Friday, February 25, 2005

Who Let the Dogs In? by Molly Ivins

For nearly two weeks I have been listening to the 10-disc audiobook of Who Let the Dogs In? by Molly Ivins, read by Anna Fields. The book is a selective collection of Ivins’ columns from newspapers over the course of her career. It is rather large body of work. I listened while driving to work and home and while running errands and while doings household chores. I also listened in the wee hours when I was awake in a counterproductive attempt to induce sleep. What was I thinking? Ivins writes to wake people up!

Ivins writes about politics, which means she often writes about fraud, corruption, hypocrisy, and fuzzy thinking. She has a talent for noticing falsehoods and disinformation and has roasted nearly every important politician in Austin and Washington since the 1980s. No one who utters spin is safe, and she especially targets anyone she judges to be “just plain mean.” Her opponents might claim that she is mean and negative. Many readers disagree because she is unfailingly humorous and often recommends truth, honesty, and compassion in government. In the final section of the book, she profiles some of her heroes. My favorites were her tributes to Barbara Jordan, Morris Udall, and Jacobo Timerman. I also enjoyed hearing her stories about LBJ, Bob Bullock, and Ann Richards.

Anna Fields is a great reader. She really portrays Ivins well and nails every colorful phrase, while maintaining a wayward charm. She delivers both Ivins’ wit and outrage. If there are awards for audiobook reading, she should receive one.

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