I'm so looking forward to this week, when life in the BFR household should (theoretically) return to normal. Yay us! Mr. BFR got the green light to drive again, and he's starting to get out for some short walks.
What's more, the weather has temporarily turned mild, and I love the idea that I can get out with my camera again. I've missed my outdoor walks; the treadmill just isn't the same.
In other news, I plan to return to book talk on Twitter. I think politics are important (no matter which side of the aisle you're on). I'm sure I'll veer off in that direction every once in a while, but I want to take back my social media by focusing once again on books, movies, TV, and some fun things. I don't think a few calm moments will detract from the big changes we are facing. If others think I'm shallow to talk about cooking, well, I can live with that.
Three Cheers for Audiobooks!
I finished listening to Vic James's The Gilded Cage (Del Rey), which explores an alternate history world in which some people are born with magic. In England, the people with magic are the people in political power and the ones with all the resources. The ordinary people (those without magic) are required to serve ten years as slaves in return for full citizenship. Slavery is not required, but it does grant certain rights and privileges . . . if you survive unbroken or survive at all. We follow two families, one magically gifted and the other not. I really love the world building (alternate history mixed with contemporary culture) and the plotting (politics, family, friendships, betrayals), and found some characters to root for and some to hate.
The unabridged audiobook (Random House Audio; 11 hr, 32 min) was read by Avita Jay. While I didn't hate her performance, there was something off-putting: perhaps a little bit of a repetitive cadence? In addition, the characterizations were not as distinct as I would have liked. I'm recommending this one in print and am looking forward to the next book.
Here's a video in which author Vic James talks about her surprising first writing prize and early her influences.
I started listening to Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey read by Gemma Dawson and Alex Wyndam. The book itself is a retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest, though you don't have to be familiar with the play to enjoy the story. It's an interesting take on the original, although neither narrator is totally grabbing me. I'm listening for a freelance assignment, so I'll persevere.
So what was fabulous? I recently re-read Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele in audiobook form (Penguin Audio; 12 hr, 14 min). The book was just as much fun the second time around, thanks to Susie Riddell's fantastic performance. She had great timing, the perfect level of expressive drama, and let the humor speak for itself. I found it very hard to stop listening. If you're unfamiliar with the novel, this is a story inspired by Jane Eyre (not a retelling) and includes a touch of murder and a resourceful protagonist. Oh, and there's a bit of romance too. Don't miss it in print or audio.
Other Audiobook News
- Do you check audiobooks out from the library? If so you're probably relying on physical CDs or Overdrive. Did you know there was another audiobook service that many libraries offer for digital downloads? It's Hoopla, which offers a wide range of audiobooks, some of which you may be able to download without having to sit on a waiting list. Hoopla also offers movies, music, books, and comics, so check it out. It's free with your library card in the United States and Canada (not sure about elsewhere).
- Do you have a streaming speaker system in your house for listening to music, podcasts, and the radio? Have you ever thought of using it to listen to a book? Here are two pairings I know about: If you have a Sonos speaker you can listen to your Audiobooks.com books through it. If you have an Amazon Echo, you can listen to your Audible.com books. Both audiobook services require a membership, but listening through your house system should be easy to set up.
- Do you blog about audiobooks? Are you an advocate for audiobooks on YouTube, Twitter, or other social media? If so, please seriously consider entering the Audio Publishers Association's Blogger of the Year contest. I am the current reigning Blogger of the Year, and I can tell you that it's been a blast! I loved attending the Audies gala event, meeting Paula Poundstone, and continuing to be a big advocate for audiobooks. The application and rules are available on the APA's website, and I urge you to apply--don't be shy. The judges recognize all kinds of bloggers and audiobook fans. It doesn't cost you anything to apply, so JUST DO IT.
- Talking about the Audies, in case you missed it, this year's Audies nominees were announced a couple of weeks ago. The full list of audiobooks and narrators can be found on the Audies page of AudioFile Magazine (you'll see a link there for the pdf / press release). Check out the honored audiobooks and then get listening.
- Talking even more about the Audies, if you want to have a say about the unofficial winners this year, then be sure to look for Jennifer of Literate Housewife on Twitter, Litsy, her blog, and Facebook and check out Armchair Audies for information on getting involved. (BTW: Jennifer won the first Audiobook Blogger of the Year Award, and I know she too would encourage you to apply!)