Monday, April 9, 2012
Audiobook Review: I Never Liked My Dad
4 Stars - Strongly recommended to fans of the mundane - a great retro intro to the world of audio
Audio on Cassette (approx 2 hrs)
Publisher: Tent Revivalist
Ringggg... Ringgg... It's the 80's calling, they want their audio on cassette back!
Oh my god, can I just tell you what a mind trip reviewing this audiobook has been?! Like some of you out there, I grew up listening to books on tape - all the Disney books, like 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp, and Star Wars stories... Remember when they used to sell them as a package, the book and the tape? So you could read along as you listened? Ahhhh... memories.
As I got older, though, I lost the ability to concentrate on audiobooks and became exceptionally picky over the narrators, so much so that I ultimately gave up audio altogether. So I found it funny when, last year during BEA week, I came to possess a couple of audio CD's. Having grown bored of the radio on my commute to and from work, I decided to give them a shot. As I'm sure you've heard, the first two didn't go down very well. They sort of confirmed everything I hated about the format. They were also nothing like the books I would typically read, either. Then, I listened to Go the Fuck to Sleep, and decided that, even though it was sure to be a rough road for me, it was certainly going to be worth the trip ... I was on a mission: seeking out the best of the best audio books out there. And so far, the local library and Iambik Audio have been awesome audio sources for me.
A few months ago, I stumbled across The Lazy Fascist , and through them, discovered Sam Pink's upcoming audio on cassette - I Never Liked My Father - which contains sample chapters from Person, The No Hellos Diet, and more than a few of his poems. New to both the author and the publisher, I was happy to see that the audio was read by Sam himself. I haven't had the opportunity to hear an author read their own work on an audio recording before. Handled through Tent Revialist, this collection gives the listener a little peek into Sam's poetic and fictional work. (And ladies, the guy's got an incredibly cute voice.)
I wanted this audio (and Patrick Wensink's upcoming audio cassette of Broken Piano for President) so badly that I purchased a walkman with USB capabilities so that I could listen to these tapes in my car, through the computer speakers, and even save them as MP3 files.. it's the past melding with the present, and I think that is cool as all hell.
The readings themselves sound as though they were recorded straight into the mic on a tape deck, mostly clear and crisp with some occasional feedback and background noise (unless that was the crappy quality of my walkman, which wouldn't surprise me since it is a no-name brand thing I ordered through Overstock.com). It's an incredibly quick recording, clocking in at under two hours, and did I mention Sam sounds incredibly cute?
With poems like I am Going to Jumpkick Your Face and then Kiss It and The Earth Sniffed Paint While it was Pregnant with Me... I mean, come on, are you seriously going to sit there and tell me you're not the least bit interested in hearing what they're about? And this is the perfect opportunity to take Sam Pink's novels for a little no-commitment spin if you're new to him, as I was. Maybe you aren't ready to jump right into a new author-relationship. Maybe you're a little hesitant, not sure you'll dig his style. The publisher, perhaps aware of your wobbly kneed reaction to all of this, has offered up a sample poem for you listen to on their site. Go on, click the link. I'll wait.
Sam excels in relating the mundane (and he sounds cute, too, right?). He makes the everyday not so 'everyday' by stealing moments that could occur in anyone's life, going by completely unnoticed or with no more attention than we pay anything else, and building a cool little book out of it or shaping it into a poem that sticks with you for days. He's the everyman...
If you stick around, you'll see a review from me in the somewhat-very-near-future on Sam's novella The No Hellos Diet, which I was reading as I listened to I Never Liked My Dad. In the meantime, try to get your hands on the cassette. I believe it's being released in limited quantities - my copy is #36 of 50. Don't miss your chance to check out this audio sampling of Sam Pink's writing. And enjoy the totally retro feeling that washes over you as you stop the tape and flip it over to listen to the B-side. (This is where the term B-side originate from, kiddies!)
Many thanks to Lazy Fascist Press for putting me into touch with Sam Pink, and to Sam for shipping out a copy of the cassette and the accompanying copy of his novella Person.