Our drive home for Christmas is a long and desolate one. It’s 7 hours of brown landscape interspersed with oil pump jacks and lonely little towns. Sure, there’s some majestic mountain views, but those pop up 4 hours into the journey.
Such hair-pulling road trips need two things:
- Accurate knowledge of public bathroom locations.
- Entertaining audio books.
One time I did NOT have an accurate knowledge of public bathroom locations and wound up having to pull over onto the shoulder of a quiet access road. A bowl was involved. And a strategic use of thigh muscles. I will not make that mistake again.
A few times, I have also been without an audio book which is almost as bad as not having a toilet to pee into. Especially during the stretch between Midland and Pecos. Or Van Horn and El Paso. Or, screw it, the whole damn drive!
This holiday road trip season, don’t get caught with your pants down OR without one of these entertaining audio books! “Entertaining” being the operative word here. There are plenty of snooze-worthy audio books out there (i.e. Wuthering Heights), but these will provide hours of eager, engaged listening. Happy Travels!
by Bill Bryson
This book comes highly recommended from my cute and witty librarian friend, Kristy. Therefore, it will be coming with us on our trip, and I can’t wait.
After all, you can never go wrong with Bill Bryson. He’s the genius of story-telling. Not only is his writing hilarious, it’s chock-full of fascinating historical tidbits. My brain feels like it’s received a B12 shot after reading one of Bryson’s novels.
Here’s an excerpt:
Australia is the world’s sixth largest country and its largest island. It is the only island that is also a continent, and the only continent that is also a country. It was the first continent conquered from the sea, and the last. It is the only nation that began as a prison.
It is the home of the largest living thing on earth, the Great Barrier Reef, and of the largest monolith, Ayers Rock (or Uluru to use its now-official, more respectful Aboriginal name). It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world’s ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures—the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish—are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. Pick up an innocuous cone shell from a Queensland beach, as innocent tourists are all too wont to do, and you will discover that the little fellow inside is not just astoundingly swift and testy but exceedingly venomous. If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback. It’s a tough place.
This is a country that is at once staggeringly empty and yet packed with stuff. Interesting stuff, ancient stuff, stuff not readily explained. Stuff yet to be found.
Trust me, this is an interesting place.
by Tina Fey
If it was a hoot to read, I can only imagine what Bossypants would be like to listen to! You’ll laugh till you cry and learn new favorite words such as “crotch biscuits.”
Here’s my FAVORITE excerpt:
This was how I found out that there are an infinite number of things that can be “incorrect” on a woman’s body. At any given moment on planet Earth, a woman is buying a product to correct one of the following “deficiencies”:
- big pores
- oily T-zone
- lunch lady arms
- nipples too big
- nipples too small
- breasts too big
- breasts too small
- one breast bigger than the other
- one breast smaller than the other (How are those two different things? I don’t know.)
- nasal labial folds
- “no arch in my eyebrows!”
- FUPA (a delightfully crude acronym for a protruding lower belly)
- muffin top
- spider veins
- crotch biscuits (that’s what I call the wobbly triangles on one’s inner thighs)
- thin lashes
- bony knees
- low hairline
- calves too big
- “no calves!”
- “green undertones in my skin”
- and my personal favorite, “bad nail beds”
…But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.
By David Sedaris
This is a holiday road trip must! Holidays on Ice is a compilation of short stories with the BEST story being “Santaland Diaries,” Sedaris’ account of his days as an elf at Macy’s. The miles will fly as you listen to this book!
Here’s my FAVORITE excerpt:
We were packed today, absolutely packed, and everyone was cranky. Once the line gets long we break it up into four different lines because anyone in their right mind would leave if they knew it would take over two hours to see Santa. Two hours — you could see a movie in two hours. Standing in a two-hour line makes people worry that they’re not living in a democratic nation. People stand in line for two hours and they go over the edge. I was sent into the hallway to direct the second phase of the line. The hallway was packed with people, and all of them seemed to stop me with a question: which way to the down escalator, which way to the elevator, the Patio Restaurant, gift wrap, the women’s rest room, Trim-A-Tree. There was a line for Santa and a line for the women’s bathroom, and one woman, after asking me a dozen questions already, asked, “Which is the line for the women’s bathroom?” I shouted that I thought it was the line with all the women in it. She said, “I’m going to have you fired.” I had two people say that to me today, “I’m going to have you fired.” Go ahead, be my guest. I’m wearing a green velvet costume; it doesn’t get any worse than this. Who do these people think they are? “I’m going to have you fired!” and I wanted to lean over and say, “I’m going to have you killed.”
By Roald Dahl
This was the first book Mr. Smith and I ever read together. We were newly married and, for some reason, obsessed with reliving childhood. (Hence the tub of Legos Mr. Smith got me for Christmas that year.) Ever since then, we have referred to human beings as “human beans.”
Here’s an excerpt:
In the silvery moonlight, the village street she knew so well seemed completely different. The houses looked bent and crooked, like houses in a fairy tale. Everything was pale and ghostly and milky-white. Across the road, she could see Mrs Rance’s shop, where you bought buttons and wool and bits of elastic. It didn’t look real. There was something dim and misty about that too.
Sophie allowed her eye to travel further and further down the street.
Suddenly she froze. There was something coming up the street on the opposite side.
It was something black . . .
Something tall and black . . .
Something very tall and very black and very thin.
By Andy Weir
Mr. Smith just finished reading this book. For a while there, I though the book had become glued to his nose. The story is so riveting, in fact, that Mr. Smith wouldn’t mind it a bit if we listened to the audio book on our road trip.
Here’s an excerpt:
So that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one days.
If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m fucked.
Hope you enjoy safe and entertaining holiday travels!