Devourer of Books is leading the celebration! A different topic is up for discussion each day, along with prizes and links to lots of reviews. After a long weekend away, I'm playing catch-up today.
AUDIOBOOKS: HOW I GOT STARTED
About ten years ago, we undertook a major home renovation project - remodel the kitchen and bathrooms, and add a family room. Our plan was to move in with my parents for the summer and allow the contractors to storm the place to complete the work by Labor Day.
The sad reality: Due to major structural issues, we basically ended up building a new house. I found myself (along with a husband, 3 kids, and the dog) living two towns away with Mom and Dad for 11 months, overseeing the project, doing endless amounts of shopping for everything from doorknobs to roofing materials, and driving the kids to and from school, activities, sports practices and games. I literally spent the year in my car!
My sister, who had recently listened to an audiobook on a long drive, suggested I give them a try. I began with a book on tape from the library - Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg. It was read by the author, with her inimitable southern accent, and I was hooked! The library was my main source of audiobooks for another year, then I discovered aubible.com. I've been a member since 2003 and now have 150 audiobooks in my 'library'. Audible is the best! As a member, I purchase credits each year at a discounted price, have access to free programming, and can sample any book before buying. They also have periodic specials and other great features on their website.
Although much less time is spent in the car these days, I still 'read' most of my audiobooks while driving. Listening has allowed me to fit many more books into my life! At first, it was work to pay attention, but my listening skills improved quickly. Now I listen to everything- fiction and nonfiction, from classics to humor. I love them! If you haven't given audiobooks a try, what are you waiting for?
BUT HOW DO YOU WRITE A REVIEW?
Reviewing audiobooks is tricky, there's no doubt about it. I generally start with a picture of the cover and the title, author, narrator, publisher, and length (in hours and minutes) next to it. A very brief plot outline follows, then my comments with a few lines specifically geared toward the quality of the audio production.
I love using favorite passages in a book review, but that's not always possible with an audiobook. Even spelling names of places and characters can present a challenge. Sometimes I get a hard copy from the library, but with popular new books that's not always possible.
There is a small notebook and pen in the car to jot down my thoughts... I try really hard not to write while driving! My audio reviews are generally shorter than reviews of hard copies.
TODAY'S AUDIOBOOK MEME
Audiobook are you currently reading: The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper - a memoir of her childhood in Liberia
Impressions?: Very good. It's read by the author and took some time to get used to her rather flat delivery, but I love hearing her 'Liberian' English.
How long you’ve been listening to audiobooks: Nearly ten years
First audiobook you ever listened to: Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg
Favorite audiobook title: If I have to choose just one, it would be The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
Favorite narrator: There are several, but Cassandra Campbell is the only one the comes to mind right now.
How do you choose what to listen to versus read? In the past, I usually chose lighter, contemporary fiction. As my listening skills improved, I began to choose nonfiction, mystery, memoirs, and even classics. When memoirs are read by the author (Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for example) another dimension is added. Humor is great in the audio format. If you have any desire to read David Sedaris, take my advice and try the audio (he narrates his owns books). Sometimes a classic that I haven't been able to concentrate on in the past really captures my attention on audio. I loved Great Expectations read by Frank Muller. Now, I listen to whatever happens to catch my attention.