Books are even more fun when they star Keanu Reeves!+comment
If there were a movie starring Catherine Keener, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Ed Norton, John Hodgman and Keanu Reeves, you would totally want to see it, right? I know I would. Well, what if that movie was, in fact, a book? A non-fiction book about the history of Hawaii. Well, that’s what you’ll get with Sarah Vowell’s latest, Unfamiliar Fishes.
Though I love audiobooks in general, I’m enough of a book snob that I don’t really consider myself as having read a book if I’ve only listened to it. (I used to take this kind of snobbery to an obnoxious extreme when it came to film: If someone asked me if I had seen a particular movie, I’d say, “Well, I’ve seen it on video”, because it didn’t count if I hadn’t seen it projected in the theater. Yes, I would like to invent a time machine to go back and punch the 19-year-old me in the face) Sometimes I’m fine with just listening to a book – I go audiobook with the fluffy, plot based books while I kick it old school for the high-brow stuff.
But whenever Sarah Vowell writes a new book I’m always torn. On the one hand, I adore her writing style and she definitely writes well enough to deserve to be read. Also, no matter how entertaining she makes it, she is still writing about history and if I want to retain anything at all I should definitely be looking at the words.
But on the other hand, absolutely nobody gives better audiobook than Sarah Vowell. All of her books are like a comedy cool kid club and I’m just happy to get to tag along. Assassination Vacation may just be the best audiobook of all time.
(here’s fan animation to a short part of the first chapter)
Though not featured in the above animated clip, Jon Stewart’s book loving slacker of a President James Garfield is adorable.
No matter how awesome the ‘cast’, the centerpiece of her audiobooks is Sarah herself. Vowell’s tastes run to the macabre, but in a totally hilarious way. For those of you not familiar with her work on This American Life, she also voiced Violet, the teenage superhero in Pixar’s The Incredibles. I adore her voice – as you can hear, it is both deadpan and girlie at the same time – it’s sort of like having Wednesday Adams tell you interesting anecdotes about yellow fever after sucking down nitrous. I like to think of her as the chipmunk of death.
Like I said, I’m torn. Not being a fan of hardback books (too cumbersome in the bath), I think I’ll use an audible credit for the first go around of Unfamiliar Fishes, and then revisit it when it comes out it paperback.
(I know this video is 10 minutes long, but totally worth it – it is Sarah Vowell talking about voicing The Incredibles while writing Assassination Vacation, and it is hilarious)