For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Monday, October 8, 2018

my monday musings: adventures in audiobook-ing



For those of that have followed this blog for a while – you know that I’ve struggled with audiobooks but keep trying anyway.

Everyone is always praising the multitasking advantages but I can’t really multitask while listening. I lose the thread too easily and I don’t do anything long enough that would give me the time to really sink into a story. Folding laundry – 5 minutes, Vacuuming – 5 minutes. And I read super fast! I can read a book in 4-6 hours so the 8+hours of an audiobook – when I can only listen about 2 hours per day – is super frustrating to me. It takes me weeks to finish a book that way.

But I do drive for a few hours each morning and now that we have (slightly) cooler mornings, I’ve been trying to get a walk in and audiobooks are great for that.

And I mentioned in a previous post that I now have access to the Libby app through my library and I do LOVE that. Searching and checking out a book is super easy. There are plenty of ways to organize and adjust your reading experience.

It’s been a struggle but here’s how I’m doing so far!

Attempt #1

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I had read and enjoyed several biographies by comedians on audio years ago, so I thought this was the best place to start. There's now plot and comedians are funny so...

But alas, Amy didn’t work for me. She was very funny but since she’s reading all her jokes they come off kind of stilted. She also goes off on unrelated tangents before coming back to whatever the chapter is supposed to be about so that was annoying. It sort of feels like kicking a puppy saying that I didn’t like her narration - but I didn’t and just let the book expire instead of finishing.

Attempt #2

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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

This went a bit better than Amy’s. Mindy is funny and is better at making her narration sound more conversational with the reader than reading off a teleprompter. I laughed  - but when my borrow time expired, I didn’t renew it.

Attempt #3

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Royally Endowed by Emma Chase 

Next, I thought maybe I would try a romance by a favorite author. Possibly a re-read but on audio this time. Something funny though.

I wanted Sustained by Emma Chase because that’s one of my favorites but it wasn’t available at my library. Royally Endowed (Royally #3) by Chase was though. I had read the first book in this series and this one had great reviews so I borrowed it.

Revoke my woman card...

Royally Endowed had dual narration. Logan was narrated by Shane East – who’s voice is described as *panty melting hot* on Goodreads but eek…I did not like him at all. Logan is a brooding, British royal security guard, so the deep anguished voice works when he’s on the job but he used the same bland/intense tone for everything. He treats every scenario with the same intensity. Like, I felt if he ever went to the bathroom he would narrate it as a national security threat 🤣 I actually laughed out loud during my walk when he was describing sex (I think it was a masturbation scene) with such intensity. Then Ellie – the girl he is protecting – is supposed to be free spirited and fun but came off whiny with a weird high pitched voice.

And this is when I realized I’m very picky about narration. I don’t like a lot of inflection or *acting out* the story. And I really hate when women’s voices are pitched really high and squeaky or low and breathy, or when men’s are super low and gravelly.

This is clearly just a me thing…since everyone else was in a swoon over this one & west's voice but I can’t take an entire audiobook that sounds like James Bond talking. Too serious for me! lol

Attempt #3 Success!


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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

I had avoided The Kiss Quotient during it’s hype phase because it didn't sound like my cup of tea – I’m not always a fan of innocent virginal types with domineering, experienced, and in this case, a professional escort, lovers teaching the art of sex. It always feels a little off balance to me but I thought it might work on audio and it
did!

I adored Carly Robins narration of both Stella and Michael – as well as Michael’s family. She kept the tone even but with enough personality to fall in love with the characters and the ability tell the difference between each one.

I got so into this one that I ended up sitting on my couch listening to it all day just so I could finish.
As for the story itself, it wasn’t a 5 star – best book of 2018 – for me (I gave it 3.5 stars - Stella has Asperger's and I felt like there was a magical orgasm cures all vibe and Michael was over-the top with issues later in the 2nd half of the book. First half was AWESOME) but it gave me hope on the audio front.

*Also - I butt returned this one (like butt dialing) with only 1 hour to go! I almost had a breakdown but was able to borrow it right back and it was right where I left off. Whew!

Attempt #4


25969605I’m currently trying UF by listening to White Hot by Ilona Andrews. I have the paperback but haven’t gotten to it yet so I think I’m going to try swapping back and forth to see how that goes for me. The audio is 12 hours long and I just can’t go at that pace and take 2 weeks to finish something I could read in an afternoon in paperback.

But the narration by Renee Raudman isn’t bad (although I think I zoned out for 1/2 a chapter somewhere lol

I’m also on hold for Sadie by Courtney Summers – that’s another book that I have a physical copy for. I’ve heard that the plot involves a podcast – so that might be fun to listen to on audio but be able to finish quicker with the paperback.

So, basically…the saga continues. It’s still not my preferred format to read but I think audiobooks might work for certain books that I wouldn’t read otherwise.

48 comments:

  1. I love the idea of audiobooks but struggle with them too. And I'm also super picky about narration and cannot stand most of them. I've borrowed so many through my library and turned them off after like 60 seconds because I just could not do it.

    I'm laughing that you were laughing at the masturbation scene. That's never a good sign lol. Glad you managed to find one that you liked though!

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    1. And I was in a park walking when I cracked up out loud. I got a few looks lol

      It wasn't even the sex itself - just the way he was describing it. Like he was going to die from masturbating lol

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  2. Quote: "I can’t take an entire audiobook that sounds like James Bond talking."
    LOL.

    It must be frustrating when it takes you days to do something that you ordinarily would do in hours!

    Of course, I don't have an opinion about audiobooks (it would be too much of a struggle for me to follow one in English), but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't work for me either. I'm a very visual, page-turning person, so I can't see me paying enough attention to something that's only in my ears.

    And which was the book that you accidentally butt-returned? 🤣

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    1. Yes, it just seems like a waste of time for me. I can see if I had a long commute but it's so much faster for me to just read the book.

      I would end up reading 2 books per month instead of 10-13 if I only did audio.

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  3. Do you speed up the audio? I usually listen at 1.5x so it doesn't take quite as long. I tend to stick to nonficton and memoirs and rereads. Glad you found one that worked!!!

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    1. Yes. I listen at 1.5 too.

      I think I'll get used to it but will listen more to books that I wouldn't normally read or was iffy about because I'm too impatient to take 8+ to read something I'm excited about lol

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  4. Wait hold up, did you say it takes you five minutes to fold laundry?????

    I'm a fan of the acting in audiobooks so I don't think my recommendations will help. I'm happy that the Kiss Quotient audio worked for you even if the hype was a little flat.

    I have Sadie audio too and the production is amazing. I put it down because I wasn't in the mood for something dark.

    And I second what Grace said, have you adjusted the speed?

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    1. lol Usually. I try to get in a load per day and with just Kevin & I it's not too big of a deal. At least not anything that would make a big chunk in an audiobook.

      I haven't been in the mood for dark either - that's why I'm thinking the audio might work in my case for Sadie.

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    2. I spent an hour doing laundry yesterday. ONE FULL HOUR.

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  5. I keep trying to listen to audiobooks, but they just aren't working for me. I really like podcasts, but those are shorter and easier to listen to for me so I want the weather to cool down so I can take walks and listen to more of those. I think I read faster than I listen too, so that kind of annoys me as well. LOL I'm glad you're finding that some books work well on audio for you though!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I'm fine with and enjoy podcasts. I don't know why but I find the audiobooks frustrating. It just slows everything waaaaay down for me.

      I am listening to And I Darken right now and that's going really well! Which is interesting because I can't usually read fantasy - I get bored. So maybe that's a good genre for me to try on audio.

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  6. No, not just you. I too have a problem with the voice tones you describe. Just one of the many reasons I don't do audiobooks which I find put me to sleep no matter the subject matter or who is narrating. With so many of my friends, fellow book bloggers enjoying them, I was beginning to think I was the only one who wasn't a fan.

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    1. I thought romances might be better for me but yikes! I have a hard time because of the weird tones they use for the different sexes.

      I'm getting better with it but I would still rather just read the thing in a few hours lol

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  7. Great post! Actively listening to audiobooks is a learned skill, and not everyone can do it! I have a post today asking folks to share their stories - I'd love for your input!

    Narrators totally make the story! I am at the point where I can listen to a mediocre narrator, but I tend to judge the book more harshly. I do a lot of adjustment to the listening speed to help me enjoy the story better, too. Good luck!

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    1. The voices (especially when they're *acting it out*) really distract me. I like to imagine things for myself but I'm getting there! lol

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  8. You are getting better * fingers crossed*

    But lol, butt dialed it back! You crack me up

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    1. I don't think I'll ever LOVE or prefer it but yes, I'm getting better lol

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  9. My record for audio memoirs/biographies is so much better than fiction. Try Amy Schumer's, I'm not a fan of her comedy but her memoir is really good. Very poignant and a lot of touching/moving anecdotes.

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    1. I'll try it! I'm listening to Roxanne Gy right now and that's going well!

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  10. Oh no! I love audiobooks but I've never listened to a biography either. I usually listen to audiobooks when I don't think I would read the book any other way. Maybe you'll have better luck next time! XD

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    1. That's something I'm trying right now. I'm dealing a fantasy - And I Darken - which I can never get though and enjoying it! So maybe that will be what works for me.

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  11. I was a work in progress getting into audios, too. I enjoyed your description of your journey here. It looks very familiar to my own trial and error.

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    1. It's not a complete bust so that's promising lol

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  12. I too struggle with audio books. I find that take longer to finish an audiobook than I would a e-book. I have listened to three so far which were not bad, but my current listen the narrator's voice for the MC is annoying.

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    1. Same! I can't stand taking 1-3 weeks when I could normally finish in an afternoon.

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  13. It took me AWHILE before I liked audiobooks to be honest. I had issues with almost all male narrators, then a few female ones. Once I found a few I liked I got used to those and binge listened to a series. If the narration speed is too slow I'd say increase it a bit, most of my listens are at x1.2 - x1.5 speed.

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    1. I have a hard time when narrators pitch too high or too low . I'd rather they just use their natural tone.

      I listen at 1.25 most of the time. I'm reading a fantasy that I had to slow down to 1.0 and a collection of essay's that I've been able to bump up to 1.5
      I'm getting there. lol

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  14. You’re not alone. I also struggle with audiobooks. I get distracted, lose the plot, and have to back up. If I ever go back to having a long commute on public transportation, I’ll try audiobooks again. It’s easier to concentrate if I’m not doing anything.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I can't do ANYTHING else lol

      Even driving - all of a sudden I notice every tree, every traffic light & lose track lol

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  15. I am really happy that you were able to finally get some success out of audiobooks. They definitely aren't for everyone. I can listen to them at work, so I can easily get a few audiobooks in every week especially now that I am caught up on all the podcasts I like to listen to. But I have enjoyed audiobooks since I was a teen so I have never had issues with them. If I feel I will struggle with a book (like getting into it) then I will grab it in audio format.

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    1. I used to have a long commute years ago and listened to biographies a lot. I got distracted but it's not to big of a deal with that genre.

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  16. I admire you for keeping trying! I have the same problem with audio and have given up twice- I'm pretty much done haha. Although if I had to drive long distances for work again I might reconsider. And lol about the narration- I think a narrator's trying to be all dramatic or whatever would make me laugh if anything!

    Glad The Kiss Quotient worked though, and hopefully White Hot will as well. :)

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    1. I'm listening to a fantasy right now and that's really working for me! Which is weird because I can't typically *read* fantasy. I drift off with all the descriptions but it's working for me with audio.

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  17. I like the idea of having a shelf or two of my favourite books on audio cd so I can lie in bed and listen if I get sick! I don't have a lot of time for this format and they can be pretty expensive which is why I only have Harry Potter, It, The Hunger Games Trilogy, the first Morganville Vampires and first two Game of Thrones!

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    1. I wanted to try a few re-reads on audio but so far I haven't found them on audio. At least not at my library.

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  18. I feel like audiobooks wouldn't work for me, I get way too distracted. Plus I love the act of actually READING and would miss it.

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    1. Me tooooo! I love physically reading. And I do it so much faster but I wanted something for when I'm driving or walking.

      I'm finding out that it's an actual skill that you have to learn lol

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  19. Good for you for continually trying! And yay for there being one in there which worked well for you :D I have to admit that I audiobooks don't work for me either which is a shame because I think I would be able to read a lot more. But then at the same time, I can't be bothered to try extra hard like you are doing either. So I think I've made my peace with it.

    My recent post: https://oliviascatastrophe.com/2018/10/september-wrap-up/

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    1. I've grown to enjoy podcasts so I was hoping that would translate to audiobooks. I love music but I wanted some variety when I walk/drive.

      I'm finding I'm picky but there are a few that are working for me.

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  20. I have a hard time with audiobooks, too. I find the only time I listen to them is when I'm driving. I usually tend to stick with autobiographies since I don't feel like I'm losing the flow of the story line by stopping in the middle of a chapter. However, I have been enjoying The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon on audio for a few months now. It helped me get through our move and all the 3 hr drives I was doing back and forth when we were house hunting.

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    1. I can listen when driving but unfortunately I don't drive much anymore so it makes reading a book take FOREVER. lol

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  21. I wasn't crazy about the Amy Poehler audio either. Everyone seems to love it but I was just "eh" and I really don't care for dual narration in romances. When Dimple Met Rishi had the dual narration and I kept saying "Who IS this?" when they reversed roles because the guy was narrating the girls bits and she his and it kept throwing me out of the story. I'm glad you found one that worked for you though! I don't know what I'd do without audios. I also speed them up to 1.25 speed to get through them a little faster. Sometimes 1.5 if it doesn't sound to wonky.

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    1. Oh yay! I'm not a horrible person lol

      And yes that's one of my issues with the dual narration. There's the man and the woman but then they do each other's voices within their pov and my brain explodes lol

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  22. I listen to audiobooks all the time. I find contemporaries work best for me, though I did listen (and loved) Bossypants by Tina Fey. I adore Fey, and her narration was great. I didn't listen to that Emma Chase book, but I did listen to Tangled, and Sebastian York was incredible! He can talk to me forever. That is so tragic what happened with TKQ! I enjoyed the audiobook very much. I hope you get to finish the book, because it was fabulous.

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    1. I thought contemporary would be what works for me but it doesn't. I'm listening to a fantasy right now - And I Darken and I'm enjoying it. And I can't usually read fantasy.

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  23. I keep trying audiobooks and have found that I can just about follow 100% while driving. Sadly, I don't have a car anymore (until the new year) so, oh well.
    I think I'm super picky about narrators too. They seem to always annoy me and the boxset I was working through before my car died was especially painful because of the narrator...

    That said, I'm tempted to listen to the kid's Heroes of Olympus books. I was going read them but don't have time and I keep catching snippits of the audio when he listens and I get hooked. They might work for me, lol.

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    1. I can only listen while driving and walking and I only do both about an hour a day so it makes finishing a book take way too long for me.

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  24. Audiobooks is the only thing I am doing now because I'm tired to read. I sometimes go back and for between the audio and the print too. Audio allow you to "read" more and faster. I hope you do enjoy them. :)

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