Friday, December 28, 2012

An Audiobook Resolution

My 2012 New Year's resolution was simple, read one audiobook every month. I've dabbled in audiobooks since starting my career in librarianship, but I needed a push to step outside my routine. Audiobooks weren't part of my regular schedule, so I needed to learn how to make time to listen. I'd read Read on... Audiobooks by Joyce Saricks, an excellent guide to the variety of narrators, genres and styles available at the Recommendations Desk, but I needed to learn what I liked to listen to.

Overall, I'd call this experiment as success. I wouldn't think of setting out on a long trip without an audiobook or two (CD for the car, OverDrive downloadable for a plane). If I have a headache or insomnia, curling up in bed with a quieter audiobook is perfect. The right narrator improves the experience: the jokes are funnier, the scary bits are more terrifying, and the characters come alive.

More than anything, I'd recommend you try setting a reading resolution for 2013, and maybe pick up an audiobook! If you were wondering what I've listened to, keep reading for my list.

Cinder written by Marissa Meyer, narrated by Rebecca Soler
A science-fiction retelling of Cinderella with cyborgs? Sign me up! The book itself didn't quite live up to my expectations, but it also didn't discourage me from trying more audiobooks. It's also possible that I was a little annoyed to find out that this was only the first book in a series. 

State of Wonder written by Ann Patchett, narrated by Hope Davis
I'd had this on my To Read list since writing the Ann Patchett Read Alikes post, and it didn't disappoint. I passed some relaxing evenings with this book and a cup of tea. There were a few discs that were scratched to the point of annoyance, but I mentioned it to a coworker when I returned the disc and we got it cleaned up.

The Cinderella Deal written by Jennifer Crusie, narrated by Susan Boyce
I generally love Jennifer Crusie (and was on a romance/chick lit kick at the time), but I learned that listening to a narrator reading a steamy love scene aloud is far more embarrassing than reading it in the quiet of my own head.

The Scorpio Races written by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham
I adored this book. I loved the story, the characters, and especially the narrators. I'd thought it might be confusing to have multiple narrators voicing the same characters, but because the chapters alternate perspective with the narrators, it worked very well. And okay, I'll admit it. I developed a bit of a crush on Steve West's voice. I even attempted to listen to him read The Grand Design by Steven Hawking.

Lock and Key written by Sarah Dessen, narrated by Rebecca Soler
I may not have loved Cinder, but I did enjoy Rebecca Soler's narration, add in my enjoyment of Sarah Dessen's writing, and this was a winner. Ruby's journey from fiercely independent and somewhat destructive to someone with family and hope for the future was definitely compelling.

Heartsick written by Chelsea Cain, narrated by Carolyn McCormick
I don't know what I was thinking. I don't like to watch horror movies. I tend not to read scary books. I'm one of those people who would only watch Criminal Minds with my hands over my eyes. I think I almost drove off the road listening to the serial killer describe how she tortured her victims. Ms. Cain wrote a suspenseful story, and Ms. McCormick is a skilled narrator, but I was not the right reader to fully appreciate their work.

Ready Player One written by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton
I'd checked out the print book, but hadn't gotten past the first chapter before it was due back to the library again (the peril of being surrounded by more good books than you have time to read). Then Andrew wrote his glowing review which includes the fact that Wil Wheaton was the narrator, and I had it on my hold list again. Did not regret that.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy written by Margot Livesey, narrated by Davina Porter
Davina Porter is one of my favorite narrators (someday I will listen to the second half of Outlander), and Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. The escape to cold, rainy Scotland was great in the middle of hot, dry August.

Beauty Queens written by Libba Bray, narrated by Libba Bray
This was my first foray into downloadable audiobooks; an iPod is much easier to carry on an airplane than a box of 14 cds. The story starts with a plane crash, which I found hilarious. In fact Ms. Bray's narration (including a wide range of voices to distinguish the very large cast) kept me laughing my entire vacation.

First Grave on the Right written by Darynda Jones, narrated by Lorelei King
Another downloadable for my vacation. This was a perfect mix of humor, action, and steamy romance. It's dark, but still fun. I will definitely be checking out the second book in the series. I'm leaving out the cover art because I find it bland.

For the Win written by Cory Doctorow, narrated by George Newbern
This book was a trick. I was expecting something along the lines of Ready Player One, and yeah, there was action and video games, but there was also a lot of information about economics. However, it turned out to be the perfect companion on a weekend when I put a few hundred miles on my car. I'm not sure everyone appreciated my desire to talk about credit default swaps.

The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, narrated by Jennifer Ehle
I picked this series up in audiobook form at the suggestion of a coworker. Technically I haven't finished the book yet, but I will this weekend! This is definitely a fun example of steampunk, and it doesn't hurt that the narrator is also the actress who played Elizabeth in the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries!


  1. Great resolution! I love audiobooks. I'm almost exclusively a downloader -- no scratched CDs for me.
    I couldn't agree more with your review of The Scorpio Races! I have a huge audiobook crush on Steve West! I follow him on Facebook now, so I can find out what else he's narrating.

  2. I'm glad I'm not alone in crushing on Steve West's voice! You are so, so right about the scratches. "Clockwork Angel" had a huge skip at a very dramatic point. Argh! Can you recommend any favorite audio books that I should definitely pick up in 2013?