I have never before listened to an audio book. How Luddite is that of me? I am just old-fashioned enough to think that I needed to have the heft of a hardcover book in my hands to read it. To be honest I have never even read an e-book on my computer or iPad. And then I received the audio copy of a book which I had read and raved about last year....and in a reckless moment I put the disc into my car cd-player. Oh, my God, I was hooked! To explain, I had reviewed here on Huffington the first book written by Lani Hall Alpert, the Grammy Award-winning vocalist/singer. The former lead singer of Brasil '66 and wife-musical partner of famed trumpeter Herb Alpert, I heard her sing in Portuguese, Spanish and English over the years, always imagining that she had a foreign heritage. But no, she was a Windy City gal, growing up on the North side of the city in the decade made famous by Nelson Algren in The Man With the Golden Arm. I still thrill to the memory of her singing the title song in 1983 of the James Bond film, Never Say Never Again.
When I read her EMOTIONAL MEMOIRS & Short Stories I was so emotionally blown away by the exceptional writing and storytelling I headlined that it was "Startling, Scandalous and Absolutely Sensational." In the book she shared an intensely personal narrative in a collection of ten fiction and non-fiction stories about her personal history growing up in 1960's Chicago. Long before it was the Obama community-organizer/Rahm Emmanuel city, her Chicago was a desperate, dirty, dynamic, corrupt, sexy and sick place. All depicted with fierce honesty....and I was spellbound by the intelligent, modern women I found in those pages...women who were struggling to navigate the uncertain waters of life-altering situations. Each story was somehow related to the next even though some were fiction and some were interspersed with true personal reflections (a fascinating device which worked for me.) Powerful stuff.... adultery, therapy, cosmetic surgery, post-partum depression and a lot of interesting sexuality. As I said in my previous review, she gave me a rare glimpse into the double-edged sword that is the life of the artist. I came away from the book thinking that as a mature, somewhat worldly man, I had been given a sudden insight into women which I could have used much earlier in my life.
Cut to this week...and the audio disc which appeared in my mail and went into my car's sound system. Lani has herself narrated the chapters of the book...her soft, seductive voice guiding us listeners through the vivid cityscape of the Chicago streets...amidst her themes, as I related above, of sexuality, depression and self-preservation among modern women protagonists. The narration is accompanied by a musical score chosen by Lani from the Extreme Musical catalogue, with additional music supplied by her husband, musical legend Herb Alpert, and Michael Colombier. The pacing of the musical score builds an emotional landscape of anticipation and feeling that moves the listener along with Lani's every word. I have found myself sitting in my car, late for my lunch date but unable to tear myself away from listening to the story she is telling. Talk about being hooked! I never expected to react this way.
Lani and Herb performing at the club they own, Vibrato
HERE'S AN ASTONISHING OFFER FOR MY HUFFINGTON READERS. Starting on Feb. 1st, for the entire month 'til Feb. 28th, Lani is offering the audiobook for free as a gift to fans and avid readers. The audiobook is available for free download to your computer, iPad or iPhone by going to Lani Hall Alpert's website...http://lanihallalpert.com. But frankly I think that you should go to iTunes or Amazon and buy the audiobook disc so you can play it as I did in my car. It's about five hours of wonderful narrative...bringing the power of her remarkable voice first to the printed page and now to the world of audio books. It's a treat every minute of the way.
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