If you haven’t got audible.com (and, full disclosure, I own the stock, albeit more out of enthusiasm for the service than the stock), then as before ­ I recommend it highly.

Not just for you, but as the perfect gift.

Say you have a parent or grandparent who has trouble seeing (or hearing, for that matter).

1. Buy him or her an audible subscription, but perhaps with your address so he/she doesn’t have to deal with the mechanics of it.

2. When the MP3 player arrives, load it up with books you think the recipient would enjoy; then take it over for Christmas or Chanukah, Kwanzaa or Good Pagant’s Day. (You could also listen to the books yourself, if you wanted, through your computer speakers.)

3. Those weekly or bi-weekly visits? No more conversation lulls . . . you’d now have a mission and plenty to discuss.

You’d bring the reloaded MP3 player, discussing past and future selections. (You might want to get a second MP3 player, so you can drop off the newly loaded one and pick up the listened-to one for reloading.) For someone who has trouble reading, this is an obvious joy. But even for someone hard of hearing, it could bring pleasure, because with the pricy-but-worth-it Sony earphones I’ve recommended, I think most folks would hear quite well. (Of course, they should be careful: they’ll never hear the phone or the doorbell.)

My point is: The Kid Stays in the Picture, read by the author himself. What a life.



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