20 February 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: All Things Audiobooks

Audiobook News from Beth Fish ReadsI'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! 

Review: The Gilded Cage by Vic JamesI 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.


Recommended audiobooksI 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!)
Phew! I think I've flooded you with enough audiobook news for one week! If you listen to audiobooks, let me know what you're listening to right now; I'm always looking for my next favorite audiobook.

26 comments:

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 2/20/17, 7:17 AM  

I would love to listen to more audiobooks. We also acquire some to take along on a lengthy trip but I forget about them during every day life. I shouldn't!

https://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2017/02/four-reads-plus-my-favorite-love-story.html

Sarah's Book Shelves 2/20/17, 8:04 AM  

Three cheers for returning to Twitter to share your thoughts on books, life, movies, TV, etc!

And I need to check out Hoopla - I listened to my first library audiobook on Overdrive and wasn't super thrilled with the experience.

Amanda 2/20/17, 8:32 AM  

I have Gilded Cage on my to-investigate list. I'll keep that in mind about the audiobook. I've never experienced that particular narrator.

Also, thanks for the info about Hoopla! That sounds like a great resource.

Kay 2/20/17, 8:45 AM  

Hoopla and Overdrive are great resources for audiobooks. I use Audible, but one day I may use the other ones. My audiobook consumption is growing more and more all the time. Almost half my reading. I've use Hoopla for reading graphic novels and can say it worked very well.

As to what I'm listening to - THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X by Keigo Higashino. This is for a book group in March.

Laurel-Rain Snow 2/20/17, 9:23 AM  

Perhaps if I had audio books, I would walk more. Hmm. The stationary bicycle could work for audio books, too, but usually I watch TV when I'm on it.

Jane Steele looks interesting....thanks for sharing your books, and for visiting my blog.

bermudaonion 2/20/17, 9:26 AM  

Except for a week or so, our whole winter's been mild. I hope we don't pay for that this summer.

I use my Sonos speaker to listen to audiobooks fairly often.

Bibliophile 2/20/17, 9:39 AM  

The Gilded Cage sounds intriguing. I love listening to audiobooks, but I find I prefer to listen to books I have already read.

Happy reading!

Susie | Novel Visits 2/20/17, 9:50 AM  

Listening to more audio books is one of my goals for 2017. Considering I only did 2 in 2016, I'm off to a good start having just completed 2 for this year. I think I'll try to do one a month. It's hard knowing which books will work on audio and which won't. The narrator(s) can really make the stories! Thanks for the tips!

Anita LeBeau 2/20/17, 10:29 AM  

I'm looking forward to more book, movie and TV talk on twitter. Books have seriously saved me this past month. I tend to turn on the news and then become anxious with listening to it all. Politics is addicting and not in a good way at this time.

I'm still listening to Bellevue, but I have some fiction in audio up next. The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins is one, and our book club pick, Madame Bovary...and I've never read!!

Darlene 2/20/17, 11:44 AM  

I'm an audiobook lover! I always have one on the good. With young kid, I credited audiobooks with getting me back into reading because I never had any sit-down time to read!

I'm a BIG fan of Hoopla. Our library has Overdrive as well, and I use both. Hoopla has the "Cat & Bones" series by Jeanine Frost, so I'm currently listening to the prequel, Reckoning, and I'm already loving the series!!

(Diane) bookchickdi 2/20/17, 11:49 AM  

I'm glad to hear Mr. BFR is on the mend. The one audiobook I want to listen to is George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo, it sounds amazing.

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine 2/20/17, 11:57 AM  

I've been listening to audiobooks using the TuneIn Radio app. The premium version isn't free but you can listen to unlimited audiobooks, there's no monthly limit or anything. They don't have every audiobook but they have enough of a selection to keep me entertained.

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf 2/20/17, 12:22 PM  

I love audios for in the car. I use overdrive wit my library and audible of course...will have t check into Hoopla.

Dragonfly Our Familiarium 2/20/17, 12:55 PM  

I have the Gilded Cage ARC Can't wait to get to it!
Coincidentally I posted yesterday about how much I love audio books and how they have save many DNFs for me! I usually get them from the library in Overdrive. I have a Hoopla account but I haven't use it yet! UGH I keep forgetting! Congrats on being the current reigning Audio Publishers Association's Blogger of the Year! :) and Thanks for all this useful information about audio books :)

Laurie C 2/20/17, 3:38 PM  

I am an audiobook addict, too, currently listening to The Most Dangerous Place in the World by Lindsey Lee Johnson, read by Cassandra Campbell. She's one of my favorite narrators. The book is a little tricky because there are high school student characters and adults to do the voices for, but I think she nails it! We just started offering Hoopla at my library; we also offer OverDrive and Axis360 for audiobooks and ebooks. When the holds come in all at once, it can be hard to listen to them before they expire, but with Hoopla, you don't have to wait to get it again, so that's a big plus on the user end!

Yvonne 2/20/17, 4:05 PM  

I love listening to audiobooks. I've been using Overdrive and Audible. At least I don't feel like I'm wasting my time during my commute - I listen in the car.

Kathy Reads Fiction 2/20/17, 5:01 PM  

I enjoy audiobooks and usually use Overdrive. I have seen Hoopla's link on my library's website but have never really looked there. Such good info!

Greg 2/20/17, 5:13 PM  

Lots of audiobook goodness! I get distracted a lot when I try to listen so I don't do audios much, but I'd like to. And Hoopla is something I've heard of but never tried- I'm definitely going to go check out their site.

It's been unseasonably warm here too and I'm loving it. Yay spring (now if it will just stick around)!

Yvonne 2/20/17, 6:49 PM  

Like Greg, I also get distracted when trying to listen to audio books so I'm not a fan. I'll be adding Jane Steele to my TBR pile, but in print. Enjoy your week!

Nise' 2/20/17, 9:17 PM  

One of my libraries offers Overdrive and the other Hoopla. I like both, but am glad that they also offer audio CDs as I drive an older car that will only accept cds. I use a speaker to listen to my audios on my iPod. Jane Steele has been sitting on my shelf for far too long.

Tina 2/21/17, 7:05 AM  

I think I would like to get a copy of Gilded Cage, that sounds very interesting. Alas, my drive to work is too short for audio books and the work keeps all my attention so, I need the book!

Bark's Book Nonsense 2/21/17, 12:19 PM  

I use Overdrive for most of my audiobooks and will occasionally purchase Whispersync, if the price is right. My library doesn't offer Hoopla but I have more than enough to keep me happy :)

Julia Pigott 2/21/17, 12:38 PM  

Oooh I'm so tempted to "reread" Jane Steele in audio! It sounds amazing! I love audiobooks, especially during a long drive or while I'm cooking. Can't wait to check out your links!

Daryl 2/21/17, 1:16 PM  

i have Jane Steele ready when i am done with Harlan Coben's Deal Breaker the first in a series thats been around a while but is new to me .. and you're SO right if the narrator doesnt nail it, its hard to listen ...

Kailana 2/21/17, 8:54 PM  

I keep forgetting about Jane Steele. I am glad that the audio is good. Maybe I will finally read it!

Margot 2/24/17, 12:05 AM  

I enjoy your posts on audiobooks. Because my eyes are failing me, I would not be able to read all that I do without audiobooks. My local library has both Overdrive and Hoopla. They are buying less of the audiobooks on cd because of those two services. Right now I'm listening to Americanah by Chimamand Ngozi Adichi. It's an excellent, well written story that is great in audio.

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