Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Salon: Ode to the Audio

 Good morning everyone!  Before I started writing my post this morning, I was scanning through my reader and saw that Rhapsody Jill was chatting about audiobooks.  June is officially Audiobook Month so I thought I'd brazenly steal her idea and talk a little bit about this mode of reading that has changed my life.  But first...

A few words about my week.  It was fairly low-key.  My son was invited down to Fort Myers Beach with a friend for a week and my BFF went on vacation so my daughter and I have been hanging.  A little time at Andre's, a little time at an adoption event, a little time bingeing on the TV series "Fargo" (finished it and now have convinced my hubby to watch it), a little time at the mall spending a gift card or two.  I went to the Ritz Carlton Spa for the entire day on Friday, using a gift card from my husband to get a massage and lay by the spa pool all day with my book.  OMG!  So freaking awesome.

I also took my daughter to our hairdresser for a cut and a highlight.  When we got there, she turned to me and said "I think I need to REALLY get a cut.  My hair is driving me crazy".  Lo and behold, we figured out that she had a solid 10-12 inches that could go, so off it went and was quickly bundled and shipped to Locks of Love.  Plus I think she looks awesome.

So on the topic of audiobooks.  Not telling you anything that you haven't heard before.  But with the exception of my recent obsession with TV series, I almost never sit down.  I'm driving my kids around, running errands, cleaning the house, messing with the pool, doing yard work, or cooking.  Back in the day, I might read 3 printed books a month.  Enter the library audio and the 160 gig iPod my husband bought me.   Once I learned how to load the discs (not a simple feat, that) I went on a rampage.  Now I could "read" those 600 page books!  I went through five of the Outlander books (before I burned out).  Stephen King came back into my life!  I actually wanted to go on long walks.  I didn't mind cleaning the house.  This worked.

With it came trials and errors.  Earbuds were an issue...I learned that I needed the ones that hook over my ears.  I had to learn how to listen and absorb info.  I had to get over the fact that you couldn't take notes (easily anyway) and that I didn't have the luxury of paging back and reminding myself of the character names, dates and such.  I quickly became opinionated on which narrators I liked and which I didn't, and who did a terrible job at figuring out pronunciations.  I learned that I preferred the blurb at the end of each disc telling me which disc came next (if the discs aren't digitally labelled it was easy for me to forget where I was).  I didn't like too many sound effects.  I like multiple narrators.  I discovered audios don't work well on vacations.

Here are my favorite audios that I've listened to this year, all five stars:

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage - Ann Patchett
We Are Water - Wally Lamb
Five Days at Memorial - Sheri Fink
Native Son - Richard Wright
Every Day - David Levithan
Wild - Cheryl Strayed
The Martian - Andy Weir
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
Someone Else's Love Story - Joshilyn Jackson

So what was I listening to this week?  I finished up Ann Patchett's "This is the Story of a Happy Marriage" which was phenomenal.  I could see reading this more than once.  Just insightful, emotional, even frame-worthy thoughts on writing, the freedom of choosing what you want to read, finding love, dogs and grandmothers, book tours, etc. and all narrated by the author.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!  I am now about halfway through Michael Koryta's latest "Those Who Wish Me Dead", which is a very tense, action-packed plot.

In print I finished Karen White's "Strangers on Montague Street", the third in that series and probably my favorite of the three.  I'm still hoping that the adorable Ms. White will pull this story together.  Not sure how much longer I can deal with this love story that is rife with self-flagellation, self-deprivation and misunderstandings!  I'm now nearly half-way through Mara Leveritt's flabbergasting account of a farcical murder case in West Memphis, "Devil's Knot" (the book was a birthday gift from my son).  Stories like this make you scared to live in America.

So, wow.  Long post.  Are you still here?  LOL.  Hope you all have a lovely Sunday, filled with World Cup, a book, family and relaxation! 


JoAnn said...

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage and Five Days at Memorial were both amazing, but I totally blew it by reading We Are Water instead of listening.

Locks of Love is such a great organization. Your daughter is beautiful!

bermudaonion said...

You're daughter is gorgeous - what a great combination of brains and beauty!

I didn't get onto the audio bandwagon until I started blogging and now I can't imagine life without audio books! I get aggravated when someone wants to walk with me because it interrupts my listening time.

Anonymous said...

I have This is the Story of a Happy Marriage on my kindle, but if I really enjoy it, I will get an audio version to try. By the way, your daughter looks wonderful in this photo-- a good call for her to get her hairs cut and styled.
Have a good week.

Anonymous said...

I LOOOVED Happy Marriage but now I'm wishing I listened instead of read the print.

Literary Feline said...

You have a low-key week? Impossible! Just kidding. I am glad you have been able to have some one on one time while your son is away.

A day at the spa sounds like heaven! I am glad you got to use your gift card.

I am about halfway through Fargo right now. I hope to catch up before the end of July.

It's been months since I last listened to an audiobook. It's hard to find time. Maybe if my daughter was older and entertaining herself more . . . I won't wish for a longer commute. I'm quite happy with the short distance between my office and home right now, thank you very much. LOL It takes me forever to get through an audio book. I did well with them for awhile there--at least by my still slow standards--but lately, it's just not happening. I'm sure I'll get back to it when I'm ready.

I hope you have a great week!

Heidenkind said...

Your daughter's so pretty! Everyone seems to love The Martian. But I'm not really a fan of Castaway, so idk...

Beth F said...

Beautiful photo of your lovely daughter! You know me and audios -- can't live without them.

Unknown said...

Fantastic photo of your daughter - it is great that she donated her hair to such a good cause :-)

I don't have that much time to listen to audio books, but you've given me so many amazing recommendations over the years so you are always my go-to source for ideas. Story of a Happy Marriage is now high on my list - I just wish my library stocked more audio titles as I have to buy almost all the ones I listen to and the cost quickly rockets. Keep up the great audio book recommendations!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Your daughter looks gorgeous! And maybe email me again with the info on the behind the ear head phone thingies? And Ann Patchett, gaaah, I guess I have to read that!

Anonymous said...

I struggle with audiobooks, however, my husband has decided he enjoys them while on the road. I gave him a gift certificate to audible and the first book he chose to download was 11/22/63 (thanks to your review). He LOVES it ... the audio format as well as Stephen King.

I will take your suggestions mentioned here and pass the along to him (and I may check them out in paper form).

Anonymous said...

Awww, your daughter is gorgeous just like her mama!

Have you read A Discovery of Witches? Cause if you haven't, it is AWESOME on audio.

Ti said...

I rent audio books from the library through Overdrive. I never step foot in the library. Are you telling me you check out the CDs and then load them? Save your minutes my friend and just use Overdrive.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I've just recently become an audio book convert. It took me a long time to be able to pay attention that way, and I've learned there are certain specific activities I can do while listening (dishes, getting dressed in the morning, crocheting, walking, driving). They've really changed my reading life.

Athira said...

I am glad to read that you also struggled with audiobooks initially. I thought it was just me because pretty much everyone was singing the praises of audiobooks. I had all those same struggles - accents, pronunciations, inflections, pacing. But after a lot of trials, I finally managed to like audiobooks.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Your daughter is adorable! I'm such a huge audiobook fan and I loe that you said they don't work well for vacations. I feel the same way. It's about the only time I'm NOT listening to audiobooks.

Anonymous said...

Your daughter looks so much like you! I love to listen to audios in the car, but only occasionally elswhere. I don't where my ipod is and only really care when we travel. It does seem like a book becomes a different story based on the narrator(s) and sometimes I feel bad about a bad review of a book I listened to. Doesn't stop me from doing it though.
I need one of those all-day spa days!