Monthly Recommendations: Audiobooks

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Audiobooks are tricky for me. I know there are some people that listen to multiple audiobooks a month at double speed, but I am way too picky for that. If I’m listening to an audiobook, it’s mostly for the experience so I need it to be engaging and interesting enough for me to continue listening on my own time. I am lucky to have a very short commute to work every day, so most of my audiobook and podcast listening occurs when I’m at home doing chores (and I’m a bit lazy). At the moment I’m obsessed with The Adventure Zone podcast, a D&D playthrough, so I am not currently listening to an audiobook.

Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group created by Kayla Rayne and Trina from Between Chapters, and obviously this month’s topic is audiobooks. The following are the audiobooks I have listened to and adored, as well as a couple I plan to listen to in the future.

 

C U R R E N T   F A V E S

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (BBC Radio 4) | I absolutely love both of these authors and was obsessed with this book in high school. I listened to the BBC Radio show to see if it held up, and it didn’t matter anymore because the cast is fantastic. It’s been a minute since I’ve listened to this one, but the fact that it includes a cast of characters, sound effects, and music was fantastic.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris | This is a recommendation for anything by David Sedaris, really. He has a dry voice which works perfectly with his dry, humorous essays. Here’s an example of a story about his French class attempting to explain Easter to a Moroccan student in their limited French. My words can’t do him justice, so just listen to that clip to get the full effect. His narration brings his stories to life and I can’t read his physical books anymore without hearing his voice.

The Diviners by Libba Bray | Oooh this audiobook, man. It’s narrated by January LaVoy who gives every single character their own unique voice in a way that sometimes I would forget it was all the same narrator. The story takes place in 1920’s New York City with a diverse cast of characters, and I found myself using 20’s slang and accents while I was listening to this one

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | I’m not gonna lie, I picked this one up solely because I heard it was narrated by Christian Coulson, who I found out was the kid who played Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets. Such a cutie. And his voice worked perfectly for Monty.

 

P R E D I C T E D   L O V E S

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman | I tried listening to one of Neil Gaiman’s short story collections and got too busy to finish it. While I’ll probably go back to it eventually, I’ve been interested in mythology and Neil Gaimain also narrates this book. His book is so gravelly and nice and I love it.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher | I started this one last year and got too busy again, but here is another audiobook narrated by Carrie Fisher. The hour I listened to was extremely interesting, but pretty sad every time you remember it’s the last book she wrote before she and her mother died. I’m saving this one for a memoir day.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein (BBC Radio Drama) | Who would’ve thunk, it’s another BBC Radio Dramatization! I just love the in depth productions, particularly for these epic fantasy stories. I’ve been in a Lord of the Rings kick lately, and would love to re-read The Hobbit in a new way because I’ve been wanting to actually finish the trilogy. As a kid I read to about halfway through the Return of the King.

 

So there you have it! I hope you’ve discovered some audiobooks that piqued your interest and if you see any of your favorites please let me know! As always, any recommendations you may have are gladly accepted.

 

Book Blog Newbie Tag

I’m back! It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything. Oops! June is the busiest month and probably not the best time for a new blog. I have two weddings, my mom’s 50th birthday party, and a major cabin trip with friends. I literally have no weekends free until July. Is this what adulthood feels like? At any rate, I found this tag on hatterell’s blog. And on to the questions!

Why did you start this blog?

I would like to join the book community! I was in a major years-long reading slump and just last year discovered this amazing community. I’m falling back in love with reading and I’m trying to push myself into talking about it. Not very many of my irl friends read the same books I do, so here I am.

What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging?

My adorable cats! …I’m only partially joking. I hope to bring a fresh perspective on some amazing books, or at least to spread the love of reading and share my favorite books to my fellow bookworms

What are you most excited about for this new blog?

I am excited to build my corner of the internet. I have eventual personal plans (mostly dreams at this point) that I would like to work out on this blog. I’m also pumped to share my bookish art projects eventually!

Why do you love reading?

Why don’t I love reading? I love escaping and learning about people through reading.

What challenges about starting a book blog do you think will be the hardest to overcome?

Ugh, staying on schedule is definitely it. I’m trying to post at least once a week for now, but eventually I would like to set up a regular schedule and post on consistent days each week.

When did you start reading?

When I left the womb. My mother was always a huge reader and my father was the best storyteller. My dad had all the best voices and the best jokes. Most of the time he was too tired from his jobs to give us the full effect, but dad story night was the best night and that definitely shaped my love of reading.

Where do you read?

I don’t have a specific reading spot, but my favorite is to read in new places. I love to travel in the summer and I always have a book with me. Be prepared for some book/lake shots on Twitter! (I’m trying to do this whole social media thing)

What kind of books do you like to read?

Since I’ve been getting back into reading, this has changed quite a bit. My favorite genre will always be fantasy, it’s the closest to my heart. I’ve been trying to read more sci fi and I always end up reading raunchy romance instead. I also have the occcasional horror or thriller burst and do read the rare contemporary here and there. I have a soft spot for flowery language and genre-bending. If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know!

That’s it for the tag, but thank you for reading! I’m always welcome to any feedback or constructive criticism. Have a great day!

Sunday Spotlight: “Bregalad’s Song”

O Orofarnë, Lassemista, Carnimírië!
O rowan fair, upon your hair how white the blossom lay!
O rowan mine, I saw you shine upon a summer’s day,
Your rind so bright, your leaves so light, your voice so cool and soft:
Upon your head how golden-red the crown you bore aloft!
O rowan dead, upon your head your hair is dry and grey;
Your crown is spilled, your voice is stilled for ever and a day.
O Orofarnë, Lassemista, Carnimírië!

–Bregalad the ent to Merry and Pippin, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (explanation, performance)

Birthday Book Haul

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T H E   H A U L

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Stardust and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman |I found these absolutely stunning covers on Book Outlet and knew I had to have them. I haven’t read any Gaiman since high school, but Stardust is still one of my favorite books/movies of all time. This is one of the few movies that I can rewatch constantly and I am, in fact, watching it right now. I don’t quite remember Neverwhere, but these covers are still fantastic. They’re very 70’s mass-market fantasy cover and I’m living for it. Here is some more info from Gaiman’s blog.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones | This book/movie was one of my favorites as a kid and I remember loving the whimsical, fantastical writing style. I’ve been re-reading all my old favorites lately (Harry Potter, the Tortall series, etc.) and this one has made the list, so I can see how it’s held up since it is another movie that I can rewatch constantly and never get bored. Also, my cat’s name is Calcifer. I may eventually purchase the last two books in the series, but again, this one happened to be super cheap on Book Outlet.

Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki | The trend so far is books that remind me of young Sarah, and this one is not an exception. In high school, I was obsessed with Memoirs of a Geisha, the book, and the movie. I even did a major project in my history class about the history of geisha as a result. Since then, I learned about some inaccuracies and fabrications and have been wanting to pick this up for a while. Mineko Iwasaki is the woman that Arthur Golden interviewed for his book, but she was upset with his portrayal and so this book was produced. I’m super excited to read it.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore |If you like/are interested in magical realism in YA, this is your girl. I read her book When the Moon Was Ours last year, then promptly read her first book, then ordered this one. She weaves beautiful stories about family and love and growth with diverse characters and poetic imagery.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe | I was looking up road trip books one day (I had a craving) and stumbled upon this recommendation, then eventually realized the title of this book was in the lyrics of this song:

If I have to be honest, that’s the main reason I bought this book when I saw it in my favorite used bookstore. I may read it this October when my husband and I rent a van in California to road trip to a couple music festivals.

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A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle | My most amazing, beautiful, wonderful, generous best friend in the whole wide world gifted this copy to me for my birthday. We’ve fallen in love with the Folio Society editions of books, but they’re pretty pricey so I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Of course my best blob came through.

Legendary Ladies by Ann Shen | My other bestie gifted this one to me. It’s a collection of goddesses in different cultures and contains the most beautiful art. I’m pretty pumped to see what’s in it.

Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest | Kate Tempest is an amazing poet/musician/writer/artist in general. This collection is paired with her album of the same name and the song above is one of the tracks. It’s definitely worth a listen, but beware because you’ll become super jaded.

erotic poems by e. e. cummings | This one I bought for the story. My husband was with me at my favorite bookstore and asked me if the author’s name was a joke. The title combined with the poet does seem made up, I’ll give him that.

The Pleasures of the Damned by Charles Bukowski | Lastly, I broke down and bought a Bukowski poetry collection. I know, I know, he’s a misogynistic asshole. I liked his poetry in college and hey, he’s not alive to take my money so at least I’m not supporting a total asswipe of a human being. Thanks, Book Outlet!

I N   C O N C L U S I O N

I had a very successful birthday month! Only two of these were actual gifts, the rest were gifts to myself because I’m worth it.

June TBR

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PSA: This TBR list is subject to change drastically. This is my first month setting a TBR for myself and who knows how it will go.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | (ebook, not pictured) This one I have already read and will review it in my wrap up later this month! I read it because of Chelsea from Chelseadollingreads on BookTube, check her out.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | I started this one a few days ago. I’m not a big fan of YA comtemporary novels, but thought I would make an exception for the new John Green. I was a huge vlogbrothers fan back in the day, and loved his books in high school. I bought it right when it came out, so I need to read it before it’s no longer relevant.

The Diviners by Libba Bray | I started this one last month on audiobook, I just happen to have a physical copy as well. It’s absolutely fantastic, it just takes me a while to finish audiobooks sometimes. Last I checked, I have 4 hours left and I need to just finish it and get to the next one.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett | This one may be replaced with any fantasy book, I’ve been in a fantasy mood lately. This one in particular is part of the Tiffany Aching series, which is Pratchett’s YA Discworld books. This is the book I read in high school that started my interested in Pratchett.

Pansy by Andrea Gibson | I bought this book a few months ago when Andrea Gibson was going to be in my city, but I never got to make it to her book signing. I’m familiar with her spoken word on Youtube, but I’ve never picked up any of her collections before and I’ve been in a poetry mood lately.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | I just bought this book as a birthday gift to myself last month (haul blog post coming soon). I’m obsessed with McLemore and am so excited to read this one. I need more magical realism recommendations because I can’t get enough. I know it’s not for everyone, but flowery words are my jam. McLemore writes a lot about family and love and lgbtq+ characters and it’s always beautiful. I actually don’t know what this one is about, but that’s not a big deal to me.

Deadly Class (#1-4) by Rick Remender | Honestly, I don’t know much about this series. My best friend let me borrow all her Rick Remender graphic novels and I’ve only read Strange Girl so far. I know this one is about an assassin high school, so we’ll see how it goes.

I N   C O N C L U S I O N

Let’s see how this month goes! After all that, I’m already thinking I may DNF Turtles and skip to something I’m more excited about reading. After my Tamora Pierce month I just want to read more fantasy.

May Wrap Up

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May review pie chart

I had a pretty decent reading month in May, all things considering. I’m recovering from a major reading slump and after slowly getting though Misery, I decided to continue my read-through of Tamora Pierce, which was basically nostalgia-juice and got me back on track.

Misery by Stephen King | ★★★☆☆ | Ehhhhhhhh. I keep going back and forth on my opinion about Stephen King. Yes, this book was suspenseful and made me feel many emotions. Around the second half of the book, I couldn’t put this down. On the other hand, every King book I’ve ever read has pacing issues and I struggle to stay focused and actually read at certain points. Also weird sex stuff. I probably would have loved this a hell of a lot more when I was in high school and adored King, so I rate this 3 out of 5 severed appendages for nostalgia.

Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4) by Tamora Pierce | ★★★★★ | This was a lovely conclusion to the Song of the Lioness series, Pierce’s first series in the Tortall universe. As a kid, I was only able to read the Tortall books that my library had available, and I had never finished this particular set of books before. Even though some things are spoiled in later books, I loved reading about Alanna and felt really empowered throughout her journeys. The third and fourth books have some adult themes, so that may have been why I couldn’t find them back then. Regardless, even now I feel like I could learn to sword fight the patriarchy.

Wild Magic and Wolf-Speaker (Immortals #1 & 2) by Tamora Pierce | ★★★★★ & ★★★★☆ | Right after finishing Lioness Rampant, I went straight to the Immortals series. This was the series I re-read constantly when I was young. Daine was my goddamn hero. As a kid, I definitely wrote what I now know is fanfiction about Daine and her animal friends. However, I totally get why some people don’t like this particular series in the Tortall universe. I can see the pacing issues and the characters weren’t as relatable and real as I remember. At some points, Daine is treated much older or much younger than she really is and there is definitely one icky moment where (as a 12-year-old) she is sexualized by one of the teenage boys. It was taken care of in the story, but it’s definitely an unecessary moment that probably wouldn’t have been published if it came out in 2018. Despite that, I still love this series and Tamora Pierce for shaping my childhood and fueling my love for fantasy. Eventually, I will do a full review when I have finished re-reading (and reading some books for the first time) the entire series as it stands.

The Humans by Matt Haig | ★★★★★ | This is a new favorite for me and deserved its own blog post. See my full review here.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 3 by Bill Willingham | ★★★★☆ | Surprisingly, I only read one graphic novel all month. Fables is my comic crack, though. I’m slowly collecting all the volumes in the Deluxe Edition and volume 4 is waiting for me. I can’t review this without spoiling the entire series, but I read these when I was in high school and have been enjoying going back through. This is one that was obviously written by a man, though. As a childfree and pro-choice woman, this scene came off as condescending and forced as Dr. Swineheart is trying to talk to Snow about alternative options when she is clearly not okay mentally or physically with her pregnancy:

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I N   C O N C L U S I O N

It was a very productive month, even if it was flooded with Tamora Pierce books. I re-read a lot of books, but sometimes when you’re slumping or having a bad time you just need to re-read old favorites. Next month I may take a break from Tamora Pierce and continue my read/re-read of Terry Pratchett instead. Let me know your thoughts on the books I read this month!