Category Archives: Audiobook Love

Reading Journal: Audiobooks

This has been such a hectic and tiring week, and the only reading I’ve been doing is with audiobooks. I find I turn to stories in audio when I’m feeling tired—not tired enough to sleep, but too tired to focus on a print book or ebook. Mind you, since I often decide to lie in bed when I do this, I sometimes (okay, often) fall asleep while listening. Which leads to a lot of rewinding back to the point in the story that I actually remember.

motive

Ever since about book 15 (Motive is book 30), I’ve always chosen to listen to Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series. This series is like a comfort listen for me, and I’m always happy when a new Alex Delaware mystery is released.

Unfortunately, Motive doesn’t make it anywhere near my list of top Kellerman reads (most of those would be books from earlier in the series). And I found one thing about the book particularly disappointing. If you haven’t read the series before, Alex Delaware is a child psychologist who consults on murders with his buddy, homicide detective Milo Sturgis. Part of the reason I’ve enjoyed this series so much is because of Milo. A gruff bear of a man, he’s a gay cop whose fortunes within the LA police department have been like a roller coaster ride.

For some reason, in Motive Alex has suddenly become the expert detective of the duo. There are way too many scenes where it’s Alex who suggests to Milo how to proceed with a particular lead or talk to a recalcitrant witness. It all makes Milo seem like a rather dim-witted cop, which he most certainly isn’t. It’s not like Alex’s suggestions are brilliant insights fueled by his expertise in psychology. They’re suggestions I’d have expected Milo to make. And to make matters worse, all Milo does is nod his head and then implement Alex’s suggestions.

So yes, I wasn’t too impressed with this one.

 rosenfelt

I’m also listening to two Andy Carpenter mysteries. This series by David Rosenfelt are fun reads, often with some nice twists at the end.

This will give you an idea how tired I’ve been—I was in the middle of Leader of the Pack when I got sidetracked by Motive, but when I finished Motive, I forgot I was still in the middle of Leader of the Pack and started on Unleashed instead.

And the really funny thing is, I’d been wondering why I couldn’t remember how things ended for Joey Desimone, the guy Andy Carpenter was trying to get out of jail in Leader of the Pack. Turns out, I couldn’t remember it because I hadn’t finished it!

Have you listened to any good audiobooks lately? I’m always looking for audiobook recommendations!

Fangirl at the dentist on a very cold day

Yikes! We hit low of -21° C today (that’s -5.8° F). It was cold … brrrr!

I’m not sure why I’ve never thought of doing this before, but I had a dental cleaning scheduled this morning and I decided to take my iPod along. I was in the final few hours of Fangirl and really wanted to keep listening.

I actually enjoy getting my teeth cleaned (I know some people don’t). To me, it feels like going to a spa for my teeth, or getting a massage for my gums. But still, it’s a whole hour spent lying there in the dentist’s chair, and even though my dentist has all sorts of channels on the TV he has set up in each of the dentistry rooms, you can never be too sure you’ll find anything interesting. Plus you have to move your head a little this way, then a little that way, and sometimes your view is blocked by the light shining at your mouth.

An audiobook is so perfect in such a situation. Like I said, I don’t know why it never occurred to me before.

This time around, I popped in my earbuds and had a great time listening to more of Fangirl. It was so nice and made the time just fly by. I think today was probably one of the most enjoyable dental cleanings I’ve ever had. Plus I only have about an hour left of Fangirl now. I am definitely going to be taking an audiobook to my next dentist’s visit!

*********

I mentioned that it was really cold today, right? So this morning before I left to go to the dentist’s, I switched my regular gloves, which are nice brown suede ones with enough of a liner to keep the regular cold away, to a pair of heavy-duty gloves, the kind that are temperature-rated and don’t feel the cold at all. My hands felt all snug and warm the whole time I was out and about, but when I got home and went to put my regular gloves back in my handbag, guess what I found?

My poor gloveMy poor, poor glove

Yes, it’s a rather useless glove now. I’m not sure if the photo is clear enough, but the tip of the thumb is gone, while the rest of the fingers have been gnawed all over. I had to throw it away in the garbage, along with its unharmed partner. And we all know who was the culprit.

The cat who eats glovesDoes he look like a cat who’s just eaten a glove?

Hobbes looks sweet when he’s asleep, but honestly, when he’s awake? He’s a holy terror.

And now I have to find time to go buy another pair of gloves.

Have you ever listened to an audiobook while in the dentist’s chair? And do you have a cat or a dog who can be so breathtakingly naughty sometimes?

Audiobook Love: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

yes please amy poehler

When I wrote yesterday’s post, I was still up in the air about my next audiobook. And then, for some reason, I decided to give Amy Poehler’s Yes Please a try.

And I’m really glad I did!

I finished it today, while I was working – my brain is a little too used to multi-tasking and there are certain, more mechanical parts of indexing during which I can listen to an audiobook or a podcast.

(I think those more mechanical parts of indexing are what drive me nuts, actually).

Honestly, I can’t imagine reading this book in print. It’s a book that’s meant to be in audio. I mean, really! In the audio version, there’s a star-studded line-up of guest narrators.

Carol Burnett. Seth Meyers. Michael Schur. Patrick Stewart. Kathleen Turner.

Yes.

Even Poehler’s mom and dad, Eileen and William Poehler, make a guest narration appearance.

So here’s the thing. I’m not really big on current pop culture. I like to wait until long after a hit show’s come and gone and, you know, binge watch all the seasons when it comes to Netflix (have you noticed how it’s far less time-consuming to binge watch a TV show than it is to binge read a book series?). So I’ve never even seen Poehler on Parks and Recreation. Or on Saturday Night Live, for that matter. No, not even the Palin rap.

And guess what? I still loved Yes Please. Because Poehler is funny, personable, nice (even when she’s not, if you know what I mean – we are talking comedy, after all) and ultimately there is a certain authenticity about her words that I really enjoyed.

My recommendation? It’s worth that Audible credit. And more.

Audiobook Love: The Mystery of Richard III

It’s been a busy week here (although I did manage to blog every day – yay!). I unexpectedly went from having no deadlines to several, all due today and the next two days, so I’ve spent most of my time working, and the rest of the time getting Dylan to dance class or Nutcracker rehearsals.

I only have one deadline left to work on, and I can already smell the freedom!

I haven’t had a chance to do much reading at all. Mainly I’ve been doing rereads in audio. When I’m doing mark-up on my indexing projects I can usually have an audiobook going, as long as it’s not too involving. Rereads work the best because I can miss bits here and there, and still know what’s going on. Most of the time, it’s like the story’s going on in the background and a part of me is able to keep up with it, even while I’m working.

Last month, I went through a relisten of the entire Harry Potter series this way. It was great! Made my deadlines feel much less tedious. Sometimes when I have too many deadlines going on, non-stop, I can get really close to burnout. Having an audiobook going on in the background really helps with that.

These are the audiobook relistens that got me through this past week:

Murders of Richard III

I’ve read almost all of Elizabeth Peter’s non-Amelia Peabody mysteries. (I’m rather behind on the Amelia Peabody mysteries, though.) I love her books – her main characters are wonderful, quirky, strong and independent women, and her books are just pure fun. Jacqueline Kirby is one of my favourite Peters characters, so this week I decided to do a relisten of The Murders of Richard III.

In a remote English manor house, modern admirers of the much-maligned King Richard III—one of Shakespeare’s most extraordinary villains—are gathered for a grand weekend of dress-up and make-believe murder. But the fun ends when the make-believe turns more sinister . . . and deadly. Jacqueline Kirby, an American librarian on hand for the festivities, suddenly finds herself in the center of strange, dark doings . . . and racing to untangle a murderous puzzle before history repeats itself in exceptionally bloody ways.

I always find the book blurbs for Peters’ books never seem able to capture the spirit of her books. The blurbs always try to make the books out to be sinister and thriller-ish, which does nothing to capture the pure fun and quirkiness of the actual story. Yes, there’s a mystery, but there’s always more, too. Jacqueline Kirby is an extremely confident and independent librarian (who, to give you an idea, in other books tries out romance writing for fun and profit) and she’s an amateur detective the reader can get herself solidly behind. The Jacqueline Kirby novels never fail to make me smile.

There’s a reference in The Murders of Richard III (who stands accused in the halls of time of the treacherous murders of his nephews, the famous Princes in the Tower, who stood between him and the throne) to Josephine Tey’s  Alan Grant novel about Richard III, so of course that was the next audiobook I turned to.

The Daughter of Time

Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time is another old favourite of mine.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world’s most heinous villains—a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother’s children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England’s throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.

One of the things on my fun-to-do list is to someday take the time to plunge into some of the research into the mystery of Richard III. Was he as villainous as the history books (and Shakespeare) painted him? Or is he a stellar example of how winners can rewrite history to reflect a perspective that’s more favourable to them?

Interestingly enough, earlier this month scientists revealed that DNA tests of old bones found under a parking lot in Leicester, England, are the bones of Richard III.

Richard_III_earliest_surviving_portraitPhoto credit: Wikipedia

And guess what? He wasn’t a hunchback. Nor was he brown-eyed and dark haired, as he is normally depicted in portraits. Scientists say he was likely blue-eyed and blond haired. Interesting, as often in history the “good guys” have been depicted as “fair” and the “bad guys” depicted as “dark”:

Royal portraiture was more symbolic rather than realistic: the surviving images of Richard, which come from the Tudor period, are well known for the narrowing of his eyes and lips and the raising of his shoulder, to paint him as the villain. With external defects considered to correlate with inner vices, Richard’s hair might have also been darkened from the 1520s onwards to depict what were perceived to be his “dark” deeds. When queens were portrayed as blonde and beautiful regardless of their actual looks, the opposite effect may have been employed as a metaphorical criticism of Henry VII’s adversary. (New Statesman)

Ahhh, history. A bit on the malleable side, perhaps?

And there were apparently some sexual hijinks going on that disrupted the royal family line somewhere along the way, too. The current British royals shouldn’t worry too much about their lineage, though. According to Dr. Anne Whitelock, in an interview with the BBC, “The Queen’s right to reign in based on the 1701 Act of Settlement that restricted succession to Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover. A medieval false paternity does not challenge the current Queen’s right to reign.”

Listening: ‘Mr. Mercedes’ and ‘The Supernaturals’

I’ve got a couple of new-to-me audiobooks on the go right now (I say “new-to-me” because when I’m working, I like to listen to an audiobook but usually have to listen to something I’ve read before – like an Agatha Christie or a Nero Wolfe – because I do end up missing huge chunks of scenes if something takes over all of my focus).

mr mercedes by stephen king

I’m in the last half of Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King right now. It’s an interesting read, and very character-driven. Unlike what you might expect, it’s not a horror story. It’s actually a thriller, with some police procedural aspects thrown in. Lots of humour in the dialogue, too. I’ve really been enjoying it.

the supernaturals david golemon

I also just started The Supernaturals: A Ghost Story, by David L. Golemon. This one is, as its title implies, a horror novel. I’m only at the beginning, but the tone has already been set. (Actually, it was set in the author’s foreword.) It’s been good so far, and I have high expectations of it. Based on the reviews at Audible, it’s quite the spooky tale.

What about you? What good audiobooks have you been listening to lately?

More Than Just Words: Audiobook Love!

ArmchairBEAToday’s topic at Armchair BEA is “More Than Just Words”:

There are so many mediums that feature more than just words and enhance a story in a multitude of ways. Examples may include graphic novels and comics, audiobooks, or even multimedia novels. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just the words and use other ways to experience a story. Which books stand out to you in these different formats?

I’d like to talk about audiobooks, because they’re something I “discovered” for myself shortly after I began MsBookish.

For years I’d told myself audiobooks just weren’t my kind of thing. I’m a really fast reader – I confess to skimming through boring sections in books, and even when I’m reading every single word, I do so very quickly. There was no way an audiobook could replicate that for me, and when I looked at the duration of various audiobooks – 6 hours, 13 hours, some even 19 hours (yikes!) – I just couldn’t see how an audiobook could fit into my life.

And then one day I discovered several Agatha Christie novels put out as BBC Radio Crime Full Cast Dramas. Only a couple of hours long, this series adapted my favourite Christie novels into plays. I listened to one, and I was hooked.

It’s kind of like how I came to eat sushi. When I was younger, the texture of the raw fish really put me off. But then one day I had smoked salmon, found I liked it, and in the process, I got used to the raw fish texture. Suddenly, there I was, eating all kinds of sushi, not just the smoked salmon sushi.

It was the same with audiobooks. I got used to listening to these BBC radio adaptations, and when I got through all the ones I could find, I decided to give the full-length Agatha Christie novels a try. I fell in love with Hugh Fraser’s narration of the Hercule Poirot mysteries, and from there, things just took off.

I now listen to at least one audiobook a week. The strange thing is that I find if I just sit down to do nothing but listen, I have a hard time. Unless the book is very exciting (and there are some that are), my mind wanders. All over the place. And with an audiobook, a few seconds spent pondering whether you really should do another load of laundry can mean missing something vital, especially if you’re listening to a mystery.

But if I’m doing something on the mindless side – cleaning, chopping up food, folding laundry or my favourite thing to pair with an audiobook, an iPhone or iPad game – I get a beautiful audiobook listening experience! So for me, an audiobook is a great way to multitask and get all those boring chores done without feeling like you’ve done anything at all.

What about you? Do you enjoy listening to audiobooks? Are you on the fence, worried that you won’t be able to last through the hours of narration? If you like audiobooks, what are some of your favourite listens? Please let me know in the comments below, because I’m always on the lookout for a great book in audio!