In Review

Now that last semester is just a memory and the next looms ahead, I thought I would take some time and reflect on the assigned titles from my Young Adult Literature course. Going in to this class, I never thought it would be possible to read all of the books. 45 books in 13 weeks seemed pretty steep… averaging titles every week! In the past, I’ve considered myself productive if I read three books every three months! 11,080 pages later, I can say that I finished all of them. As I’ve mentioned before, if it wasn’t for audiobooks, I’d probably still be reading. Overdrive Media Console and Audible both have nifty features that allow for much faster playback speed, so that 14 hour audiobook can suddenly be trimmed down to 7 hours!

For those of you thinking: “How in the world could you understand all of that?” It’s just like speed reading. It takes practice, I had to work my way up to 2x speed. Some of the comprehension is lost if you’re not entirely focused on what’s being read to you, but after 4 months, I can’t listen to anything slower because it seems to drag on and on. My comprehension has increased greatly too. Looking back at all of the books I finished from August to December astounds me, not just books from my class, but also titles from my personal library. I’m talking 40+ in addition to the reading list! If I’m able to keep up this rate, perhaps I’ll be able to make a much more significant dent in my shelf in 2014.

So here we go! The class reading list:

1. Perks of Being a Wallflower
2. A Midsummer’s Nightmare
3. Tilt
4. Death Note
5. Black
6. A Child Called It
7. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children
8. The Prom Book
9. Pure
10. This is Not a Test
11. What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?
12. The Final Four
13. Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different
14. Caring is Creepy
15. Flowers in the Attic
16. I Hunt Killers
17. Gorgeous
18. My Friend Dahmer
19. Diary of Creepy-ass Dolls
20. Pushing The Limits
21. Lone Wolf
22. Wake
23. Heist Society
24. Juvenile in Justice
25. Something Like Normal
26. Soulless
27. Pretty Girl 13
28. Shadoweyes
29. Drowning Instinct
30. Coldest Winter Ever
31. Lullaby
32. Heist Society: Uncommon Criminals
33. Fat Angie
34. Eleanor & Park
35. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Seven of the titles were either graphic novels or visual books, which I obviously couldn’t get in audio format. 20 of the titles I was able to find in audiobooks, borrowed from Overdrive, the library or Audible.

Pure, Flowers in the Attic, Wake and Lullaby, Soulless, Fat Angie, and Beautiful Music for Ugly Children stood out as some that I greatly enjoyed. In fact, I’m waiting for holds to come in for the remaining two titles after Wake and Lullaby in the Watersong Series, which is about a girl that is tricked into becoming a siren. Pure has two more books following it too, which is right up my post-apocalyptic alley. Fat Angie was adorable — and I got to meet and have a conversation with the author e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, who is awesome, btw. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children was uplifting, despite its bullying theme. And Flowers in the Attic is just such a classic, come on!

I’m really impressed with my ability to get through all these titles. Typically, my mind bucks against assigned readings, but I’m thinking this may be a new chapter in my life. With that in mind, I think it’s time for some changes for this blog. Look forward to the next entry when I decide to blow the dust off and shake things up a bit.

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Audiobibliophile

Since obtaining my library card just over two weeks ago, I have “read” three books and I find myself ravenously scouring Overdrive to find more and more. Never had I considered audiobooks as valuable as I do now.

Previously, I had looked at audiobooks and scoffed, mainly at the price. Why purchase 6 – 8 discs of audio for upwards of $30 or $40 when I could purchase the physical copy of the same book for less than $15 (in most cases)?  I simply regarded the products as premium editions that I chose not to afford. With my history of reading books no more than once, I knew I would get more for my money by simply buying more physical books than audio books. 

After my move, I now have a 30 minute drive to and from work, giving me an hour of prime listening time — what a fool I’ve been! Now I look forward to driving so I can get through as many chapters tracks as I can. Audiobooks have certainly changed the way I read, and I’m taking this knowledge and using it as a strong medicine to help knock out much of this booksickness. 

I’ve listened to audiobooks in the past and remember experiencing a very similar feeling. Shelf-reading during my college years working in the library is how I was able to get through most of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, as well as The Stand… But at that time, I checked out audiobooks, ripped the MP3 tracks to my computer, and then returned the discs the following day. I still don’t quite understand what my rush was. Perhaps a sense that I still needed to HAVE something in my possession, similar to collecting my books, is what drove me to saving the audiobooks to my computer. In any case, though I may be one of the last out of the tunnel, I have seen the light. I hear the heavenly chorus of narrators and their words, like hymns, take me to my own realm of euphoria.

~

I still stand by what I’ve always advocated in the past, and I make a point to bring up to booksellers and librarians alike: publishers should produce an edition of the printed book that also contains its audiobook and ebook counterparts. Perhaps as codes to be redeemed through apps such as iTunes or Overdrive. In any case, I think that prospect would go over quite well. 

Since I’ve been trucking through these titles rather quickly, please pardon the slightly out of date Book List page. I’ve placed holds on the audiobook versions of the books I am currently reading… at least the ones I could find. This Sickness may shrink drastically if I keep up this dosage!