Junot Diaz is a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and professor at MIT. He also speaks English with a native Dominican accent. These two facts make his latest novel, This is How You Lose Her, an unusually good choice for audiobook.
The stories, which surround the life of a Dominican man at different points in his life, are well-written. They are on themes of infidelity, friendship, love found, and love lost. There are sentences like “The half-life of love is forever.” When Diaz speaks these sentences on the audiobook from the perspective of the man, he does so with intensity — especially when it’s a lewd reference or expletive. There are probably a dozen Spanish sentences scattered throughout, and Dominican musical beats separating each chapter.
So far, my algorithm for listening to audiobook (vs. print or e-book) has been “something I probably won’t need to reference later.” This recent experience has led me to modify that criteria: I’ll also seek audiobook when it’s read by someone with a voice that truly upgrades the reading experience in authentic way.
One other point on audiobooks: I’m buying CDs now for the car because it’s too damn hard to download MP3s and sync across iTunes and control the start/stop functions while also using phone’s GPS. Old school works.