How Ashley got her groove back | July TBR

I’m hoping I get my groove back this month at least. Towards the end of June, I felt my groove was on its way back, so we’ll see if that continues. It may get thrown off because we’ve got a family reunion to go to, but for now I think I’m getting into a rhythm and I hope that’s reflected by my reading.

Since I’m reading Jane Eyre through Serial Reader, it’ll probably still take me a month or two before I finish it. And I’m working through the Flavia de Luce mysteries on our morning walks, so those will be ongoing as well. Does anyone have any good, light series that they’d recommend as audiobooks? I’d prefer a series with lots of books that is different from the Flavia de Luce mysteries (and that won’t have a million holds on them *cough* Harry Potter *cough*). I could see myself getting tired of the Flavia mysteries and wanting to switch off every other book.

What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!
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Welcome to a California Summer | June Wrap-Up & TBR Update

You guys. Where we’re at in California is SO HOT. We’ve been told that if you can survive July and August then you’ll make it, but I’m all like JUNE HAS BEEN UPPER 90s/LOW 100s EVERY DAY SO HOW COULD JULY AND AUGUST BE WORSE. Guess we’ll see.

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 4 (with 2 DNFs)
Books currently reading: 3

Man, I really need to get back on track with my ARCs.

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 383
TBR at the beginning of June = 460
Books added to TBR = 18
Books read/deleted from TBR = 6
Total on TBR now = 472

How did your reading go this month?

Why I Don’t Listen to Audiobooks

I’ve seen many people talk about how they love audiobooks and it helps them to read more throughout the month. Yeah, that’s great and all, but that only works for people who aren’t already using their time listening to something else like I am. I’m talking about PODCASTS.

Confession: I’m kind of addicted to podcasts? I can’t seem to stop subscribing. Even though my commute to work is literally like…less than five minutes, I turn on a podcast as soon as I get in the car. This is why I don’t have time to listen to audiobooks. I’m too busy using my 10 minutes of driving time and my 20 minutes of getting ready time a day listening to my podcasts.

What are these podcasts that are keeping me from being more productive in my daily reading? I’m so glad you asked. Here are the 8 podcasts that I listen to regularly along with a few that are more seasonal or I’m just getting into.

Podcasts That I Listen to Every Week

This American LifeI’m basic. Sue me.

Planet Money – I was an Econ undergrad, but you don’t have to be to listen to this podcast! Honestly, this is probably my fave. They have a few episodes a week that are 25 min max and they’re always SO GOOD. Super interesting/educational and also super easy to follow.

Criminal – I like true crime as long as it’s not TOO graphic and the thing I love about this podcast is that it focuses on all kinds of “crimes”. They have typical murdery type episodes, but they also had one on a streaker and the last one I listened to was about Sarah Winchester. Super interesting!

This is Love – This podcast is done by the same people and host as Criminal. I don’t like it quite as much, but I still find it pretty enjoyable.

Bookish Podcasts because I’m A Librarian

The Public Libraries Podcast – This podcast is great because it talks about various topics that public libraries deal with all the time (how to best serve the homeless population, how to get teenage boy of color interested in reading, how to teach teen parents about reading to their babies).

What Should I Read Next?¬†– I really like this podcast because Anne Bogel (the host) is really engaging when she talks about books. Some book podcasts (like the two following this one) have hosts that tend to…fangirl over books for lack of a better term. That’s a bit of a turnoff to me. I want to listen to people talk about books, but I want to listen to them talk seriously¬†about books. I don’t want to hear, “Ugh, you just have to read this book because it’s so great and…and the main characters are just so…ugh. You just have to read it.” Anne is super articulate when describing books and I appreciate that.

All the Books! – I listen to this podcast because I just want to be aware of what books are coming out and what might be popular.

Hey YA – Same as above except this one focuses on YA.

Podcasts That Are a Tad More Seasonal

Invisibilia – This podcast talks about the invisible forces that shape us. It’s a super interesting premise and I like that they kind of go all over the map. It’s not one that I would want to listen to always, though, so it’s good that it’s a little more seasonal.

Serial – If you haven’t heard of Serial, then you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years. Obviously, I thought the first season was super engaging. I only got like…2.5 episodes into season 2, though, before I got bored. Season 3 came back with a vengeance and I really liked following stories from the one court.

Found – This is a podcast based on found objects–letters, notes, flyers, receipts. Sometimes they’re actually able to track down the origins of the found objects, but other times they just discuss a broader theme based on the object. It’s made me a lot more aware of the “trash” that I might find laying around.

Revisionist History – This is Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast. I think I’ve read almost if not all of his books by now and I really enjoy them. His hosting skills are quite good as well.

New Podcasts That I’m Trying

Household Name –¬†These guys teamed up with Planet Money for an episode on Panera Cares and I really enjoyed it. It talks about brands. I’m only a couple of episodes in, but I think this could be one that I add to my weekly rotation.

Endless Thread –¬†Last Seen (below) played a preview of one of their episodes and I thought it was really well done. I think the premise is that it explores a different Reddit thread each episode? But I’ve only listened to the one, so I’m not sure about this one yet.

Podcasts That I’ve Finished

Last Seen – This podcast is about an art heist that occurred almost 30 years ago at the Gardner Museum in Boston. The art still hasn’t been recovered and the hosts detail the multiple theories that have crept up over the years.

Dirty John – This is now a television series and the story is CRAZY. It’s about this guy who cons a lady into falling in love with him and it doesn’t end well.

Dr. Death – This podcast is about a doctor who was operating in Texas but was causing all these problems and some of his patients even died. He clearly should not have been operating, but proper protocol wasn’t followed so he ended up operating on like…a ton more people than he should have.

S Town¬†– This is by the same people who do This American Life and Serial so obvi I listened to it. You think the podcast’s going to be about one thing, but then it takes a turn and you think it’s going to be about something else, but then it takes another turn and ends up being about something else entirely.

Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones? Let me know what other podcasts I should be listening to instead of audiobooks!

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HW Assignment: eBooks & Audio Books (Prompt #5)

NOTE: With this assignment, we were asked to talk about what appeal factors eBooks and audio books lack compared to physical books and what appeal factors they may have that traditional books do not.

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eBooks and audio books are becoming increasingly popular with today’s busy reader. eBooks are great for people on the go who just have a few minutes to read here and a few minutes to read there. Readers¬†are able to keep a large number of books on devices that they usually would already have with them (i.e. smart phones, tablets, or e-readers). And audio books are great for those with long commutes or those who may have jobs that allow for them to¬†be listening to something while they work.

eBooks allow for readers to change font types and sizes which can affect how a reader interacts with a book. Some books depend on font choices to set the mood of a book but that doesn’t always come across through eBooks because settings may make all books look the same to a reader. Readers will have to solely rely on the story and language used by the author to interpret the tone of the book. In addition, increasing font size may make the book’s pacing feel slower. With less words on the page, readers will be less likely to pick up on the visual cues that may come from a whole page filled with dialogue which naturally would increase the pace of the book.

On the other hand, eBooks have the advantage of privacy. Those around you are unable to see a cover. Readers have no need to fear being “judged” by those around them based on what they’re reading because others in the area simply can’t tell. It may make readers feel a little freer to read books with “embarrassing” covers or books with covers that immediately indicate that a book is from a genre that is commonly thought of as “cheap” or “lowbrow” such as Romance or Sci-Fi.

Audio books share similar advantages. People cannot see what you’re reading, so readers may start to branch out into genres that they were before too embarrassed to read. Audio books have the added bonus that people can’t read over your shoulder giving an extra layer of privacy.

Another great thing about audio books is that it’s a completely different experience from reading the book. The narrator is putting on a performance and may include voices, sound clips, or music that add to the book and help the reader to pinpoint the exact mood or tone. On the other hand, some may feel that this makes things too easy for the reader since they don’t necessarily have to figure out tone for themselves. They also do not necessarily have the freedom to let their imaginations give voices to the characters as the narrator is already doing that part.

Audio books are also limiting with regards to pacing. The reader can only go as fast as the narrator. Where a reader may have read a passage quicker in a physical book, a narrator might take their time. In addition, the voice of the narrator can make or break a book. If a reader finds the narrator’s voice or performance unsatisfactory, they are likely to put the book aside even if they would have enjoyed the story/plot.

eBooks and audio books have some advantages over physical books, but some disadvantages as well. Overall, I do not believe that any of these three types of books will be disappearing any time soon.

HELP WANTED: Audiobooks

Hello readers! I’m going to be taking a long road trip fairly soon and I get carsick if I try to read in the car (this is something that has caused me much sadness throughout my life). So I’ve decided to give audiobooks a try instead. I can’t remember the last time I listened to a book on tape, so I need YOUR help picking out what audiobook(s) to bring with me.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you can probably tell that I read a lot of YA–mostly romancey or fantasy stuff–but I am open to reading other books. What are some audiobook titles that a first timer like me should pick up? Note: I leave next week so think about titles that won’t have holds at the library.