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I’m not sure why I never listened to audiobooks as a kid, but I’m sure a fan now.  Nothing makes the drive to work better than a little time spent in the company of an excellent narrator.   Last year I wrote about how I listen to audiobooks, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about again, now that I’m the audiobook selector for the children’s library.  It’s hard to decide what to order, for a few reasons.  The budget doesn’t stretch as far – audiobooks cost way more than the print versions, so I have to choose more carefully.  And the shelf space is very limited, even if the budget were limitless.

Thinking about what to order, and looking at what I’ve been listening to recently, I’ve realized that the combination of audio and a series is pretty perfect.   Maybe it’s a little bit like when you’re becoming a confident reader and you latch onto series fiction – you’ve already gotten to know the world of the books, there’s an element of predictability that makes for a comfortable read, and you are pretty sure you’ll enjoy the next installment (it’s also like what a lot of adults read – just look at the bestseller lists).

Since audiobooks require more of a time investment (for quick readers, that it – audio is also good for struggling readers who want the story without getting bogged down) a lot of the same appeal factors come into play.  You want to know you’ll like it.  There are lots of distractions on the road, so that element of predictability can be handy.  A story that requires too much processing of new information sometimes doesn’t work as well under those circumstances.

So what have I been listening to?  Series.  Adult series, kids’ series.  Mysteries, fantasy, historical fiction, humor.  Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series, L.A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack adventures, Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho books.  Throw in a few rereads and that’s most of my listening so far this year.

Now I’ve just got to catch up on writing reviews of what I’ve listened to – to look at my Goodreads list, you’d think I was listening to four books at once.


In my seemingly endless effort to catch up on posting Long Distance Kitchen recipes, here’s what came next: Acorn Squash with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette, courtesy (again) of Smitten Kitchen.  Bronwen’s version can be found here.

This is a tasty, simple way to prepare squash.  Basically, you cut it into wedges, toss with salt, pepper and oil, and roast until done.  The wedges get all lovely and browned, and you can go about making something to eat with it.  I was super lazy and just made some rice.

While it’s roasting, you prepare a vinaigrette.  Don’t skip this, because it’s delicious.  Don’t think, I’ll just eat some plain roasted squash.  Don’t.

Mash some garlic (I was spacing out and had my handsome assistant do this, so I’m not really sure how it happened – like Bronwen, no mortar and pestle at my house).  Add salt, lime juice, chili and cilantro, plus some oil.  I just used some chili pepper flakes, lacking a fresh hot red chili.  Chilies intimidate me.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over your roasted squash.  Enjoy.

My only quibble with this recipe is that one squash + two people = lots of leftovers, and it was pretty blah when reheated.  Some of the zing was gone, as well as the great crispness of the freshly roasted squash.  Or maybe only dress the slices you’re going to eat, and reserve some vinaigrette, and recrisp your squash under the broiler for a minute when you get around to eating the leftovers.

April 2010
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