I love books. I know I am not alone. The Bibliophiles out there can relate to the joy that can come out of a new book. The satisfying crack of a fresh spine. The smell of the pages. The relaxed feeling out cozying down with a nothing to do but read.
But the main reason I love books is the same reason I frequent movie theaters, make an effort to find live shows and worry I have a tv-addiction: I love stories. There is nothing like escaping to an imaginary land, whether it’s fantasy worlds like Middle Earth or Panem, or an alternate version of our reality like Spider-man’s New York or Grey’s Anatomy’s Seattle. I live to get lost in the lives of fictional characters, even if it’s just the everyday adventures of mostly-realistic sitcom stars. I am all about the constant stimulation of my imagination. It is because of this that I have taken to listening to audiobooks.
It started as an innocent practice while at work. A simple YA novel helped pass the time while doing mundane, repetitive tasks. But I soon discovered there were several other parts of my day which lent themselves well to book-listening:
- While I get ready in the morning (because it’s difficult to watch a movie while doing your makeup).
- While getting ready for bed (because books aren’t traditionally waterproof).
- While cooking dinner (so much easier to chop safely when I’m not trying to keep one eye on the tv).
- During the 1.5 hours of bus-riding I do each day (as my 6am commute is too dark to read).
I now burn through audiobooks just as fast as regular novels, which makes it rather unfair that I do an Autumn Reading List but not an Autumn Listening List. So as a compliment to my Book Hauls, here is an Audiobook Haul:
Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
Written by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Narrated by Kevin T. Collins with Eve Bianco
I downloaded the first installment in this series based on Justine + the internet’s recommendations. It is supposed to be very similar to my favorite series’ and Justine told me I might like it. I did not. I’m not saying the book is bad, but I found it lacked the fasted-paced action that attracts me to teen fiction and got bogged down in YA’s stereotypical predestined romance. Justine loves that junk but I find it trite and predictable. While I don’t consider it a waste of my time I’m probably not going to listen to the rest of the series.
However if I was going to follow this story I am glad I did it in audiobook form. The story is set in the South and the narrator has an appealing southern accent. For a resident of the Great White North this is a treat!
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Written & Narrated by David Sedaris
I have a thing for biographies, but even more than that I have a thing for compellations of autobiographical essays. Books that, instead of just telling the story of someone’s life, show snippets of the author through the years. Sometimes these flashes paint a picture of one aspect of the author, following a singular theme. While sometimes the pieces are meant to add up to the person as a whole. Either way you finish the book knowing the writer better without learning every textbook-style detail.
Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of stories of varying lengths that seem to be completely unrelated. The book opens with the tale of a young man in speech therapy. It is followed by stories of childhood pets and methamphetamine-fueled art. The entire second half focused on Sedaris’ recent move to France. It isn’t until I neared the end of the book that I realized that, although the tales seem unrelated, throughout the entire book the protagonists remained the same boy who dreamed of standing out while trying to hide his flaws…which were what really made him different. A commentary on insecurity and using what makes us stand out.
As you can probably tell, I’ve already finished this audiobook and enjoyed it thoroughly. The varying chapter lengths made for a creative pacing that kept me engaged, even in my most zombie-like state…and let me tell you I was TIRED when I started this book. Plus having the author perform his stories develops a real connection…and is sooo entertaining when the writer is a touring comedian!
I definitely recommend this one.
The Land of Stories Series: The Wishing Spell + The Enchantress Returns + A Grimm Warning
Written & Narrated by Chris Colfer
I am obsessed with these audiobooks. I had read The Land of Stories previously and because I thought it was immensely clever (see my full review on Goodreads) and I looked forward to reading the other volumes in the series. But then I got busy, months passed and by the time I thought of Alex & Connor Bailey again my memory of the story was foggy. “Perhaps I’ll reread the first book before continuing the series,” I thought. “Or maybe I’ll listen to it…since I’ve already read it once.” This is up there among the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Chris Colfer is tremendously entertaining as a storyteller. He does voices perfectly to match each character’s personality, but what really wows me is the quality of the simple, in-between narration. It is very clear Colfer is passionate about his story and wants the listener to be not only interested but involved. This series is a “Must Read” for me, but if you’re interested I’d recommend you change that to a “Must Listen.”
The Jasper Dent Trilogy: I Hunt Killers + Game + Blood of My Blood
Written by Barry Lyga
Narrated by Charlie Thurston
This is another series where I read the first installment then sort of forgot about while waiting for the later editions to be released. Now that the entire trilogy is available I thought I’d listen to Jasper Dent’s story in its entirety.
Jasper is the son of a serial killer who lives in constant fear that he has a genetic predisposition to become one himself. If that one sentence summary doesn’t have you hooked I’m not sure this series is the one for you. I, however, have never found a book with a more compelling protagonist. The trip through the mind of a potential sociopath…count me in!
Percy Jackson / Heroes of Olympus Series’
Written by Rick Riordan
Narrated by Jesse Bernstein + Joshua Swanson + Nick Chamian
I present to you my original audiobook series. I started listening to the adventures Percy Jackson while at work. The plot is simple enough to follow without giving it 100% of your attention, but action-packed enough to keep you engaged…and awake. I’ve now listened to the entire series at least 3 times. The books may be targeted at a young audience but the writing holds up as an adult reader. It is intelligent & quick-witted, with delightful narrators on the audio editions.
Naturally with this month’s release of Blood of Olympus I have chosen to listen to all 9 ‘prequels’ in preparation. I cannot wait until the newest audiobook arrives in my e-library because the extended series keeps growing with the main characters, getting better and better with each new release.
To keep up with what I am reading/listening to follow me on Goodreads. I’ll post reviews of these and other books as I finish them! You can also check out what I am currently reading in my Autumn Book Haul.
Happy Reading! And Happy Listening!
Love & Luck,