But now I'm without a book. Or I was! Until I went to our local library and checked out a few new books on CD. The first, and the title of our post today, is Jonathan Strange and Dr. Norrell. I'm too lazy to type a description of it, but here it is swiped from Amazon:
"It's 1808 and that Corsican upstart Napoleon is battering the English army and navy. Enter Mr. Norrell, a fusty but ambitious scholar from the Yorkshire countryside and the first practical magician in hundreds of years. What better way to demonstrate his revival of British magic than to change the course of the Napoleonic wars? Susanna Clarke's ingenious first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, has the cleverness and lightness of touch of the Harry Potter series, but is less a fairy tale of good versus evil than a fantastic comedy of manners, complete with elaborate false footnotes, occasional period spellings, and a dense, lively mythology teeming beneath the narrative. Mr. Norrell moves to London to establish his influence in government circles, devising such powerful illusions as an 11-day blockade of French ports by English ships fabricated from rainwater. But however skillful his magic, his vanity provides an Achilles heel, and the differing ambitions of his more glamorous apprentice, Jonathan Strange, threaten to topple all that Mr. Norrell has achieved. A sparkling debut from Susanna Clarke--and it's not all fairy dust. --Regina Marler"
Naturally, I couldn't have said it better myself. The book was recommended to me, indirectly, by Seeker, a regular commentator here at T&S, through my beloved. I popped it in the car today while stuck in traffic and, after listening to 15 minutes, I'm hooked. I love the writing style, the topic, the rich mythology that underlies it all, and the sense of humor that lurks just around the bend. It's a very long book - 28 discs long (so well over 1700 minutes or close to 30 hours) - but I'm really looking forward to it. So I'll let you know how it goes, as it goes, and will dread tomorrow's traffic jams just a little bit less.
Footnote: Still using SoundJuicer to rip the tracks and Thunar to rename them. I just love Thunar - handiest little application I've found yet on Linux.