David Pisarra

I’ve been listening to books on audio this past year. It’s an amazing way to increase one’s literature intake, improve business skills and dive deeper into the news than just listening to the radio while I’m driving. If you have a smartphone, like an iPhone or any late model phone I suppose, you can download a variety of apps that will support free audiobooks from the library.

My Santa Monica library card allows me to borrow both audio and ebooks using Hoopla, which is a free downloadable application. Once you download the app you input your library card, verify your account by email and wham-o you can download a huge variety of audiobooks, ebooks, and media.

Last calendar year I was able to “read” / listen to over 50 books by way of both Hoopla and the Libby app which I use for my Los Angeles Library account. Yes, I have two accounts so that I can consume that many more books. Hoopla limits your monthly borrows to 6 I believe, and I was going through them so quickly that I needed a second account. I prefer the Libby app because it seems that I can borrow more.

Audiobooks are a wonderful way to consume both educational content, and entertainment. For example, I’ve listened to a slew of real estate investing books, marketing books, and sales trainings over the past year. When that wore out and I was ready for some “brain candy” I found the joy of fiction books.

I was driving around the city as I like to do, so that I can keep an eye on the businesses; I had just finished a little light reading on mortgage financing when I wanted a change and the Libby app served up a suggestion of a romance novel. Now, in my 54 years on earth, and with all the reading I’ve done, I can honestly say that I had never entertained the idea of reading a romance novel. But there I was, tawdry cover design, one word title and me willing to try something new since it wasn’t going to cost me anything but a few moments to decide if I liked it.

The book, Unforgiven, had a drawing of a shirtless man in repose. In a moment of literary weakness I read the description of the story – a tale of two best friends who fall in love – and immediately downloaded it. As the story unfolded, told by actors playing the various character, I was drawn in to the drama in a way that I had no idea was possible. It was like listening to old time radio, but better as the story was steamy, lustful and deliciously enticing.

When I finished listening to Unforgiven, I returned to my usual fare of educational / business books, but a craving for more of the fiction world had been awakened. I began looking around the virtual library for more interesting audiobooks. I didn’t want to become an aficionado of the romance novel – it is enjoyable, but not the way that I want to spend my time. I’m more of a Jeffrey Archer, Trevanian, Carl Hiassen kinda guy for my fun reads.

The search made me think of the book Shibumi, it was a red hot novel in the early 80s. I loved it, and always thought it would be a great movie. Considering the other titles in the author’s CV, it’s no surprise. Trevanian was a pen name for Rodney Whitaker who wrote the screenplay for The Eiger Sanction, and novel The Loo Sanction, his storytelling was in a class of its own. When I went searching decades ago, no sequel had been written by Trevanian, the author, and unfortunately he passed away in the winter of 2005.

Luckily though, Trevanian’s literary executor his daughter, heard the call for a sequel, or prequel, and found an author whom she trusted enough to pick up the pen and bring to life, Nicolai Hel, once more. I found the audiobook on Libby and for the past week I’ve been working my way through the 12 hour audiobook as the exploits of an international assassin are painted in words in my mind. It has been a glorious escape from the day to day boring repetitive news of COVID, the Trump impeachment redux and the tale of our city’s economic implosion.

I truly wish to thank the Santa Monica Public Library system for opening my eyes to the wealth of literature, business writings and adventures that await by way of the Hoopla app. Having a library card opens the world to us, and with the addition of apps makes it all portable, virtual and a new experience. Plus, it’s free. Best deal in town.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra