Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer READING list, and other NONSENSE...

Have you ever noticed the words I put in capitals are actually the REAL title?

So this post is really about READING NONSENSE.




Back in May I installed a FREE app to my phone called OVERDRIVE - it's free, so that was a huge incentive. I installed it, followed the onscreen instructions, then ADDED my local library to its My Libraries List.

This app is available for iOS, Android, Laptops, iPods, etc. Here's their HELP page, which explains everything you might have questions about.

Then, I logged into my local library and started selecting books to listen to, which I download directly to my phone. I do this over my Wi-Fi so as not to use my phone's data plan.

Oh… did I mention OVERDRIVE is great for audiobooks? 


Having someone read to me is way more interesting, and a better use of my time, than being spoon fed the drivel that's on the telly, or radio, these days. (News and music are included in this statement.)

Since mid May, when I installed OVERDRIVE, I have listened to 32 books.

You read that right! I have listened to 32 books, and counting. 

Before using OVERDRIVE, I would go to my local library and take out CD books and play them in my car. That was great, but rather annoying when a disk needed to be changed. Also, it was less convenient once I got home and headed in the house as I couldn't be bothered to take the CDs in with me.

NOW, things are different. Other than when I'm showering, or working on my book, I am plugged into a story, and really great stories at that, whether I'm at home, or on the road.

WHAT ARE YOU READING? I HEAR YOU ASKING. 

**FYI: all the links are active and will take you to a site called Order of Books which will give you info on the author and the books they've written. I find this helpful when looking for books in a series. You can add an author of your choice in the search bar as well.

Let me start by pointing out a few things about how I read first.

1. I still pick up books, the real thing, with pages and all. My current read is: The Light of Day, by Eric Ambler. I'm halfway through it. It's good. I highly recommend it.

2. When I'm not in the mood for turning pages, I have several books on my Kindle. I'm still making my way through The Game of Thrones - just rounding the bend and heading for home on Book 4.

I have Open Season for Murder (A Mac Faraday Mystery) by Lauren Carr. Her writing is light, but full of punch. Unlike the drag-it-out-for-way-longer-than-necessary approach of George R. R. Martin's work, Carr's writing is sharp, and to the point. Only available in e-book form so hence reading it on my Kindle.

I read about two "real" books, and several e-books per month. Of which, I've read several books from some of you out there! Yes, YOU!

With the addition of audiobooks it is amazing how many more books I get to which might otherwise never make it to the list of "hold and read" books.

WHY IS THE OVERDRIVE AUDIOBOOK OPTION WORTH LOOKING INTO?

If you're on the road, to and from work/school, to the gym and back, grocery shopping, or any of the million other reasons we find ourselves in our cars, or on the bus, this OVERDRIVE app is for you. It is way more entertaining than listening to the car radio, that's for sure. Ask Stephen Kingit's because of him I'm doing this. He recommended it in his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

Some recommendations: (If I could be so bold… me, bold, no...)

David Rosenfelt - writes the Andy Carpenter Series. The reader of these audiobooks is amazing, and the stories are really plausible, they make you think too. I love whodunits… and these are definitely good. The Andy Carpenter Series has 13 books - I've read 5 so far, and enjoyed each one. David also writes stand alone books, of which Don't Tell a Soul, and Down to the Wire are brilliant.

I just finished The Deepest Water, by Kate Wilhelm, and have already put Holds on several of her other works. She's worth checking out. In fact, this was such a gripping story that I listened until 3am last night - yup, I sacrificed my beauty sleep for this book and it was worth the one new wrinkle I acquired. 

Diane Chamberlain, who wrote The Escape Artist, The Good Father and The Silent Sister, which I read one after the other as I was so captivated by her writing, is another "good" read. The person reading her stories is talented with voices, easy to listen to and understand.

Which brings me to one thing about audiobooks… the voice of the reader. You either like it, or you don't. These, that I'm recommending, have been quite good, easy to understand, and some, like those that are part of a series, where the same voice reads them all, really get you into the story's character(s).

I'm a fan of M. C. Beaton's books - the Agatha Raisin Series, and the Hamish MacBeth Series. For the most part it's the same reader for each of these series and they are both bloody good. It took me a moment or two to acclimatize to the Scottish accent in the Hamish MacBeth stories, but once I got it I was off and running. (Yes, you can listen while on your treadmill too - just sayin'.)

In the Agatha Raisin Series there are about 26 books, I've listened to 17 so far. The Hamish MacBeth Series has about 31, I've only read 7, but that's because I only found out about them recently. :)

I never thought of myself as a chick lit reader - but Sophie Kinsella rocks this category with her Shopaholic Series. Her stand alone selections are funny and witty, but have an element of reality laced within the story. I've really enjoyed her storytelling talents.


There you have it… what I do with time that would otherwise be wasted - I fill it with some pretty impressive storytelling.

HOW ABOUT YOU - DO YOU LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS?

If so, when, where, what, and who? The how part I think I can figure out on my own!


Cheers, Jenny

19 comments:

  1. Hi Jenny, nice to see you here again. I considered myself a good "reader" till I read this post. I'm going to check out some of these recommendations. Cheers.

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    1. Hi Karen, long time since we've chatted - thanks for dropping by. :) :)

      Like you, I thought I was doing a good job getting in a few reads under my belt per month, but with this method, of having someone read while my hands are busy, is fantastic.

      Certainly I can't read when my brain is engaged, but for mindless things like laundry, dishes, putting on my face (a must), and the many other little things that take my hands away from holding a book, or my Kindle, the audiobook method rocks.

      If you do start with any of my suggestions, I do recommend Diane Chamberlain's books, and the one by Kate Wilhelm. I've looked at Kate's others and have put holds on several.

      That's what's so amazing about Overdrive, you link to your library (which has a digital section for audio or e-books) and select the books of your choice. Since this is a popular program at my library I do have to wait for some authors… which leads me to believe they must be good if so many others are waiting their turn to read them.

      Let me know how you make out with it… or the books. Short of Lauren Carr, who seems to be an e-book author, the others can be had as real books. Currently, I picked up Silent Sister in large print for my mother, she finished it in four days! WOW, that says something about the elements of the story.

      I hope life is treating you kindly and that your book is coming along. Hugs and Smiles, Jenny xxoo

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  2. I used to listen to them while traveling, but I haven't picked up any recent ones. I'm such a slow reader, I should give them a try again and see if I can listen faster than I read.

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    1. Hi Alex, thanks for dropping in. :)

      I'm a slow reader too. I like to savour the words and get into the story, be one with the characters. Ploughing quickly through a book has never been my style, and still isn't.

      When I first discovered the CD audiobooks I was totally excited, but it was the librarian, at my local branch, that put me onto Overdrive, and I've never looked back.

      Having the books downloaded onto my phone, via my Wi-Fi at home, means it costs me nothing. I have the books for 21 days, which is plenty of time, if I don't finish it, I can always take it out again. As the libraries only have a few (or sometimes only one) copy of an audiobook, there can be a wait for a book, hence my varied taste in them. I try to have something on hold, and waiting in the background so I'm never without a book. Most times I have 2 on my phone at any given time so I can change up as my mood changes.

      In other words, I've always got one of M.C. Beaton's books going, and then I find a great stand alone book to work in the mix.

      I think having the books read at times when my hands would be too busy to hold a book, or my Kindle, is where this method comes in well. If I'm preparing dinner (and I'm alone in the kitchen) I love having a book going. (I put my iPhone in a glass bowl to have it amplify the sound.) And, if I'm playing my handheld Nintendo game, Animal Crossing, I will also have a book on as I turn the volume down on the game. If I really need to concentrate on something in the game, I pause the book. Yup, I'm quite addicted. :)

      I hope you give audiobooks another try, in particular this app, Overdrive, which is super easy to use.

      I hope your having a wonderful summer, Alex - all the best.

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  3. I used to listen to audio books on long trips. But I haven't been on one in a long time.

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    1. Hi Susie, they're great for short trips too! :)
      It's amazing how much of a story can be taken in while sitting in the car, or on the bus, for even 15 minutes.

      A friend of mine did query as to the safety of listening to books in my car and I told her I'm much calmer when I suddenly find myself in a road block (lots of construction in my city) or in heavy traffic, having a story being read to me.

      I get tired, easily, of news which is never good, or music which isn't always of my taste, on the radio - so this is a great alternative. As well, I get to 'read' without straining my already strained eyes, now that's the real bonus. :)

      I hope you give it a try - you may find yourself enjoying that sudden run to the grocery store! hahaha

      Thanks for stopping by and taking a read - always a treat seeing you here. xo

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  4. Audio books, well Its been a while I tried those. Thanks for sharing this delightful post. Greetings!

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    1. Welcome to Pearson Report, Blogoratti - thank you for stopping by.

      I dropped by your blog and have followed it as you have some interesting posts I will want to peruse with a fresh cup of coffee.

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  5. Love audio books, and Overdrive. I'm reading Tell by Frances Itani.

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    1. Glad to read you're a fan of Overdrive, warms my cockles. (I always knew there would be a place where cockles would come in handy, this is it. "Today's the day" - which is a line out of my all-time favourite movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.)

      The book you're reading sounds interesting, just read the write-up on Goodreads. Did you read Deafening? Or can one just jump into Tell without getting the backstory on the sisters. I'm going to go look for it on Overdrive.

      Thanks for dropping by… always a treat!

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  6. I love reading Stephen King. His books are real page-turners which hold me almost to the end. But, here's my BIGGEST gripe about Mr. King. Since his books are often hideously long (usually >1,000 pages), it's like he gets bored ("Aw, eff it, I'm Stephen King. They'll buy ANYthing I write.") with the whole thing and just ends it with the antagonist being some goofy creature (that drove me crazy with "It" and "Under the Dome"). Since you may nit have read (or heard) either of them, I won't reveal what the "monsters" turned out to be. Just know that I think they're goofy.
    That said, it looks like MY book will be close to 1,000 pages, so I may be a tad hypocritical.
    Well, what do I know, anyway? I usually just read the backs of cereal boxes.

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    1. Howdy, my pal Al! So good to see you here.

      I've heard many a fan of the great SK echo your sentiments. I did rent the CD version of Lisey's Story, which by the way contained 17 CDs. I made it to 7 before I had had enough of the lacklustre reading, and the weight of gloom hanging heavy off every word. Just not a story I could get into, or, more to the point, wanted to get into.

      I've only read Carrie, and loved it, as far as his actual novels go. Bushman recommended SK's book On Writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It really gave some great insight to the workings of SK's mind, and how he puts it all together. Really worth reading for those wishing to write.

      Now, I'll be looking forward to those 1,000 words you've been weaving together. Will it be ready anytime soon? And, maybe you should do an audio version, with you as the narrator. I bet that would be epic.

      Cheers… hope life's treating you to a good one now and then!

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    2. I finished the rough draft today (108,000 words...yeegods). I plan on smoothing it (the book) the next two months or so. My goal is to "get in on the streets" OOA November 1st.

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  7. Good to see you posting again. Cool beans. Yes, back when I traveled a great deal, always with the audio books. Super fun.

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    1. Thanks Ivy, and thanks for stopping by. Would that be cool jelly beans - my favourite beans of all! :) :)

      I had checked my email when your message came in and at that time I was in the kitchen baking up a storm, listening to one of the Agatha Raisin books. Now, at the end of my day, I have finished one book and started the next.

      Seems whenever I'm using my hands, but not my ears (or head for concentrating) I am listening to a book. For me, it's been great given the hot summer. With windows open I hear the kids and neighbours, which can be annoying at times. With a story on the go I'm totally unaware of what's going on outside. It's been brilliant.

      I hope you find a way to work a good audiobook back into your routine. :) :)

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  8. Never tried audio books, and the idea doesn't appeal much. Maybe because I'm a simple man of limited brainpower :) it takes me a lot of concentration to follow a story so definitely not a good idea while driving! When I have time for books, I still want to curl up somewhere quiet and give it my whole attention.

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    1. Hi Ian,

      Before getting into the CDs, in the car, I thought the same as you - that it must be distracting. What became apparent when I started listening to stories in the car was how calm I was. No getting annoyed with traffic snarls, no agitation, nothing. In fact, I find having someone read to me is a great way to slowdown and enjoy the ride.

      Lots of folks listen to music, or talk radio, or even all-news stations. I was one of them, but found myself often agitated, and even distracted, because of the commercial, the choice of music, the topic on the talk stations. Not anymore!

      I don’t think of you as a simple man, with limited brainpower, at all! Quite the opposite, given your writing. I do agree with you about curling up and giving a book one’s whole attention. I still do that, often.

      The thing I like about this Overdrive app is I can have a book on like many folks have the radio on, or even the telly. When I’m at home, preparing dinner, cooking, etc. I have a book on the go and it’s wonderful. This might not work with a house full of family, but as a single person I find the storytelling very relaxing and calming.

      It has been a great way to “read” lots of books were I might otherwise only get to a few.

      I recommend sampling one or two through your library and see what you think.

      Thanks Ian, for stopping by, it’s always a pleasure having you visit. I hope the summer has been wonderful for you and your family. Cheers, Jenny.

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  9. I have not listened to them. I tried them once, a long, long time ago, and found them distracting. I couldn't get into the plot or book that way. I still only do the basic actual book:)

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    1. Hi Birgit, thanks for stopping by.

      I do think it matters a lot who's reading the book. If I don't like the voice there's no way I'll listen to it. But, as I said to Ian, above, it's less distracting than listening to the car radio, or even listening to the stereo/TV at home. I'm so used to it now I can't imagine my life without an audiobook on the go.

      The thing is, this isn't for everyone. I do still prefer turning pages, the feel and smell of a book can never be beat, but when my hands are busy but my head isn't I think this is the bee's knees! :) :)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it's always a treat seeing you here. I hope life's good and keeping you busy. Hugs, xxoo

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Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

I'd give you a penny for them, but alas we just snuffed it out. Yup...gone!
It's all about the nickel now...so at this rate you can leave 5 thoughts!

Cheers, Jenny

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