It’s amazing that a road trip taken in 1962 can have relevance today, but when the author is John Steinbeck, the observations are way, way ahead of their time. “Travels With Charley” refers to Steinbeck’s dog, which he took across the country to discover America in a trailer that was actually an apartment built atop a flatbed truck. “The Grapes of Wrath” author hits the roads, offering his astute comments on everything from state police to road signs. And he talks with quite a few truckers along the way. The book is a bit over eight hours, and can be rented from Recorded Books at 1-800-638-1304. It is narratored by Ron McLarty. (ISBN 0-7887-3482-2)Christopher Whitcomb was part of the elite FBI Hostage Rescue Team at Ruby Ridge and Waco. Hear his take on those fiascos, and learn what life is really like inside the bureau for a new recruit in “Cold Zero,” which is read by the author. (Time Warner Audiobooks/ISBN 1-58621-181-1)
Need a good laugh? Stand-up comedy can now be savored on CD while sitting down behind the wheel. An award-winning example is John Pinette’s “Show Me the Buffet,” which would make skinny people run and hide. Visit Uproar.com or e-mail Uproarcd@aol.com for ordering info.Tired of “Star Trek”? Try some classic science fiction in “A Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, read by Dennis McKee. Join John Carter, held captive by the savage green men of Thark, along with the lovely Princess of Helium. Burroughs is the author of “Tarzan,” but did you know the Los Angeles suburb of Tarzana was named after him? Rent on CD from Blackstone Audiobooks at 1-800-729-2665. (ISBN 0-7861-9700-5)
“Dragon Hunter” by Charles Gallenkamp is a fascinating true account of the most ambitious dinosaur expedition ever, which in the 1920s uncovered the first major finds of dinosaur eggs and Velociraptor skeletons. Said to be the inspiration for “Indiana Jones,” explorer Roy C. Andrews is profiled by narrator Scott Brick. (Books on Tape/1-800-959-8273/ISBN 0-7366-7179-X)A poetic family story full of romance and jealousy, leading to a violent incident that becomes difficult for the youngest of the family to let go … that’s how one might describe “Swimming” by Joanna Hershon. Kate Reading as narrator is in top form, giving a believable, almost haunting performance to this sensitive tale. (The Publishing Mills/ISBN 157511091-1)
In Clive Cussler’s “Valhalla Rising” the plot involves a burning cruise ship, Norse legend and a mysterious submarine. Cussler is not nearly as good a writer as, say, James Lee Burke, but his plots are devilish fun, like 007, while his love and utilization of antique cars and ships and planes keeps the story original. Actor Ron McLarty reads the abridged story. An unabridged version also is available from Books on Tape. (Putnam Berkley Audio/ISBN 0-399-14816-7)Michael Capuzzo tells the true story that inspired “Jaws” in “Close to Shore,” about a rampaging great white shark that attacked swimmers off the Jersey shore in 1916. On hearing this narrative, you may want to go back in time with a copy of “Jaws,” and shake these people, because they simply refuse to believe it’s a shark doing this to them! Even the ignorant scientists of the day mock the idea. As told by Capuzzo, the story is as much about the people and times of the era as it is about teeth in the water. Actor Len Cariou lends his gruff nicotine voice to the history, a voice that is appropriate because no extra dramatization is needed. (BDD Audio/0-553-52769-X)
For rental of abridged titles, visit Earful.com. Reviewer Jonathan Lowe’s crossover Christian suspense “Dark Fire” is getting media buzz as being “more powerful than ‘Left Behind.’” Find out why by renting from Books in Motion at truckstops or by calling 1-800-752-3199.