A Whole World of Friends

I'm about to say goodbye to some very special friends who have been keeping me company for the past few weeks. They've had some troubles during that time - a marriage has gone sour, and a career has gone down the drain. A little boy got into some trouble at school, and a bigger boy ended his life tragically. But there were triumphs to share as well - a new love for one, a happy move to another state for someone else. A young woman, traumatized by an accident, regained her sense of self and made peace with her life. I've become really involved in all their lives and loves, their fears and struggles, their hopes and dreams. Sadly, our relationship is about to come to an end, and I know I'm going to miss them.

By now you've probably guessed I'm talking about a book. I am a voracious reader, and sometimes a book comes along that just sucks me in until I barely know where the lives of the characters end and mine begins. I find myself anticipating the times when I can be with them, find out what's going to happen next in their lives, much as you would anticipate getting together with beloved friends.

This book is one of those delightful, delectable books that I want to last forever. And the thing that's made it even more enjoyable for me is that I'm listening to it as an audio book. Now for a long time, I just hated audio books. It seemed that as soon as the reading started, I would completely zone out, and before long several tracks had gone by with me paying absolutely no attention. Lately though, the tide has turned. I've listened to about a dozen audio books in the last year, always while I'm driving, and I've come to enjoy them immensely. They completely transport me from the world of traffic, cities, and superstores on every corner, and place me squarely in the midst of a completely different world filled with interesting characters and their joys and dilemmas.

Julia Glass is one of those authors whose writing I just want to wallow in. She has the most luscious way with phrases and descriptions, and her sentences are always so rich and comforting, like sweet, dark chocolate. When I first started reading (or actually listening) to this book, I feared I would be disappointed that I didn't have those beautiful words in front of my face, to re-read and study in black and white. But they translate perfectly into spoken words, and seem to resonate in my mind throughout the day.

As I listen to the last few pages in this magical novel, I'm preparing myself for the farewell that will come in the next few days. After 19 CD's, I've gotten to know this little group of people very well. My car will seem quite empty without them.