And rain will make the flowers grow

Spectacular. We’re looking at another stormy weekend. I do have to get outside at one point, though, to plant the shrubs I found it necessary to mail-order from Ohio.

My compulsive online shopping is a story for another time.

Rob likes to fall asleep listening to audio books. Which, of course, means he rarely is conscious for their entirety. After I raved about “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” he found a used copy of the audio book and we listened to part of it on a road trip. Recently, he mentioned that we should drive somewhere again, so we can pick up where we left off (like, a year ago).

I decided that my 25-minute commute would be a good time to do some “reading” that I couldn’t otherwise fit into my schedule, so I bought “The Wedding” on tape a coupla weeks ago at Barnes & Noble. Because I actually have a tape deck in my car.

“The Wedding,” if you don’t know, is written by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, who also wrote “The Notebook.” “The Wedding” is narrated by the son-in-law of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams from that movie. I mean, their characters in the book.

The box of tapes declared that best-selling author Sparks has had his books published in a gazillion languages and that he’s the greatest writer ever. Or something.

I really enjoyed the book for a few days, until I noticed that it was extremely boring. Sure he describes things in vivid detail, but I don’t need to know that much vivid detail about setting the kitchen table. The plot concerns a 30-year marriage that has lost its luster. We flash back a bit to the courtship, which is entirely run of the mill.

The narrator says that his wife always tells the story of how he proposed because it was so hilariously funny everyone always erupted in gales of laughter. But guess what? It wasn’t funny at all, or particularly surprising, clever or unusual.

I listened to the whole book, sticking my finger down my throat at various gag-worthy moments. I suppose I enjoyed the ending, so it was worth hanging in there.

Mostly, the book made me appreciate “The Time Traveler’s Wife” more. Because that’s a really unusual and surprising story. Also about a long relationship and also alternating between past and present.

I started reading “Prince of Tides” at about the same time I started listening to “The Wedding,” and was amused that it also concerned a man in the south (South Carolina this time, rather than North Carolina), with a strained marriage. But “Prince of Tides” is very surprising, clever and unusual. Don’t let the Barbra Streisand/Nick Nolte movie deter you. I cannot even picture those two in these roles.