Tuesday, January 14, 2020

My Top ONE Tuesday Discovery


It's Tuesday!  You know what that means—it's time for my favorite weekly meme.  Top Ten Tuesday is always a good time.  You should really join in the fun.  All you have to do is click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl, read a few instructions, create your own list, and hop around the book blogosphere to visit other people's lists.  It truly is a great way to find new book blogs to read, add intriguing titles to your TBR mountain chains, and just spread the love throughout this wonderful online community of ours.

The topic du jour is Top Ten Bookish Discoveries I Made in 2019.  I did find some new authors and blogs last year, but I feel like I've already talked about them.  So, I'm going to talk about a bookish discovery I've made this year.  Since there's only one, this won't be a list, but more of a discussion.  I really do value your advice and recommendations, so please leave a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours.

I know I'm late to the party on this one, but my big discovery of 2020 is ... wait for it ... audiobooks.  I'm sure I'm the last person on Earth to jump on this particular bandwagon.  However, in reading lots of 2019 wrap-up posts, I realized something—bloggers that read a heck ton of books last year often attributed their astounding numbers to, you guessed it, audiobooks.  So, I decided to give them a try.  Audible had a New Year's sale that offered a free trial membership, some free books, and an easy reading (listening) challenge that will net me a $20 Amazon gift card to boot.  Serendipity!  I signed up.
For my first audiobook, I decided on a book I've been eyeing for awhile—Spectacle by Jodi Lynn Zdrok.  It's a YA novel about a 16-year-old Parisian girl who visits the city's public morgue, which prompts her to have strange visions about a string of grisly murders.  It sounded interesting, so I downloaded the book and started listening.  The narrator, Laurie Catherine Winkel, seemed a little stiff, her French words sounding more natural than her English ones, but she sounded even weirder at higher speeds, so I listened to the story at normal speed.  I kept the audio running while I ran errands in the car, scrubbed my kitchen, folded laundry, worked on the computer, etc. and was surprised at how well I could multi-task.  In the past when I've tried to listen to books I've either fallen asleep or gotten so distracted by other things that I missed half of what the narrator was saying.  The only problem with Spectacle was the tale seemed to go on and on and on and on.  When I downloaded the book, I hadn't paid any attention to its length.  I actually gasped when I finally realized it was ELEVEN HOURS long.  Needless to say, it was an interesting first-time listening experience.

Now, I'm listening to a MG novel called The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier.  The Audie Award-winning narrator, Bahni Turpin, is much more animated than the last one and the book is much shorter.  I'm enjoying it.

All in all, my audiobook experiment is going well so far.  I'm curious, though, as to how the rest of you use this resource.  Do you listen to audiobooks?  Why or why not?  How often do you "read" them?  Which books have been your favorite to listen to?  Who are the best narrators?  Any other tips for me from you audiobook lovers?  I'd love any advice on how to use audiobooks most effectively and enjoyably.

Happy TTT!

52 comments:

  1. You are the second to last person to get into audiobooks because I am still not there. I have a difficult time following a book on audio so do it rarely. I think the last one I listed to was the final Harry Potter in 2009!

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    1. Ha ha. At least I'm not the last :) I think I'm going to have to stick to audiobooks where the plot and prose is really straightforward. That way, I won't miss anything.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

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  2. I have tried audio books, well, one book that had no ending for some strange reason, it was cut off and when ask about it, they apparently do not have a fix which is strange. I brought the audio book at the iTunes store.

    I haven't tried audio books since. But if I were to try them again, I think I would need to listen to samples because if the voice is not to my liking, then I wouldn't read the book.

    Sorry, I have no advice for you about audiobooks but I hope you get to enjoy more of them.

    Thank you for stopping by. Have a lovely day.

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    1. Actually, listening to a sample to see how the narration is is great advice! I'll definitely do that from now on.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I do listen to audio books which has been really great because I listen while I work out or do chores. And I love that part of it. But I have also noticed that I don't read physical books very often any more which makes me sad because I love to sit with a book in my hand reading. So my reading goal for this year is to read at least one physical book per month.

    Some of my favorite books to listen to have been- The Boys in the Boat- fabulous book and Ed Herman narrating is equally fabulous. The Bloody Jack books- because there are so many songs and accents, it makes it fun. Another great one to listen to is Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan because the music in the book plays such an important role.

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    1. Interesting that you don't read as many paper books. I can't see that happening to me because I love the experience of holding a book (even an e-book) in my hands, too. Huh.

      I LOVE the Bloody Jack books, so I'll definitely check them out on audio. I haven't read ECHO (funny, my friend was just encouraging me to read it today) or THE BOYS IN THE BOAT yet, so I'll check them out as well.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  4. So glad to hear you're enjoying audiobooks! I just discovered them last year myself, but I'm hooked for sure:) I highly recommend Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, both by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Hope you'll discover many more amazing audiobooks in 2020!

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    1. I haven't read either of those, but they're both on my TBR list. I'll definitely check them out on audio. Thanks for the recs and for coming by and commenting.

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  5. Yay for audiobooks! They're fantastic, aren't they? I love them.

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    1. I'm enjoying them so far, but I'm definitely realizing that some narrators are better than others and that that makes a big difference in listening enjoyment!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I keep going, "I love audiobooks!" and then I remember that I only listened to my first unabridged one in 2018, and it was only the 1. 2019 was my Year of the Audiobook, listening to 11 in part (switching off w/ print) or whole. Glad to hear you've done the same. Sounds like you scored an especially great deal with Audible.

    I definitely always check the length, though. If it's over 9.5 hours, it has to sound absolutely amazing or I'm skipping it (or at least getting the print version from the library to cut down the time).

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    1. That's good advice. I went into the audiobook thing blindly - if I had listened to a sample of SPECTACLE, I'm not sure I would have chosen it after all. Live and learn, right?

      Thanks for coming by!

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  7. I’m not a fan of audiobooks! I just get such a bad headache whenever I try to listen to them, I wish I could!

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    1. Really? That's a bummer. They haven't given me a headache yet, although it does drive my family a little crazy when I listen to them out loud. Serves the teenagers right since they always have their music up loud!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I haven't really tried audio books, because I don't think they'd fit my reading style. I often find myself rereading passages I really like or find confusing, and checking back on clues earlier in a book. And I don't think I'd pay attention as well. But some of my friends only read audio books, and love them, so maybe you will, too!

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    1. I agree - it's hard to go back and find a specific line or passage, especially in the really long audiobooks. That's why I think I need to stick to listening really straightforward books because I definitely don't pay attention as closely with an audiobook.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting!

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  9. If I had a longer commute to work I'd probably try listening to audio books, but when I'm at home I'd rather just read my books myself. (That way I can skip or ahead, or go back and reread a favorite part.) Plus, I can read faster in my head than someone else can out loud...and I get impatient at times. :)

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    1. I have noticed that I "read" audiobooks more slowly than I read paper books. That's why I've been reading one paper (or e-) book and listening to one audiobook at the same time.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

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  10. Audio books took me forever to get into but I love them now! I'm glad you found them and hope you enjoy them. My book listening has taken a bit of a hit lately and I miss it.

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    1. I love how efficient I feel when I can get something done (housework, laundry, emails, etc.) and listen to a book at the same time. It's nice.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

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  11. As you know, I love audiobooks. I think my all time favourite so far is Where The Crawdads Sing. I am so glad you are enjoying them.

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    1. I have a paper copy of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, but I haven't even opened it yet. I'm hoping to get to it this year. Maybe it would help to listen to it at the same time I read it? Hm ...

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting!

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  12. I loooooove audiobooks and read several every month!

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    1. Nice! My goal is to listen to 2-3 every month while driving, doing housework, etc. We'll see how it goes :)

      Thanks for coming by!

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  13. Audiobooks are brilliant! I always find it weird that some books translate well to audio, whilst others don't. And if you get the right narrator it is blissful! Currently listening to Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo which works really well and is wonderfully narrated.

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    1. Yes, I'm discovering just that - some books work well as audios, some don't. And the narrator makes a huge difference!

      I haven't read anything by Bardugo, so maybe I'll try that one in audio. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Thanks for stopping by, Sam!

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  14. See, I just can't figure out when I'd listen to audio books. I don't have a long commute to work, I don't exercise, and I'm the world's worst housewife, so it isn't like I'd listen to them while doing chores. I did listen to three when I had surgery on my eyes and wasn't allowed to read, and I did enjoy that, but I hope to not have more surgery on my eyes again!

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    1. LOL. I don't have a long commute either, I SHOULD exercise, and I'm not the greatest housekeeper either. There are chores I HAVE to do, though, and I've found that listening to an audiobook helps housework go faster.

      I hope you don't have to have eye surgery again. How awful! I think I'd rather lose any sense than my sight :(

      Thanks for coming by!

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  15. I am a big fan of audiobooks. I no longer get to drive so have lost a lot of my listening time. I miss them!

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    1. I don't spend a lot of continuous time in my car - more like 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there - so I don't get much listening done that way either. Most of it happens while I'm cleaning the house because the dang housework NEVER ends.

      Thanks for stopping by, Marg!

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  16. I looove audios! I listen at the gym, while walking to and from the bus and on my lunch walking around. I don't pay attention too much to narrators, though I probably should bc that's the quickest turnoff for me. You should try cast audios -- especially those of Neil Gaiman's books -- Neverwhere in particular has James Macvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch in an awesome AWESOME cast!

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    1. I've heard good things about cast audios. I'll definitely give that a try. Sounds fun.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  17. I retried audiobooks this year and I just can't focus, I miss so much that's going on! I'm glad you enjoy it!!

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    1. That was my problem when I tried audiobooks before - I could not focus at all. In fact, I fell asleep every time I tried to listen to one. If I just sat down and listened, I would probably still fall asleep - that's why I listen while doing housework.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  18. I recently jumped on the audiobook bandwagon; they are fun. However, I'm not really enjoying Audible's pricing. I need to look into another source for them.

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    1. Right? I won't buy audiobooks unless Audible has a huge sale. Otherwise, they're way too expensive. I can borrow them from the library for free.

      Thanks for stopping by, Whitney!

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  19. I've never done an audiobook......I feel like I wouldn't be able to concentrate enough. Like my hands are free so I'm going to do something while I'm listening.....lol

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    1. I have found that my concentration level differs depending on what I'm doing. If I'm cleaning the kitchen, for instance, I listen pretty well because what I'm actually doing is super boring. If I'm reading blogs or writing reviews, I have a harder time paying attention to an audiobook because my mind is otherwise engaged.

      Thanks for coming by, Susan!

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  20. I've been listening to audio books for the last 3-4 years and am such a big fan of them. I hope you continue to find ones you enjoy! :)

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    1. I hope so, too! I started listening to one I had borrowed from the library and returned it after listening to just the first chapter. The book wasn't catching my interest and the narrator was monotone, so ... yeah.

      Thanks for stopping by, Tanya!

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  21. OK, you know that I love audiobooks and you can find all sorts of stuff about them on my blog. I try to remember to mention the narrator when I do a review and whether I liked them. However, you won't find many that I didn't like because I'm kind of picky about narrators. One thing I have done is listen to books that I've already read and used that as 'comfort' reads. I've also used audiobooks to encourage myself to do my daily walking (used JD Robb books for that when I was building up). I listen when exercising, in the car, while doing chores, etc. Louise Penny's series is wonderful on audio. It was sad when the original narrator passed away, but she another good one now. I encourage you to listen to the sample to see if you like the narrator. I also encourage you to see what your library has available in that regard. Narrators that I love: Simon Vance, Imogen Church (does all the Ruth Ware books), Jim Dale (the Harry Potter books), Robert Glenister (Cormoran Strike), and Caroline Lee (does Liane Moriarty's books and Kate Morton's books). Often the same narrator will do a whole mystery series, which I love when I get attached. Good luck and welcome to the world of audio!!

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    1. My library seems to have a pretty big variety of audiobooks, so that will be my go-to source, for sure. And from now on, I'm definitely going to listen to a sample of the book before I buy or borrow. I think I've learned that lesson!

      Thanks for the recommendations on narrators. I should have known you would be a great resource on this subject :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Kay!

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  22. I was such a naysayer when it came to audiobooks, but once I took the plunge, I was hooked. I listen to them at some point every day. I struggle with certain genres, because I am usually doing something else as I listen. So, if the book is too details, like scifi, fantasy, or mystery, I can get lost easily. My library has a ton of books too, so I have never paid for any

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    1. I've found this, too. Some genres work better for me than others. I tried to listen to a historical novel and there was just too much detail that I had to pay attention to. I'd rather read it in print so I don't miss anything.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting, Sam!

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  23. I still haven't quite jumped on the audiobook wagon. I'm worried that I'll be too focused on what I'm doing while listening to really hear the book, or vice versa and screw up whatever I'm doing because I'm so caught up in the book.
    Do you listen while driving? How does listening effect whatever you're doing while listening?

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    1. I totally get that. I've found that I listen well while doing mindless, mundane things like household chores and while driving (as long as I'm alone). I don't do as well listening when I'm writing emails or reviews or something else where I really have to concentrate. Either I mess up what I'm doing or I miss parts of the audiobook. I've only listened to a few audiobooks, so I'm still figuring out what works for me and what doesn't.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  24. I love audiobooks! I started out by listening to books that I had already read and loved. I listened to over 80 audiobooks last year and I do most of my listening at work. I find that certain genres work better for me in audio since I am always multi-tasking. Romance, mystery (especially cozy mysteries), thrillers, and some fantasy. Heavier fantasy doesn't work for me well. Good luck in your audio adventures!

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    1. Yes, I'm finding the same. If there are too many details or if the plot is complicated, I'd rather read the print book. If it's a lighter, simpler story I can follow it just fine while doing other things at the same time. It just depends.

      Thanks for coming by, Carole! I'm so glad I found your blog :)

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  25. I've really learned to love audiobooks. For a long time, I only used them when commuting to work or when I was on one of my summer road trips. I used to not even count the pages listened to as part of my pages-read tally for the year, but I started counting them as of 2019.

    I had an audiobook discovery myself in 2020. I'm a fan of Dan Fesperman's writing, and have been for years, but I never realized how good a narrator the man is. I just finished with his "Safe Houses" spy thriller, and I had to check twice to make sure that it was really him reading the book. He does accents, different voices, etc. as well as any professional narrator I've ever heard. If you like thrillers, take a look at this one. It's about three women who risk their lives to try to bring down an agent who is also a rapist.

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    1. I'm pretty sure I have a paper copy of SAFE HOUSES here somewhere. Maybe I'll have to listen to it instead, though. How cool that the author is a writer and a voice actor!

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting, Sam!

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  26. I'm another one who hasn't embraced audio yet but I was told by my optician when I was last there that I'm 'pre-cataract' so suspect the time when I will have to is fast approaching. I'm very pleased to hear that you've had such good experiences with it and find it very reassuring as I had concerns, so thank you. :-)

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    1. Oh, no! One of my worst fears is losing my vision. I can't imagine. Audiobooks are definitely a way you can still read with vision impairment or just to give your eyes a rest every once in awhile.

      Right now, I'm listening to a YA book in a series I love by L.A. Meyer. The narrator is English and she does a wonderful job with voices and accents. It's lots of fun.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cath!

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