Audiobooks Save the Day

This is day one of my spring drive from San Jose to Edmonton. I am currently in Winnemucca, Nevada having driven for over seven hours. The first half of the journey was all traffic and the second half of the journey was all mountains and windy northern desert.

Snow at Donner Pass in the northern Sierra Nevada

You know how when they show tumbleweeds in movies they are just sauntering down freeways looking all soft and innocent? Well, they aren’t really like that.  One came at me today at about 50 mph accompanied by trash and rocks. Those bits and pieces all hit my car with a series of clonks and bangs before heading off to the southern side of the road. I haven’t seen any damage, but then again I haven’t looked very hard.

Donner Lake, northern Sierra Nevada

I had planned to listen to my music collection en route, but it turns out that since iTunes recently updated itself, I no longer have it all. I have some songs, but in the majority, all I have are the names of some songs accompanied by silence.  I suppose I have to figure out how to download them all to my phone again.

View from my motel room in Winnemucca Nevada, looking east.

Anyway, audiobooks saved the day. I started out listening to Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. It’s about the third time I’ve tried to listen to this book but it is really, really long and, for a book that is intended to be uplifting, it is quite wearying. For example, he goes into great detail about the infinitesimally small statistical likelihood that any country will engage in a nuclear war. So, I didn’t get very far with that.

In Winnemucca Nevada, looking south.

Then I started listening to The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. So far I’ve listened to two chapters and I’m loving it! I think I like it partly because the author, Oliver Burkeman, has a sense of humor that I enjoy. At one point, in reporting on a speech about positive thinking by George W. Bush, he focusses on the dour appearance of his security guards. Clearly, they hadn’t drunk the Kool-Aid.

Winnemucca Nevada, looking west.

As I was listening to these I was enjoying the beautiful scenery. There was snow at the top of the Donner Pass but none on the road. It was mostly an uneventful journey, aside from seeing a few FedEx trucks with two trailers (i.e. three containers in all) being blown off course by the wind. And, of course, there was that darned tumbleweed.






  1. Anne,

    I miss you already, instantly upon reading the title of this blog I felt somehow empty.

    I hope the most awful thing you encounter on the drive is that darn tumbleweed (which apparently does not just tumble along). I look forward to November solely because you will return.


  2. I am so happy to hear from you! I can hardly believe it is time for you to return home. Where does time go? I hope I get to see you next visit! I have to tell you how brave I think you are! Jane

  3. Haahaaa. You’re killing me. Love this update. Wow, there is a lot of snow in the mountains. Go figure ;P
    It’s starting to green up in Edmonton ❤
    I'm going to have to look for that second book you mentioned. Sounds like my jam!

  4. Wow! I have lived with tumbleweeds a good portion of my life, and have never had one with rocks and trash! How harrowing! I have given up on iTunes because I have the luxury of my husband’s love of music and technology. It does not sound like an intuitive program, from what he and others have said about iTunes. So glad you had audio books as well. Have you listened to The Number One Ladies Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith? The reader adds a richness to the book series.

    1. My iTunes app was fine once I had downloaded some albums. I don’t know why they had disappeared, though.

      I have read some of the Number One Ladies Detective Agency series and loved them. The book readers have definitely become better over the years since I first started listening to audiobooks. I have so many books lined up now I’m going to have to start listening in places other than my car!

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