the way she “converses with herself” in writing, putting on paper her thoughts, anxieties and hopes as clearly as possible, then coming up with considered responses to her own little crises, or requests – she calls it “an answer came through my pen.” I like writing too, so I’ll try to see it that way.
I like the fact that I’m hearing the book from the author’s voice, and she has a soothing one, so, a more intimate relationship between the author and myself the reader. She dramatizes the dialogues, which makes it sound a little like a radio play. I wish there was a way of bookmarking audiobooks on ipods though, I keep having to listen to minutes of narration before I find where I left off.
I’ve downloaded a few other titles – will look forward to listening to (or reading?) them after I finish with this one. By the way, We Need to Talk About Kevin the film is now showing in Istanbul cinemas!