Audiobook Appreciation

I’m done with this most recent clump of deadlines! I don’t think I’ve worked at quite a pace like this for a long while – it’s been three to four weeks of fourteen hour days. I am very, very thankful for my audiobooks – I think they kept me sane in the midst of all those deadlines.

Audiobook Treasure Trove

headphones I was lucky enough to come down with a head cold for Christmas and Boxing Day, so I had a grand time those two days: I got to loll around while everyone took care of me, and to top it off, on Christmas Day, I discovered a virtual audiobook treasure chest! I spent most of Christmas Day and Boxing Day lying on the couch, listening to some great audiobooks and snacking on the most delicious foods.

If you live in Ontario, you might be able to take advantage of this audiobook treasure chest yourself. The Ontario Library Service Download Centre is available to all library patrons of participating Ontario libraries, and it is just wonderful. There are loads of audiobooks available for download, much like you would for Audible. The files are deleted at the end of your checkout period, but you can checkout each audiobook for one or two weeks, which is nice.

So far, in the past two weeks, I’ve listened to Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent, Ellen Degeneres’ The Funny Thing Is, The Green Witch and The Grey King from Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, and The Bunnicula Collection by James and Deborah Howe.

Other Listens

The Price of Butcher's Meat

Over the past three weeks, I also enjoyed the audio versions of Reginald Hill’s The Price of Butcher’s Meat (I listened to the British version, which is called A Cure for All Diseases) and Exit Lines. I’d already read A Cure for All Diseases earlier last year and loved it (my review is here) – it translated superbly into audio.

I also played several Agatha Christie audios while I was working – I find I can do “rereads” in audio, as well as memoirs and nonfiction, while I’m working; I somehow have the ability to follow along while getting my work done at the same time. Audiobooks don’t work well for work if they’re audios of books I haven’t read yet, though.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Links, Poirot Investigates and The Big Four helped me get through a lot of otherwise tedious work, so I’m very thankful for them!

Curtains for ThreeAnd finally, I listened to Rex Stout’s Curtains for Three, a trilogy of three Nero Wolfe novellas. I must admit, the first few times I listened to audiobook renditions of Nero Wolfe novels, I had a hard time getting used to the narrator, Michael Pritchard, because he didn’t sound quite like I always imagined Archie Goodwin would sound. But Pritchard’s voice has grown on me, and now my idea of Archie Goodwin sounds exactly like him! I like the way that worked out.

Coming Up

Thanks to the Ontario Library Service Download Centre, I have some more goodies waiting for my hearing pleasure this coming week:

About Face

About Face, by Donna Leon. I’ve been wanting to read a Commissario Guido Brunetti book for a while, and since this one was available for checkout, I decided to give it a try. I only just started listening to it last night, and it promises to be a good story.

Silver on the Tree

Silver on the Tree, by Susan Cooper. This is the final book in The Dark is Rising series. The version I have is narrated by Alex Jennings, and I started listening to a bit of it yesterday as well. I’m looking forward to finishing my reread of the series in audio.

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So Long as You Both Shall Live, by Ed McBain. This is my first 87th Precinct mystery; it’s a little bit challenging keeping track of all the names in audio, and the story line behind this one isn’t quite to my taste, but I will definitely be looking into reading more of the 87th Precinct series.

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson. I’ve had Bryson’s memoir on my shelf for ages; when I saw it was available at the OLS Download Centre, I decided to check it out, as I really enjoy listening to memoirs in audio.

And from my local library:

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. The audio version of The Thirteenth Tale came highly recommended – I seem to recall lots of people recommending it on Google Wave. So I thought I’d take the plunge and give it a first read in audio instead of in print.

I recently bought the following, which are waiting for me to get to them:

The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World, by Robert Jordan. This is Book 1 of the Wheel of Time series – I began reading the series ages ago, but stopped at around Book 6 or 7. I recently received a review copy of the final book in the series, The Gathering Storm, which is written by Brandon Sanderson based on Robert Jordan’s extensive notes, so I thought it would be a good thing to reread the series. I’ve had so much luck with rereads in audio, I decided to give the audio version a try.

Dead Until Dark

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris. I have the first seven books in paperback, but haven’t read the Sookie Stackhouse series at all; a while back, I decided to give the first book a try in audio. I haven’t found myself in the mood for it yet, but I know I will soon – from what everyone’s been telling me, I’ll probably be hooked once I give it a try!

I also have two Audible credits to spend, and I’m thinking I’ll probably splurge on more Rex Stout and Reginald Hill.

So there you have it – audiobooks have managed to keep me on the reading track even while I was submerged up to my neck in deadlines! And yes, I’ve been feeling like a kid in a candy store …

Coming up this week: my giveaway winners! No, I haven’t forgotten about my giveaway. The winners post will be coming soon.

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Where I Throw Up My Hands in Resignation and Yell, “I’m Giving Up!”

There’s no graceful way to post about this, so I thought I might as well let my Inner Drama Queen take over.

(If you have any pots and pans handy, feel free to bang on them and add to the general noise and ruckus.)

Are you ready?

I’M GIVING UP!

So, what exactly am I giving up on?

My reading challenges.

I CAN’T DO THEM. I REALLY, REALLY CAN’T DO READING CHALLENGES.

So this is my official notice that I have totally failed at almost all of the reading challenges I’ve signed up for, and my declaration that I will be exercising more discipline henceforth when it comes to all the gorgeous, glorious reading challenges that I just KNOW will be coming up now that we are in the final quarter of this year and heading into the new year.

And I’m trusting all of you to hold me accountable. From now on, if I find myself accepting another reading challenge, I will include in my post all the reasons why I will be able to succeed, and if I can’t think of enough reasons, I will not accept.

See, it’s not even that I’m not reading the books that I challenged myself to read. The fact is, I don’t have a clue whether I am or not.

There’s no getting around it. I just have a tough time keeping track of the books that I’ve read. And when I write reviews, I can never seem to remember to check on my challenges and see if the book I’m reviewing fits into any of the categories.

Take J. Kaye’s 100+ books challenge as an example. I’m pretty sure I’m on track to meet my goals for this challenge, but for the life of me, there’s no way I can list the all the books that I’ve read this year – I just haven’t kept track and can’t remember them all.

So this post is my not-so-graceful way of admitting that I simply fail at reading challenges – even when I’m technically fulfilling the challenges, I’m still failing them.

Sad, but true.

From now on, I’m only going to take on challenges that I know I will be able to meet; yes, I know this rather defeats the point of challenges but so be it. I might, for example, tackle a Betsy-Tacy reading challenge if I come across one (I’m sure I will). Or an Anne of Green Gables rereading challenge. But that’s the extent of it. No thrill of discovering new-to-me authors for me, no ecstasy of reading newly published books, no triumphant reading-across-the-finish-line posts.

As for my current challenges, I am letting myself stick with the following challenges:

The Harry Potter Reading Challenge

and

The Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge

And now, as gracefully as I can after admitting to so many stupendous reading challenge failures, I will exit this post …

The Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge

sookiechallenge Yes, it’s lunacy. I don’t have any excuse for signing up for yet another reading challenge, except that I’ve been wanting to read the Sookie Stackhouse series for a while now. So when Beth Fish Reads announced the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge, I knew I just had to join in on the fun.

Here are the rules: Between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, catch up on Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series. No matter if you’re starting with book 1 or book 8, you have a year to read all about Sookie. Read Sookie in print, listen to the audio, read an eBook — format is not an issue.

The books in the series are:

Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone

I was assured by a few people on Twitter last night that these books are fast, fun reads. So I’m really looking forward to this. And here’s a bonus: Melissa’s Bookshelf has a giveaway of the boxed set containing the first seven books in the series! The giveaway ends July 5, and it’s open worldwide. Very nice!

Interested in doing the challenge with me? Hop on over to the official challenge sign-up post and add your name to Mr. Linky. In July, Beth F. will put up another post where you can go to link to your reviews and keep track of your progress.