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Heard any good books lately? If you're like me and addicted to audiobooks, you know we'll have lots to talk about, compare, recommend to one other. Though my family used to listen to books on tape while driving to Tahoe, it wasn't until I got an iPod that audiobooks became a regular part of my life; classics, best-sellers, kidlit, what have you. I listen for about an hour a day while I walk in the Peninsula foothills. I've laughed out loud to Tina Fey reading her memoir, "Bossypants," and strained to hear Jacqueline Kennedy's breathy voice over the clinking of ice cubes in her cocktail glass as she speaks with historian Arthur Schlesinger. It took Jim Bouton more than 40 years to record his baseball classic, "Ball Four," and he still laughs at his old jokes and sexist stories.

The narrator doesn't have to be the author for me to love an audiobook. I was so mesmerized by Tim Robbins's reading of "The Great Gatsby," I immediately listened to it again. Anne Hathaway brings at least two dozen characters to life in her stunning performance of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." I'm drawn to favorite narrators the way other people wouldn't miss a certain actor's movie. For years my youngest went to sleep every night listening to Jim Dale read "Harry Potter." When I learned Bahni Turpin was one of the readers of "The Help" (along with Octavia Spencer!) I had to hear it even though I'd read the book two summers ago. I can't wait to step out the door at 6:00 o'clock every morning and listen to that recording.

If I cross paths with my friend Charlie, we take off our headphones to share what we're listening to. He introduced me to Mark Bramhall's reading of Wallace Stegner's novels of the West. "Angle of Repose" kept me hiking from May and into June. Next on my playlist -- "The Big Rock Candy Mountain."

What books would you like to walk with, cook or sew with, or if you're careful not to be too distracted, drive with? They're waiting for you at the library, bookstore or online. Have a listen!

With a Perspective, I'm Debbie Duncan.


Debbie Duncan lives on the Peninsula where she writes and reviews children's books.