Well, I am typing this post on my returned laptop. I received an email last night at 9:03 saying that my computer was ready for pick-up. Of course, they closed at 9:00pm, so I had to wait until after school today to pick it up. Apparently they could find nothing wrong. The computer started right up for them --- they ran all diagnostic tests ---nothing. Now don't get me wrong --- I am absolutely thrilled that the computer is fine and all files are in tact. BUT...I did not make up that blue screen and the dreaded words "No operating system found" --- so who knows what went wrong. I will be sure to back up all files tonight, just in case.
So, that is my blessing. A working laptop in time for the 24 hour read-a-thon (can I tell you how very excited I am for this event?!). I need to organize an excel spreadsheet to keep track of book stats (yes, I am nerdy like that) -- and I will be ready to go.
I managed to finish Inkspell this week --- and I am not kidding when I say "managed to finish." I was so disappointed in this 2nd book after thoroughly enjoying Inkheart. This book just didn't do it for me, and it took me forever to get through the last 150 pages. I have tried to analyze why this book does not resonate with me, and I think there are a couple of reasons. First of all, the language is not nearly as beautiful; and I have discovered that I truly love words. This book is action oriented -- and I am learning that I am more drawn to books that focus on character development. The first book did a lovely job of developing the main characters in such an eloquent way. I found that the 2nd book relied on the characterization from book one -- really didn't add much to that -- and instead focused on the action of the story -- which seems to go on --- and on --- and on. In my humble opinion the book could have been half the length and I would have enjoyed it more.
I think the 2nd reason why I enjoyed the first book is because the setting of the story took place here on earth: Mo read characters into our world. The 2nd book takes place within the book's setting -- complete with fairies and brownies and little glass men. I am trying to appreciate fantasy fiction -- I really am. But I think I enjoy a book with just a bit of fantastical elements, rather than a huge focus on that realm. Now perhaps as I read more fantasy and learn to appreciate it better, this book would not be such a struggle for me. But at this point in my reading career, I would rather pass. I do not plan to read the 3rd book in the trilogy, Inkdeath, for quite some time --- although I will probably re-read Inkheart several times.
So you have heard the blessing and the disappointment. What is the breakthrough? I have listened to my first audio book (the entire book) and absolutely positively LOVED the experience!! I have tried listenting to audiobooks in the past, but it has always been such a struggle. I am a very visual learner --and my previous attempts with audiobooks have proved fruitless and frustrating. I would have to concentrate so hard to follow the story, that I would be absolutely exhausted within 20 minutes (not a good state of mind when driving in rush hour traffic on the highway). About a month ago I was reading my blogroll and JoAnn was raving about an audiobook she had just finished. I am not exactly sure what she said, but a lightbulb went off and I thought "I have been listening to the wrong books!" I need to listen to books that are "meant" to be read aloud. The first genre that came to mind was Fairy Tales -- and then immediately after that I thought "perhaps this would be the perfect time to try Harry Potter!" (yes, I am probably one of the lone people on this planet who have not read the books nor watched the movies --- you know, it is that fantasy fiction genre again that I have always avoided before).
I borrowed the first book from the library and began listening. I was immediately taken with Jim Dale's voices -- his dramatic reading -- the distinct personalities he draws out of each character -- and I simply could not stop listening. I found myself creating errands to run just so I could listen to the book. At times I simply laughed out loud -- at other times I was amazed at the mature themes that JK Rowling develops through this simple "children's" story. I am totally taken in by this series - and the audio format in which to enjoy them.
I have already borrowed the 2nd audiobook from the library and have listened to the first disc. I am thrilled to have this option for the read-a-thon to give my ole eyes a break. I am thrilled to have discovered that I don't have a faulty screw loose in my processing, but rather, I just need a particular kind of audiobook. Seeing how I have 6 more books -- and thousands of pages - to listen to until I finish the Harry Potter series, I think I am set for a while.
So how about you? Do you enjoy audiobooks? If so, do you recommend a particularly good series that might be good for a "visual" learner like myself? I would love to hear your feedback.