Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Audiobook Recommendations.....?

I feel like several aspects in my life are beginning to collide....

I will be hitting the half-century mark come December(thanks for catching that error JoAnn!!), and while I truly believe that you are only as old as you feel (and I feel about a decade younger)....but body is beginning to notice the effects of gravity and old age. Somehow my favorite pair of jeans are a tad too snug, and I am beginning to feel 'frumpy'

I am also finding that contrary to my popular belief that as the children got older (and moved out of the house), I would have gads of free time, that is simply not the case. This is due in part to the 6 classes that I teach and the prep and grading time that involves. While I do lots of reading, I am not reading books of my personal choosing.

Last spring I realized that I could take advantage of driving time (that is, the 45 minutes basically "wasted" in the car going to and from school) to listen to audio books of my choosing. It took me a while to find the "right" audio book, as I am most definitely a visual learner and need a GREAT narrator to keep me focused on the story. The Harry Potter series fit the bill.

I think I am now ready to expand my horizons - and perhaps at the same time diminish my middle. Trish is hosting the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge in which I would like to participate. I am not sure that I could manage the 100 miles between October 1 and December 31, but I would love to begin an exercise routine that I can actually stick with. There seems to many of you out there in the blogosphere who plan to take part --- and you also plan to get lots of "reading" done by listening to audio books while you walk around town or on the treadmill. I am seeking your advice.

I have read and re-read the website. I am nearly ready to try the trial membership of $7.50 a month for the first three months. I just want to ensure that the first 3 books I select are going to be a good fit for me. Do you have any recommendations? I have heard that it is often best to listen to an audio book as it is read by the author --- do you find this true? Which authors would you recommend? I also know that some narrators have a great reputation for providing a dramatic flair. Are there particular narrators that you look for? Finally, for those of you who have a subscription to, do you find that it is easy to download from the website and upload to your mp3 player? I have an iPod (which I rarely use), so I am hoping that this is a fairly easy, pain-free process.

I thank you in advance for any tips you can offer me.

I'll let you know if I follow through with any of these "end of the year" resolutions.


  1. Molly - the "century" mark??? You must be feeling *really* old today! I'll be back later with some audio recommendations - lol!

  2. I have been a member of Audible for years. I joined at the 24 credits a year level because the books then cost under $10. But I listen to a lot of books.

    For my recommendations of recent books, look on my blog (check the labels for Audiobook or Thursday Tea).

    My suggestion at Audible is to read the reviews and pay attention to the star ratings. They are a good guideline and much more accurate than the customer ratings of print books at Amazon or B&N.

    I've listened to hundreds of books over the last decade or so, so if you have a question, pop me an email and I might be able to give you an opinion.

  3. I enjoy audio books. Some great ones have been:

    The Art of Racing in the Rain; Stein

    The Commoner; Schwartz

    Olive Kittridge;

    The Help; Stockett

    Alex and Me; Pepperberg (NF)

    Unaccustommed Earth; Lahari

    I could go on and on...LOL

  4. I started listening to audio books a few years ago when I won "The Nanny Diaries" from a radio station. I've been listening when I drive, walk, knit, clean the house ever since. I used to buy them wherever I could find them cheap - the discount section of bookstores, BJ's, ebay, etc. A year or so ago our county library system started a digital library. You can download anything you could possibly want and all you need is a library card. Before you invest a lot check with your library. Even if they don't have the digital system they probably have a large assortment of books on cd which you can transfer to your ipod.

    Audio books are a treadmill's best friend. I'd never get on it without one. As to what I listen to, whatever strikes me at the moment. I've done classics, mysteries, humor, nonfiction. I did all four Twilights in a row. Talk about your teenager overload.

    I think that nonfiction is best read by the author. They know what they meant. Fiction has some great readers. They can really affect your enjoyment of the book. Luckily I've only run into one or two that were downright dull. If you did Harry Potter you know that Jim Dale made the whole thing. Without him it wouldn't have been the same.

  5. I agree with Sue's suggestion of checking the library. Most libraries have their catalogue online now so it's easy to check if the book is in audio from home. I've also noticed that almost all of the popular books are on audio now so, if a book is recommended and it appeals to you, check for it in audio.

    I hope you'll share your findings on this subject. I like what Beth Fish Reads does when she "reads" an audio. She lets us know if it's an audio and I keep track of the ones I want to check out.

  6. I'm fairly new to audiobooks, but I will recommend 2 that I've loved - Little Pink House by Jeff Benedict and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt.

  7. Well, as you may know, I am an audio addict. So just watch my'll get at least one audio book a week on my blog, sometimes more. Here are some that pop in my mind, but could probably come up with a bigger list if I had to:

    The Help
    The School of Essential Ingredients
    The Guernsey Literary et al
    The Glass Castle
    Shadow of the Wind
    Any of the Harry Potters
    The Thirteenth Tale
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter/Sweet
    Child 44

  8. These are the audiobooks that I have loved:

    The People of the Book
    Water For Elephants
    Life of Pi
    A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

    The Art of Racing in the Rain was pretty good too.

  9. I just listened to A Mercy and it was wonderful. It's read by Morrison and the time really flew by while listening to it.

  10. Ok Molly, my dear. I'm going to make this really easy and break it down. 100 miles sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. Since working out for 15 minutes = 1 mile, the challenge is really 25 hours of working out. In three months! So that's less than 10 hours a month. Like 2 hours a week. Does that help? For some reason looking at it in time rather than miles makes it easier.

    Now, if you can run/walk faster than a 15 minute mile, then it's even less time than that! LOL--not trying to pull your leg, just showing you it really isn't that hard. :) :) :) :) Haha!

    As for audio--I don't know. I've got to listen to major pump-me-up music when working out.

  11. I love audiobooks - I can't imagine not listening to something in audio for a little while every day (and to think, this time last year I was of the "no, I don't do the audiobook thing" persuasion!). Many of Beth Fish Reads' reviews are of audiobooks, so she's a great resource when it comes to audio. She got me hooked on the Chris Grabenstein Ceepak mystery series, which are only available through Audible - Tilt-a-Whirl is the first one, and it is just so good!

    I do a lot of my re-reads on audio. And I can't listen to anything that is too graphic (in print, I can flip quickly past those bits, but it's hard to do that with an audiobook!)

    I also get a lot of audiobooks through my library. In addition to CDs, they also have an iPod program.

    It's VERY easy to get the audiobooks from Audible onto your iPod. You download their software, and it's automatic every time you buy a book from them and download it - iTunes will pop open. A word of warning, though - I went from the trial membership to one credit a month, and didn't realize that some months I was purchasing an audiobook that actually cost LESS than the cost of my monthly credit! I've since upgraded to two credits a month, so it's less likely to happen, but I also make sure that I use my credits on the more expensive selections :)

  12. Wish I could help, but I am slightly audiobook-phobic, which I need to get over. You have my total sympathy with the half-century thing. It hurts, but it's survivable 'cause I'm still here...I think. Good luck, Molly! Maybe I should give this one a try...

  13. I"m sorry I have no recommendations! But good luck with your goals. ;)

  14. I'm so glad you're joining the fitness challenge! Don't have fear of failure (as you wrote on my blog post), I responded "this is like Outward Bound for book bloggers; we're all here to support each other"

    I listen to audiobooks on the treadmill, and loved BEAT THE REAPER. I just gave up on WORK HARD BE NICE which I thought I would enjoy (history of the KIPP program and lots about Teach for America and alternatives to traditional education) ... will keep you in mind if I think of any other must listens!


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