Audio Book Reviewer
They say you can’t be too rich or too thin. I disagree, after hearing “Hughes,” the biography of the eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, written by Richard Hack. Howard had the whole world at his feet, could travel anywhere, could do or buy anything in the great outdoors, but chose in the end to live in a room with the shades drawn, wasting away, becoming richer and thinner with each passing year. Read by Dan Cashman, this is a fascinating tragedy, and the moral of the story is that you can be too rich, and some rich people aren’t rich at all. (New Millennium Audio/ISBN 1-59007-012-7)
After Howard Hughes, listen to “Jack,” meaning Jack Welch, called “the most admired business leader in the world,” the “Tiger Woods of management” and “Neutron Jack.” Bold, opinionated, willing to axe deadwood while nurturing potential, the recently retired head of General Electric for 20 years took his company to the heights of profitability with common sense gutsy moves that had mouths dropping and heads rolling. Hear him tell his own story of multi-billion dollar mergers and acquistions, some done over a handshake at the golf course. Then ask yourself if you can be too competitive and driven. (Time Warner Audiobooks/ISBN 1-58621-174-9)
Shall we move from the meaning of life to the meaninglessness of death? Okay. The “Darwin Awards” are given to those idiots who have removed themselves from the possibility of their adding defective genes to the proverbial pool due to some nutty, fatal mishap. My favorite story is about some duck hunters who just bought a new Jeep, took it out on the ice, then decided to throw a stick of dynamite further out in order to blow a hole for the ducks to land on. Well, one guy lit the 20-second fuse, threw it, and their bird dog ran after it, and started to bring it back. They shot at the bird dog, which scampered under the Jeep. Kaboom! – The Jeep sank, and they had their hole. The three CDs by Wendy Northcutt are read by Jason Harris. (Listen & Live Audio/ISBN 1-885408-72-2)
How about the meaninglessness of Washington politics? As Dave Barry tells it in “Dave Barry Hits Below The Beltway,” the town is a loony bin run by guys whose job is to take bribes and finance insane projects. And that’s just before their morning coffee. Take Dave’s hilarious virtual tour of the Capitol, then listen to how our leaders misinterpret the Constitution, and you’ll want to cry … with laughter. Narrator Dick Hill has the job here of delivering the goods of comedy with perfection of timing (so it won’t spoil) and intent (no detours or hitchhikers allowed). (Brilliance Audio/ISBN 1-58788-846-7)
For sheer genius in the genre of humorous commentary, you can’t beat P.J. O’Rourke, whose collection of essays “The CEO of the Sofa” contains pieces that were first published in places like Rolling Stone and Mens Journal. P.J. here satirically nails many paradoxes, including the United Nations, Hillary Clinton, middle age, babies, Social Security and himself. Dick Hill once again brings satire to life, giving us a point of view much funnier than the droll P.J. himself had been reading. The result? Comic material that is more insightful than, say, George Carlin or even Dennis Miller. Highly recommended for those in need of a deeper belly laugh. (Brilliance Audio/ISBN 1-58788-930-7)
Finally, comic novelist Kinky Friedman is back with “Steppin’ On A Rainbow,” set in Hawaii, about a big lug of a man who disappears on the beach, and is hunted by his friend “The Kinkster” (a New York private eye) and his wisecracking sidekicks. Ancient myths and taboos are dredged up in this mystery, but the main reason to hear this book is that it’s offbeat and very funny. Dick Hill also reads for this one. (Brilliance Audio/ISBN 1-58788-679-0)
Audio books can be rented or purchased at TalkingBooks.com or by calling 1-800-5Earful. You can also read author interviews conducted by Jonathan at CrackerBarrel.com. His award-winning crossover Christian suspense novel DARK FIRE is available for rent or sale from Books in Motion at truckstops or by calling 1-800-752-3199.