I don't make it a secret around here that I am a lover of books and reading. 2015 wasn't my best year for reading, and at the rate I'm going in 2016, I'll have read more books by March than I did in all of last year. And you know, that's okay. Sometimes that's the way it goes. But with all this reading I've been thinking about several book-related things lately.
First, can we take a moment to appreciate libraries? Libraries are so great! Free books! All you have to do is go get them! Or download them to your device. I've been thinking about this because someone recently asked me in surprise if the book I was reading was a library book. It was indeed. She also commented that she hadn't seen a library book in a long time, and she should take advantage of her local library. I couldn't agree more. I love libraries as much as I love book stores, if not more. I spent so much time in the library in college, it was like my second home. It was always quiet, always afforded me a place to study, read, research, or work out whatever academic problem I needed to work out. The library meant work, but it also meant peace. And quiet. Did I mention the quiet? Ain't no hush like a library hush.
Second, my local library always has books for sale. The funds raised go to support Friends of the Library. This means that often when I go to check out or return a book, I come home with several more, usually priced between $.50-$1 a pop. I just can't say no to books, and I really can't say no to that kind of a bargain. The home of my dreams has an enormous library with a fireplace and cozy chairs and rolling ladders that I triumphantly swing from like Belle as I select my next choice. Truly, we have too many books for our current space. Which reminds me, I should donate some to the library so someone else can buy them for super cheap and enjoy them!
Third, I keep happening on old Nancy Drew books. Remember these?!
When I spot them for sale at the library I just can't resist. I have so many fond memories of devouring these in the little upstairs bedroom in my grandmother's little yellow cape house. They stoked my pre-teen imagination and and penchant for looking for mysteries and surprises everywhere I went. I was convinced there were secret staircases around every corner, and I coveted a hollow book for hoarding treasures. (That may in part have been Claudia Kishi's fault, because mostly I wanted to hide candy in it, such were the extent of my grammar school secrets.)
At any rate, I look forward to revisiting some of these classic mysteries this year. I hope they hold up!
Fourth, and what I really want to discuss today: AUDIOBOOKS!
I love a good audiobook, as it's entertaining and also feels like cheat-reading: I can read a book while driving or taking a walk or working out, without putting anyone's life in danger! But I also admit I'm a bit picky about audiobooks, because if the voice doesn't fit it can really ruin the experience. I'm looking at you, Game of Thrones narrator who couldn't pronounce Catelyn Stark consistently (it felt personal, okay?).
So anyway, I just realized I have a few Audible credits to burn. Suddenly I feel spoiled for choice and like decisions must be made! I've already settled on The Martian, as I've heard from several people that not only is it a wonderful book, but the audiobook makes it even better. I've also heard that the super science-y bits can be a bit dry and overwhelming on paper, so having someone read them to me sounds like a much better option. More compelling. Especially for leisure reading. History and/or super science-y things are sometimes easier for me to fully absorb when they're told as a story (one of the reasons I cite for minoring in history is a professor my Freshman year who made history come to life by telling stories). I think of it as the difference between listening to a podcast vs reading its transcript.
All of which brings me to: What's the best audio book you've read lately? What are your classic audiobook favorites?
I'll go first.
I always recommend the Harry Potter series in audiobook format. I love the print books, too; the audiobooks are just a totally different and equally as lovely an experience. The voices and characters are so well done, and even if you've already read the books they are riveting. It's the best combination of reading the books and watching the movies: they're brought to life, but nothing is left out.
I also recommend listening to audiobooks that are read by their authors, especially memoirs of people in comedy. I have listened to both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's recent books, and having them read it to me felt almost like sitting down together, having a chat over coffee.
And finally, an audiobook I really enjoyed recently was The Royal We. I had also read the book on paper, but couldn't resist hearing it read aloud as well.
Fun fact: it's read by Christine Lakin, who played Al on Step by Step.
So there you have it! Those are mine. What are yours?