Sunday, July 06, 2008

TSS: What I'm Listening To

This week, I've had the pleasure of listening to the audio book of Susan Beth Pfeffer's the dead and the gone. I'd read the ARC of it earlier in the year, you can read my review of that here. It is the companion novel to Life As We Knew It a novel that I first reviewed in November of 2006. In September of 2007, I reviewed the audio book of Life As We Knew It. My interview with Susan Beth Pfeffer can be found here.

While it took more than a few tracks for me to accept the narrator's voice, to get used to it as Alex's voice, it began to work for me after a bit. It was a teeny bit jarring to have a grown man trying to do the voice of a twelve year old girl. But I got used to even that after a bit. Still I found the man's voice very deep and pleasing. Easy to listen to. Does he sound like a seventeen year old boy? No. A Latino (Puerta Rican) boy? No. But it works after you accustom yourself to it.

Listening to the book, it makes for an "in-the-moment" experience. The emotions, the feelings resonate. I'm not sure if this is because it is an audio book. Or if perhaps it's just that it's a reread.

It's always interesting to listen to a book. Especially a book you've read before. It's strange in a way how different a book can "feel" to you as you listen to it. How different things make an impression or stand out to you. That's why I always prefer to meet a book in print before I attempt to listen to it. That's probably why I don't listen to that many compared to how many I read. That plus the fact that listening slows me down. I can read faster than I can listen. But is being slowed down a bad thing? Not necessarily! It's just different.

Slower pace means more time to think, to absorb, to dwell. A faster pace makes for a more intense experience, in some ways, as far as being "thrilling" or "exciting." You want to read and read and read and read without stopping, without moving at all really. But with audio books, you can't really indulge in the same way.

Both can make the world fade away, both can make you "lose" yourself into the story. Which do YOU prefer? Why?

Do YOU have any recommendations on which books work really well on audio? I ask because I've got a few slots to fill. I signed up (rather bravely) to listen to 8 audio books for the 888 reading challenge.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Bobbi 2:23 PM  

Two books that I enjoyed listening to in audio form were: A Parchment of Leaves by Silas House and The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen.

At one point, I used to deliver newspapers in the afternoon and I listened to many books to pass the time.

jaime 7:17 PM  

I also listened to The Bone Garden and enjoyed it.

One of my favorite books on audio was The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. (I hope, I often get that last name wrong!) I also really enjoyed listening to the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events books, except for the couple around book 4 that Snicket read himself. The others were done by Tim Curry. World War Z by Max Brooks was also a really good listen, despite it being an abridged version.

Anonymous,  10:46 PM  

Hi Becky,
I just discovered your blog by accident and I'm really enjoying your posts so thanks!
I am currently listening to "Here There Be Dragons" by James Owen. The narration is done by an actor whose name I've forgotten, but he is absolutely incredible. I'm enjoying every second of it. I only listen to the story while I'm walking, and it has given me great incentive to get out and walk just so I can hear more of the tale.
Janice Robertson
janice.robertson at

Becky 11:10 PM  

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I'll have to keep them in mind. Particularly the Time Traveler's Wife as that one is on my TBR list...and also Here There Be Dragons. I loved the book on that one.

Sarah Miller 7:41 PM  

My audio faves:

The Tale of Despereaux
Charlotte's Web
Angela's Ashes
Peter Pan (read by Tim Curry)
A Year Down Yonder
King of the Mild Frontier
A Walk in the Woods (or anything Bill Bryson reads himself, really)

Somer 10:14 AM  

I've kept this post marked unread for days trying to find a time to get to it to leave a comment (commenting is blocked at work). I highly recommend Dragonrider by Cornelia Funke as an audiobook. It's read by Brendan Fraser and he does a fantastic job. He reads one of the Ink.. books, too, but I haven't listened to them. Also, my daughter and I both really enjoyed all of the Deborah Wiles audiobooks (Each Little Bird That Sings; Love, Ruby Lavender; and Aurora County All-Stars) and Rules by Cynthia Lord.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

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  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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