Category Archives: Blogging and Blog Events

[TSS] Bookish bliss: a #flashreadathon weekend

Back on Thursday, Andi put out the word about the Flash Readathon, a no pressure, read and have fun kind of readathon. I loved the idea, and ended up spending quite a bit of time with an assortment of books this weekend as a result.

I’ve never participated as a reader in any of the formal readathons, although I’ve been a cheerleader several times – in the past, each of the big readathons fell on weekends during which I was unable to commit huge chunks of time for reading. So participating in this Flash Readathon gave me a little taste of what it feels like – and now that I’ve had that little taste, I think the next readathon that comes around, I’d like to play!

Here are the books I got to over the weekend. These aren’t start-to-finish books, which is what I guess I’d be aiming for with one of the formal readathons. These are just the books I dipped into (and in one case, finished) over the weekend:

pet sematary

First up was Pet Sematary, for the #gangstercats readalong. I read about five more chapters, bringing me to chapter 30 – I want to take this slowly so I can play along with everyone throughout the rest of March.

The Creeds are going to learn that sometimes dead is better.

The Woods

Up next, I read more issues of The Woods by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas. I’m really liking this series, which I’m reading on Scribd*, and I’m hoping more issues will be coming to Scribd soon.

On October 16, 2013, 437 students, 52 teachers, and 24 additional staff from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, WI vanished without a trace. Countless light years away, far outside the bounds of the charted universe, 513 people find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness. Where are they? Why are they there? The answers will prove stranger than anyone could possibly imagine.

Norwegian by night

I then hopped back into Norwegian by Night, and when I went to bed last night, I had another forty pages to go on it. I finished up those forty pages late this afternoon when I’d had a chance to get back into the Flash Readathon. This is a good book, with an octogenarian protagonist who is real, not stereotyped as depictions of the old tend to be in fiction.

Sheldon Horowitz—widowed, impatient, impertinent—has grudgingly agreed to leave New York and move in with his granddaughter, Rhea, and her new husband, Lars, in Norway—a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean War turned watch repairman. Not until now, anyway.

Home alone one morning, Sheldon witnesses a dispute between the woman who lives upstairs and an aggressive stranger. When events turn dire, Sheldon seizes and shields the neighbor’s young son from the violence, and they flee the scene. As Sheldon and the boy look for a safe haven in an alien world, past and present weave together, forcing them ever forward to a wrenching moment of truth.

Now You See Me

I’m finishing the readathon off with the first in S.J. Bolton’s Lacey Flint series, Now You See Me, which I’d listened to a while back. I’d like to read the rest of the books in the series, so I’ve decided to give this a reread. Now that I’ve read a few chapters, I think I do remember some of the ending, but I’m not sure, and the book is definitely engaging enough that I won’t be bored during this reread.

Late one night after interviewing a witness, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before. Within twenty-four hours, a reporter receives an anonymous letter pointing out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper’s first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it’s real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London’s bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt.

No one believes the connections are anything more than a sadistic killer’s game, not even Lacey, whom the killer seems to be taunting specifically. But as the case unfolds, the details start reminding Lacey of a part of her own past she’d rather keep hidden. And the only way to do that is to catch the killer herself.

So that was my Flash Readathon weekend. How about you? Did you get any #flashreadathon reading done this weekend?

*the Scribd link is my referral link. If you sign up for a trial membership through that link, you get two months free trial rather than just one, and I get a free month too!

Blogger business cards: do you use them?

Blogger business card

I’m not the most observant person around, but ever since I started using Instagram more, I’ve been seeing glimpses of what look like book blogger business cards.

I never even thought about getting a business card for blog use, until I saw these!

So my question to you is: do you use blogger business cards?

Okay, I lied. I have more than one question.

If you do have blogger business cards, when and how do you use them? Are they just handy for when you send snail mail to other bloggers? Is it to further brand your blog? Do you use them when you go to author events?

I’ve noticed, too, that the ones I’ve seen are often quite uniquely designed – nothing like the business cards I normally see in regular life.  Not having ordered business cards for a very, very long while (mainly because my business is mostly word-of-mouth), I feel rather out of the loop on this one. I love the gorgeous designs I’ve seen so far, but where do you go to get such great designs?

In the meantime, I’m filing this one in my Undecided folder, the one where I keep my “should I have a Facebook page?” question.

Photo source: Pixabay

A book club of two

Every time I read someone’s book club post, I find myself yearning to be in a book club.

And guess what? My wish has been fulfilled! Well, sort of. Maybe a quarter fulfilled?

Here’s what happened: I was browsing around on Flipboard and came across this article, “Forget ‘Grey Divorce': Here’s How to Make Love Last“. I’d never heard of the term “Grey Divorce” before, but apparently increasing divorce rates among older people are the new trend.

I was intrigued by the “how to make love last” part of the article. And one of the things recommended was really quite simple: share in an activity your partner enjoys.

Ward and I went out for a Valentine’s Day dinner (but on Sunday, after the mad rush of “sorry, we have no reservations for Valentine’s Day” had died down) and before dinner started I handed him my phone and asked him to read the article. He did, and agreed with me it was a good idea, to share in an activity your partner enjoys.

We looked at each other and realized right away what each of our “activities” were. With Ward, it’s music. And me? Books, of course!

When Ward was a kid, he read a lot. But unlike me, he read mostly non-fiction. And then when he got older, he grew out of the habit of reading. So now he’s been getting a taste of fiction.

Since we went out for dinner on Sunday, he’s read Haruki Murakami’s The Strange Library (definitely not the book for him). I’m very impressed that he kept going after reading a book he didn’t really enjoy (on the other hand, The Strange Library  – which I did enjoy – is really just a novella).

He started reading Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman next, and he likes what he’s read so far, but since we were both reading it at the same time (only one book between the two of us – and no, sharing a book isn’t at all like sharing a blanket!) he decided to read the next book on my list: Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders.

Five children on the western front

Five Children on the Western Front recently won the Costa Award. It’s inspired by the classic E. Nesbit story of Five Children and It, which was a favourite of mine when I was a kid. In Five Children on the Western Front, the Psammead comes back ten years later to find the older children are involved in the First World War. “Before this last adventure ends, all will be changed, and the two younger children will have seen the Great War from every possible viewpoint – factory-workers, soldiers and sailors, nurses and ambulance drivers, and the people left at home, and the war’s impact will be felt right at the heart of their family.”

Doesn’t it sound so good?

I’m looking forward to this read. Ward started it yesterday, and he spent this afternoon reading it. I suspect he would still be reading it now, only he had a ticket to see Don Giovanni. He says he’s really liking it (the book, I mean, not the opera.) When I first asked him about it, he said it reminded him of Narnia.

One thing I’ve discovered about him. He reads FAST, as fast as I do! Which is a good sign, since we’re now in a book club of two.

I haven’t suggested this to him yet, but it seems to me our book club of two would get off to a great start if we held our meetings at restaurants. Dinner out! Doesn’t that sound just lovely?

Mind you, our next few dinner dates are already spoken for. When we went out for dinner on Sunday, we decided to go through these 36 questions that lead to love. They’re meant for new relationships but we figured they might be handy for rejuvenating a long-term relationship. And we were right! It was the best dinner out we’d had in a while, and we learned things about each other we’d never known before. We only got through six questions (in two hours!) so we have a lot more questions to go.

As a friend of mine said, the questions are ones you’d think you should already know about your partner if you’re in a long-term relationship, but you really don’t.

And as for the music side of things, I’m rather looking forward to the next music event that pops up on Ward’s calendar. I’m hoping it will be jazz!

Update: Ward got back from opera and told me he’d already finished Five Children on the Western Front. He really liked it. And he cried at the end. But he cries at movies too, so I already predicted that one.

The War of Art: Combating Resistance, Turning Pro

This week on the War of Art readalong at Joy’s Book Blog we’re reading Book Two: Combating Resistance, Turning Pro.  The War of Art, by Stephen Pressfield, is subtitled “Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” and it’s filled with short pieces on the artist and resistance.

It’s interesting, but I didn’t find Book Two as compelling as I did the first part of the book, on recognizing resistance. It may be that I’m in a different space this week – tired, on the edge of burnout, a little frustrated – but the different pieces in Book Two aren’t sinking in the way the words in Part One did.

The piece I enjoyed the most was “We’re all pros already”, where Pressfield points out we’re all pros at one thing already, our jobs. He then goes on to identify the qualities that define us as professionals in our work life and how, when we “turn pro”, we can apply these same principles to our artistic lives.

These principles make sense me to me; they are the principles I’m already applying to my work life. Things like showing up to do the job, no matter what, staying on the job the entire day, commitment to our jobs, the high stakes of our work, the fact of remuneration, not over-identifying with our jobs, these are definitely principles I can apply to my writing – well, other than the fact of remuneration. I’d love to apply that particular principle to my fiction writing, but I’m definitely not there yet.

And perhaps that’s the crux of it for me, right now. With all the paying work deadlines I have on the table, I’m just not in the right space for this part of the book. Keeping true to my commitment to my writing has been challenging the past week or so, and even though I’ve been doing it, I’m too tired to feel the success of staying committed.

One other piece really resonated with me:

No Mystery

There’s no mystery to turning pro. It’s a decision brought about by an act of will. We make up our mind to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that.

Reading these words made me remember it’s all a choice. And that maybe I should just trust in the remuneration part coming, and learn to say “no” more often when it comes to my work life. Simply choose to stay committed to this writing thing that has always been what I’ve wanted to do, all my life.

And along with finishing my reread of The War of Art for this readalong, I’m also looking forward to reading the rest of Pressfield’s books for writers: see what arrived in the mail for me yesterday from Joy!

Stephen Pressfield books

The publisher had heard about our readalong and sent along a whole set of the Stephen Pressfield books for both readalong participants and also as giveaways. Joy has already held one giveaway already – I just checked and see that my writer friend Janel Gradowski won that one! – and it looks like Joy will be holding another giveaway of a set of Pressfield’s books tomorrow, so do make sure to hop over to Joy’s Book Blog tomorrow and enter if you’d like a chance at winning a set of these books!

A Not Getting Things Done Day and a Quote for Book Bloggers

I had set aside today to work on Bloggiesta and also on all the administrative things that have been piling up. Things like invoicing, which is a pretty important thing when you work for yourself, so I don’t know why preparing invoices usually tops my list of Things To Procrastinate.

One thing led to another, and I found myself designing a new invoice template. I’m not sure what possessed me, but there you have it. I just kind of decided to do it. That took me just about forever, because I’m not exactly the most proficient with a spreadsheet. I’d managed to get about half of my invoices prepared when I got an email from a client which basically added more work to a deadline I’d just finished up.

I gave up after that. Took a nice, long hot bath and then lay on my bed for a good half hour, just resting. The day had turned into a Not Getting Things Done day and I thought I might as well not resist it.

I did, however, come across something earlier today that I really liked, so it wasn’t a total waste of a day. It was a post on Seth Godin’s blog called You are what you share. There was one quote from the post that I liked in particular, so much so that I quickly posted it to Tumblr. And then decided to make a picture quote out of it for today’s post.

Seth Godin quote

I think it’s an apt quote for book bloggers every where – after all, isn’t that what we’re saying every time we blog about a book we loved? “You really need to read this one!”

Now I’ll hit publish, and then pin the quote to my Pinterest board. It will make me feel halfway productive about today.

Commenting on Blogs from my Phone

This year has seen a big change in the way I “consume Web content” (can you tell I’ve been, maybe, consuming a little too much Web content lately?). Earlier in the year I finally upgraded my iPhone, which I’d had for ages. The new phone (an iPhone 5) was blazingly fast in comparison to my old phone, and I found myself utilizing a number of apps, like Pocket, Feedly and Flipboard, quite frequently.

Unfortunately, this also meant a reduction in the number of blog comments I made. Typing my comments into the comment form was easy, just like typing in a text, but typing in the other fields – name, email and website URL – was a pain and made the whole process feel too protracted. And for the email and website fields, one little mistake and you have to re-do the whole thing.

For a while there, I’d send links to myself with the intention of commenting when I got back on my laptop, but as with many good intentions, I just ended up with a lot of emails to myself about which I did nothing.

Earlier this year, I’d also been following a thread – on the Google+ Book Bloggers community, I think it was – where someone discussed using keyboard shortcuts in order to comment via his or her phone. I promptly added some shortcuts – and then forgot about the whole thing.

Last night, as I was taking a break from a deadline, I started reading blogs on my phone, and for some reason, I remembered those shortcuts. I decided to give them a try – and they worked beautifully! Now it only takes me a few seconds to get the name, email and website fields filled, so I can spend the rest of my time typing in my comment. I don’t type anywhere near as fast on the phone as I do on my laptop, but still, this is quite an improvement.

And I discovered I could actually comment from within Feedly, where I keep all the blog feeds I follow!

If you have an iPhone and want to try out the keyboard shortcuts, it’s really easy to set up (these instructions are for the iPhone 5 but I expect they won’t be any different for the iPhone 6).

Photo 2014-12-04, 2 32 51 PM

  1. Go to Settings, then General, then Keyboard.
  2. Click on Add New Shortcut. Enter the phrase you want to use the shortcut for, and the shortcut itself – use a short letter and/or symbol combo for your shortcut that you know you won’t be likely to use while typing out emails or texts on your phone. They should be easy to remember, too. Right now I’m using “bw”, “mb@” and “mb&” for my name, email and website, respectively, but I may change these to something even easier to remember, like “eee” for email and “hhh” for website.
  3. Click Save.

And that’s it!

If you use an Android phone, you can create shortcuts by going to the Language & Input section under Settings, then the Personal Dictionary. Detailed instructions can be found here.

Once you have your shortcuts set, all you have to do is remember them when you’re blog commenting. It definitely makes commenting from your phone much easier! I’ve really missed commenting on other blogs, and it’s so nice to know I can now do it quickly and easily while I’m on my phone.

Do you use your phone to comment on blog posts? If you do, do you have any other tips for making the process easier and more effortless?

The Blog Post Ideas Stash: Prepping for 365 Days of Blogging

As I mentioned yesterday, I didn’t jump into this decision to commit to 365 days of blogging lightly. This has been my year for learning that a little bit of preparation can go a long way, and it’s something I’ll be applying to my 365 days of blogging self-challenge.

I spent as much time as I could tear away from my deadlines last month to gather together blog post ideas. The best part, I’ve discovered, is that collecting blog post ideas is actually a whole lot of fun. Plus I don’t feel as worried about finding something to write about as I thought I’d be. (Well, okay, this is only Day 2, but still … )

These are the main components of my blog post ideas stash:

Brainstormed List of Ideas in My Bullet Journal

I’m trying to work in a new daily ritual which involves regular periods of brainstorming. Most of the brainstorming I’m doing is for my writing, both fiction and non-fiction, but I also set aside some time to quickly jot down blog post ideas. I have a dedicated “collection” of blog post ideas in my Bullet Journal, and I’ve been quite amazed at how quickly the ideas come, even during those times when I sit down to brainstorm but feel like I really don’t have any ideas at all.

My Online Reading

I have fallen in love with Flipboard, and spend time on the app most mornings before I start my day. I’ve also been making an effort to read through my feeds in the Feedly app. I have such fun adding articles to the different Flipboard magazines I’ve created.

But sometimes while I’m reading, an article will spark a blog post idea, in which case I’ll jot the idea down in my Bullet Journal. Sometimes, though, I think I might want to discuss the article. When that happens, I send it to myself. I have Gmail set to automatically filter these emails to a To-Do folder. This folder currently contains all the to-dos that occur to me as I’m surfing online, so eventually I may create a new filter specifically for blog post ideas.

My Read and To-Read Lists

Since I’ve mainly blogged about books here, these two are easy and no-brainers. I add books to my to-read lists all the time – all it takes is some book blog hopping and guaranteed, I’ll add a handful of books to the TBR. It’s easy enough keeping track of these. While I’ve done it digitally before, right now I have a books collection in my Bullet Journal. I would like to link to the reviews that put the books on my to-read list to begin with, though, so I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a TBR magazine at Flipboard. (The Bookish Life is the one I curate about all things to do with reading in general, but curating a specific TBR one would be a lot of fun, too.)

I do have to develop a new habit when it comes to books I’ve read, though. If I don’t write something down about the book immediately, I have a much harder time coming back to it to write about it, usually because in between finishing it and writing about it, I’ve normally read a few other books in between. I’m not sure what kind of system I’ll try out, but it will probably involve my Bullet Journal. (Sometimes I think of my Bullet Journal as my brain on paper.)

List Prompts

Lists are always so easy to write, so I dedicated some time to searching online for list prompts. Most of the ones I found were for journals and art journals, and could be easily adapted to blog posts. If you’re interested in list prompts, this list of 101 List Prompts for Art Journaling is a good one, and can definitely be utilized for blogging, not just art journaling.

I intend to use these prompts when the well is feeling particularly dry, so I wanted to add a more playful, random element to the prompts.

Photo 2014-12-02, 2 30 45 PM

The yellow file box on the right (I bought a three-pack a while back from IKEA), holds the prompts. The box on the left is where I keep the little slips of paper I use for writing out short stories for my Short Story of the Day box. These papers definitely come in handy. When I come across a great list prompt idea, I just grab a blank piece, jot down the prompt, then toss it into the prompt box.

Blogging Courses

I even went so far as to purchase a blogging course whose only focus is on coming up with blogging ideas. The reviews sounded great, and it was on sale, so I thought, why not? It couldn’t hurt. I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, but I’m hopeful it will be another source of good ideas. I also signed up for a few free email and online-type courses, and some ideas may come from these, as well.

A Continuing System

It’s nice to have a wealth of blog post ideas at hand, but 365 days is a lot, and I certainly don’t have 365 ideas stashed away right now. So I’m developing a continuing system that will hopefully keep the ideas stash at an optimum level at all times. I’m already adding to my stash every day just through those To-do emails when I’m reading things online, and when I go book blog hopping, but I’ll also be making time for brainstorming more ideas, probably once a week, and making good use of the courses I signed up for.

What idea generation methods do you use to come up with blog post topics?

365 Days of Blogging–With Some Caveats

Yes, I’m taking the 365-days-of-blogging plunge.

You know that old saying about the definition of insanity that’s often attributed to Albert Einstein? “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Over the last decade or so, I’ve been guilty of this kind of insanity, and all last month I’ve been thinking about what to do to change things up.

And I realized one thing I really want to do is to blog more often. More consistently. And more meaningfully.

I thought I’d encounter more resistance to writing this post than I actually did. I knew I’d have to write it today – or be behind before I even started – and here it is only 6:30 pm and all I’ve done to procrastinate are: do my social media addiction thing on my phone for three hours, clean my desk,  upgrade my WordPress installation to the latest version, add in a new newsletter subscribe form and change to a new template. And look! I have things to fix with the template, and yet what am I doing?

I’m writing this post.

Yay me!

By the way, I’m quite proud of the work I did cleaning my desk. It might have been for the purposes of procrastination, but it was well worth it:



And no, I didn’t do it my usual way (find an empty box and cram everything into it, then stuff the lid on and put it in a corner where it sits and collects dust for a year). I actually handled every single thing on my desk and found a new place to put it! I’m really quite amazed at myself.

So, procrastination out of the way, I’m ready now to formally declare my commitment to this new self-challenge: 365 days of blogging.

The Caveats

I couldn’t, however, commit to 365 days of blogging without some caveats. So here they are:

  1. While my intention is to blog every day, I refuse to write up a more or less meaningless post just because I need to post something and the well’s run dry.
  2. Which means my commitment is to 365 days of blogging, but I’m not going to make myself go crazy and say it’s going to be 365 days of consecutive blogging. There will be days I’ll miss. I’ve already accepted that – it’s built in as part of the whole scheme.
  3. And while the intention driving this whole self-challenge is writing a blog post every day, if I have days where I’m feeling particularly prolific (or wordy, depending on how you want to look at it), I may write extra posts and keep them on hand for those days when I come up blank and can only think of something really meaningless to blog about. Right off the bat, I know this might happen when I’m looking at the stack of books I’ve read and want to talk about.


I’m going to keep myself accountable by tracking my progress in my Bullet Journal. Here is my December “habit chains” page:

habit chains

You can see the other daily habits I’ll be tracking this month: writing, blogging, brainstorming, meditation, photo-a-day and create. Although I think I might start the creating habit a little later in the month.

Why now? Why not wait until January 1?

This is a good question, and one I asked myself when I first realized I wanted to commit to this challenge. One thing I’ve learned recently (better late than never, right?) is the value of being prepared. When it comes to plunging into ideas, I’ve always valued spontaneity, but lately I’ve been learning that preparation doesn’t have to be the antithesis of spontaneity – and in fact, the two play very well together.

And that’s why I’m starting this challenge in December. It’ll be a hectic month, and so my caveats may come into play a little more often than I might like, but the thing is, December really is the month for preparing to leave the old year behind and embrace the new year. This is the month I’ll be thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2015, the new habits I want to form, the things I want to do, the things I no longer want to be doing, my One Word for the year (I have an inkling already what that word will be).

In other words, this is the month I’ll be exploring all the ways I’m going to stop the insanity, stop doing all the same things and expecting different results. Decide how I’m going to drive the changes in my life from the inside out. And it seems to me, not only is regular blogging step one in the process, but it’s also a pretty good way to document my explorations.

So fingers crossed – here I go: 365 days of blogging!

Armchair BEA: Exploring Middle-Grade Novels

ArmchairBEAI’ve never stopped loving children’s books, and have reread my childhood favourites many many times despite having become an adult many many years ago (lots of many’s there!).

Whenever I’m in the library, I always like to include the children’s section in my meanderings through the shelves, and always find at least a handful of middle-grade books to take home with me.

This Armchair BEA topic got me thinking about some of my recent favourites, the middle-grade novels I didn’t grow up with, the ones I discovered when I was already all grown up. And I also realize I’d like to explore the middle-grade range more than I have been – not just being content with whatever I might stumble upon when I have a chance to browse at the library (although that makes me quite contented!) but also searching out the latest middle-grade books, following more middle-grade book bloggers and reading more than just the most recent award winners.

I’ve only just embarked on this new exploration, and expect many delightful finds to come as a result, so my choices below aren’t particularly recent books, although none of them go as far back as my own childhood.


I love a good mystery, and as an adult reading middle-grade novels, it’s not that easy to find a really good middle-grade mystery. Unlike adult mysteries, middle-grade mysteries don’t tackle murder that often. As you expand out into the young adult book world, this changes, but generally speaking the middle-grade mysteries I’ve read have been mostly about robberies, burglaries, and bad guys up to no-good schemes involving burglary and robbery.

A good middle-grade author can, however, take these themes and make them as exciting as the latest Harry Hole mystery by Jo Nesbo. Yes, without any serial killers or deranged murderers. My favourites include the Herculeah Jones mysteries by Betsy Byars and Blue Balliett’s art-themed mysteries (I rave about Balliett’s The Calder Game here.)

Dead Letter

Calder Game


When it comes to fantasies, the middle-grade range continues to offer a fabulous selection. This was true when I was growing up, and the whole fantasy area has exploded since then, with many thanks to JK Rowling and Harry Potter. Two recent favourites of mine are Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Jinx by Sage Blackwood (I reviewed Jinx here). Book 2 of the Jinx series, Jinx’s Magic came out earlier this year, and it’s definitely on my to-read list.

Graveyard Book

Jinx Sage Blackwood

These are my two favourite genres in general, so it’s no surprise I tend to be drawn to middle-grade novels in these genres as well. I am, however, currently reading Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen, a contemporary middle-grade, and I’m enjoying it (it’s on my son’s upcoming Battle of the Books list, and we’re reading it together. It’s not really the type of book I should be reading with my eleven-year-old son, but we’re having fun with it.)

What about you? Do you read a lot of middle-grade novels? Have any must-read titles to recommend to me? I’m looking to add to my middle-grade to-read list, so any help would be appreciated!

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!