I’m trying out audiobooks now, although I just missed growing up with radio alone and therefore do not have the attention span it takes to listen competently. My husband Darren can listen all day long to Garrison Keillor and never miss a word, but my mind wanders. He mentioned bread. We need to get some bread. I need to remember to start getting my bread and milk at Braum’s, where it’s fresher and relatively local and there are supposedly no hormones in the milk. A Braum’s chocolate malt sounds good. But I’d be sorry later; I know I would. Wait a minute, why is everyone laughing? What did he say about tractors? But I have to find some way to walk 8 times a day around the mall, which is about 3 miles, which is the least I can do if I also want to complain about getting fat in the middle and old all over. And I do. Audible.com recently offered a free month’s subscription, two books, so I signed up and chose two of the five books I have agreed to read this summer for our school book club. First, Nineteen Minutes by Picoult. I have never read her before, but the subject intrigues me (the aftermath of a school shooting), so hey, free dummy. I have read Lincoln Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin and the recent nonfiction Columbine (which I highly recommend). I have also read one Nicholas Sparks book and survived, so I thought I was ready. It started out all right, I suppose. A little over-explained, some poor word choice, a few clichés. But it grows worse every day. The plot centers on two women (don’t they always?) — the mother of the bullied shooter, and mother of his female friend, who is mildly injured in the shooting. First one is an ob/gyn, second one a judge. A judge who can’t decide what to wear on her first day in court, even though she will be wearing a robe over it. The ob/gyn isn’t much better. In an early scene, she leaves her newborn with the future judge, whom she has just met in a coffee shop, while she goes to the bathroom. See, it’s this kind of thing that starts to drive me crazy. A writer who betrays her own characters. A female writer whose every female character is a nitwit. There are also a lot of non- or barely researched plot points that can do nothing but stand out pitifully, the way I did in high school. Like, the hospitals in the area are “full,” so someone asks the detective on scene what to do, because the ambulances with all the injured are just sitting there with no place to go. I guess they don’t have dispatchers, or medical personnel, in New England, who might be able to handle that. Well, I don’t want to go on and on (though I could) because then I might get angry. My lowest point was when I realized the audio of this book was 21 hours long. Pity me.