My love/hate relationship with audiobooks

I love them.

I love them not.

I love them.

I love them not.

Eh…I can take take or leave them.

This is my relationship with audiobooks. This past week, I’ve been taking them, or at least one of them, like medicine.

The previous week, Jenny Lawson’s book, Broken, came in from on hold in ebook from the Free Library of Philadelphia. When I finally had a chance to read it on Monday, I suddenly realized that I wanted to listen to on audiobook…or, to be more accurate, I didn’t want to have to read it to my wife, which I had started to do because it was so funny. So I got my umpteenth Audible trial so we could listen to Jenny tell her own story.

As I type this first draft, we are listening to her and it’s good, not always funny like this chapter, which is a letter to her insurance company. But it’s all good, in its own way, if for nothing but her honesty, which can be both hilarious and heartbreaking, sometimes all at the same time.

Jenny’s memoir isn’t the first “humor” book that I’ve chosen to listen to, and enjoyed. I think among my first audiobooks were by comedians, specifically comediennes:

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey.
  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler.

My first audiobook, at least as an adult, probably wasn’t technically a book but a radio drama from the BBC of The Lord of the Rings, most of which we listened to on a trip to North Carolina years ago.

My first proper introduction to audiobooks came via Jennifer of the then blog The Literary Housewife. It was a group listen of James Bond books as read by Simon Vance, which was one of her favorite narrators. I still like Vance, and own one narrated by him: A Tale of Two Cities and another in which he is a participant of a group read: Dune. As they both are long, I have yet to get to them. Before you suggest that I listen to them on my commute to work, I’ll let you know my commute is five minutes. That said, we do have a longer car trip mid-month so maybe we’ll listen to one or the other on the way to and from.

Last year, I did listen to Vance’s narration of part of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, while walking around our neighborhood. During walks last year, I also listened to a public radio drama based on A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. It was well done, but as it was apocalyptic science fiction, in hindsight, it wasn’t the best series to listen to at the start of a pandemic (in April and May last year).

Oh, I almost forgot but would be negligent if I didn’t mention that I also listened to The Poet X as read by the author Elizabeth Acevedo. It was great.

I already know some of you listen to audiobooks and love them and you’ll try to convince me to listen to audiobooks every day or at least on weekends. While I appreciate the thought, I’m not usually good at sitting down and listening to someone read to me for hours or even listening while doing something. However, I will ask all of you, if you read audiobooks, what are the one or two that I need to put on my bucket list to listen to as I do once or twice a year? If you don’t listen to audiobooks, why not? Maybe like me, you don’t have a long commute or a long attention span. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Chilling in The Chill Out Tent again

My Own Personal Sabbath #33

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone. Throughout the day and/or sometimes the next day, I share what I am reading, listening to or watching during my Sabbath.

Tomorrow, as I have been at the end of many months during 2020, I will be in The Chill Out Tent, which is a series of live streamed events from an imagined chillout space in a virtual festival. Or as the group organizers explain:

Sunsets in Ibiza, sheep watching in Scotland, little fluffy clouds in Arizona…

Turn on…stay in… chill out…

For me, it also fits in with my goal of tuning out of news and social media for the day and can make for good background music for my reading. Tomorrow, I have a few choices to read, but I’ll probably continue with the Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri. I am up to No. 10, August Heat, and have No. 11, The Wings of the Sphinx, already on my Kindle ready to go when I’m finished with August Heat.

Sunday

9:20 AM

I am writing this in a car wash, listening to a BBC Radio 4 podcast In Our Time. It was recommended to me by a fellow blogger and Sunday Saloner, Susan of the blog The Cue Card. This episode is on Marcus Aurelius.

Before I chill out this afternoon in the tent, I had to get out this morning to prepare for this afternoon. After this car wash, I am off to the grocery store for snacks for the party later. Also early this afternoon, I am going to grab a bottle of wine to quaff while chilling.

So until later, when I update you more…

11 AM

3 PM

After church, I went to the wine and spirits shoppe for wine and now I’m in the tent. I’m not reading as planned because the visuals are stunning here in the tent…and also the wine, let’s be honest. In addition to music, there also are videos to accompany the music.

9 PM

Finally reading, with Seamus on my lap. August Heat, the 10th Inspector Montalbano, by Andrea Camilleri. 

What are your plans for the weekend? Do they involve reading? If so, what are you reading? If not, what are you doing otherwise? I’m

Revisiting, Revising, Recommending

Revisiting

Wherein I try to re-explain my previous post on an expiring book on my Kindle.

Last week I lamented my receiving a notification on an app that the ebook I was reading on my Kindle was expiring. Many of you offered advice on how I could keep the ebook, especially turning off my wifi or the airplane mode on. While I appreciate the advice, which was valid, I really wasn’t seeking it. Instead, I meant the post to be a joking rant about notifications pressuring me for this, that, or the other thing – and not just letting me go about my business.

I also didn’t mean to denigrate the Libby app which I enjoy and which also allows patrons to suspend a hold to be delivered later. I use that feature regularly.

Revising

Wherein I reconsider what I am doing for Lent.

As I mentioned Wednesday, I started Lent with a day off from work during which my wife and I attended an online Ash Wednesday service at the Washington National Cathedral. I also then mentioned that I was giving up alcohol, which I’m still doing during the 40 days, and reading a couple of books. However, instead, I’ve decided to keep it fairly simple with the following:

Recommending

Wherein I receive some recommendations for short uplifting podcasts from followers on Instagram that I now pass on to you. Your mileage may vary.

Recently, I asked my followers on Instagram for recommendation for short, uplifting podcasts. I asked for “maybe meditative, poetry, book-related, no politics, no news, please.” Here are the ones they mentioned:

And here are a couple that I discovered:

As for this weekend, yesterday I worked at the library and then a friend and I played board games online last night. Today I’m planning on reading, continuing with the next Inspector Montalbano, August Heat, by Andrea Camilleri.

What are you up to this weekend? Reading, watching, listening to anything good this weekend? Any podcasts you recommend? Please share in the comments.

Ending the month with music

This weekend I am off “concert hopping,” sort of like bar hopping but with musical events. Tonight I am going to a concert in Japan…

Filmed at the historic Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan, in September of 2017, this historic performance has never before been released worldwide.  January 30th, 2021 marks the first official release from Dream Theater’s ‘Images, Words & Beyond’ tour, featuring a live performance of the classic album, ‘Images & Words’, captured in its entirety during their September 11th, 2017 appearance in Tokyo. 

…and then tomorrow afternoon, I’m off to England, Scotland, Los Angeles, and again Japan for some curated deejay sets. I’ll also be appreciating clouds.

Full details here.

What are you up to this weekend? Have you partaken of any of the virtual concert or theater performances over the last year? Or do you have you any upcoming events you’ll be attending? Let me know in the comments.