Literary Musings

Audio Books

Blog post idea taken from “Lit Chat: Conversations Starters About Books & Life,” a book/game/ice breaker box produced by Book Riot. The question was: “Do you ever listen to audio books? Why or why not?”


It’s actually pretty funny that I’m reading and responding to this question in 2018 because I’ve read tons and tons of books in my life but I didn’t listen to my first audio book until earlier this year.

I used to always shy away from audio books because I never really liked it when people would read out loud to me unless they had just the right voice, tone, and reading speed which is hard to come by. And then I saw where people were gushing over the audio book versions of The Illuminae Files trilogy which is written in an an interesting format with online chats, interviews, and descriptions of video surveillance. I was really curious as to why so many people loved listening to someone else read them such a visual book.

And then I listened to the audio book for Illuminae, the first book in the trilogy, and I was hooked. Having it read out was actually a very good choice for the book because they hired a full cast. Each character had their own voice actor, certain characters had fun accents, and it was actually kind of easier to follow along with verbal chats and interviews than it was to read them because I could tell by hearing the voices who was speaking.

But, while that trilogy was such a hit with me that I used an Amazon credit to buy the audio book for the third book since my library didn’t have access to it at the time, I’ve tried a few other audio books since and they were both misses. One case was a book where I started the sequel to something I’d already read and the voice they used to narrate just did not fit with how I’d pictured her voice. The second was an audio book version of a Shakespeare play and everything was so messed up. Most of the accents were over the top and some characters genders were switched for no reason.

So though I definitely prefer reading I will probably keep trying audio books here and there since I did start out with a win.

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Literary Musings

Unfinished

I am having a horrible time finishing anything I’ve started writing this year. Now, I’m not surprised that this is happening in regards to my novel writing or updating my fanfiction on the sites where I post it.

When it comes to novels I usually like to write and write and kind of finish an idea but then table it for awhile. My first novel, still not yet published, was started when I was in eighth grade and then wasn’t actually “finished” until I got to college. And I’m still saying it’s not “finished” since I keep going back to read it over and finding all sorts of things to fix and I refuse to let anyone else edit it…sigh. And my trouble with fanfiction is that I finish writing it up, let it lay around for awhile because I feel like it’s actually completely finished and then I struggle to find the motivation to type it up and post it online. That’s typical of me.

What isn’t typical is the fact that I’ve started more than a half dozen fanfiction pieces, for a variety of fandoms, and haven’t finished writing up a single one. I have bits and pieces of a couple Avengers ideas, a couple Star Wars ideas, and a couple Harry Potter ideas all rolling around in various folders and notebooks and not one has more than five handwritten pages finished.

I think this is likely because I usually start out with a fairly simple idea and then it gets out of hand. I’m also blaming my dog. I used to be able to spend hours after work typing up or handwriting things and since I’ve gotten a dog the time gets taken up by walks (why pull out all my writing supplies when I’ll just have to put it down to walk the dog within the next hour or so? It’s so much easier to just hold a book or mess around on my phone while the TV is on!) and it’s additionally hard because the dog likes to snuggle. Normally this is great. Pupper cuddles can be awesome but usually what happens is that when I’m in the mood to just relax and read, he wants nothing to do with me but the minute I pull out a laptop or gather a whole bunch of supplies he decides that’s a great time to push everything out of his way and just plop down on my lap or chest.

I can only imagine how much crazier the struggle will be if and when I have kids…

Literary Musings

Returning to a Book

Blog post idea taken from “Lit Chat: Conversations Starters About Books & Life,” a book/game/ice breaker box produced by Book Riot. The question was: “Are there any specific titles you return to regularly? What makes you go back to them?”


Given that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released in America in 1998 when I was eleven, the same age as the boy wizard in the first book, I am a Harry Potter fan through and through. I literally grew up alongside Harry Potter and his friends and it was a world I got to know as well as my own. When each new book came out I would have it pre-ordered and would attempt to time my reread of the rest of the series so that I could finish the old set the day before or the day of the arrival of the newest book.

And to this day, over a decade after the last book in the series came out, I still enjoy returning to that world to “see” all of those old, familiar places and characters. Honestly, it’s been really neat to not only grow up Harry but to reread the book at different stages of my own life because with each new reread I notice new things and I identify with different parts of the story each time.

(For example…back when I first read the series Hermione Granger was my favorite character because she reminded me so much of myself with her dark hair and bookish ways and I thought she could do no wrong. Then, upon my most recent reread last year I realized that she was actually pretty annoying and did get things wrong sometimes. I still like her as a character and liked her growth but I found myself wishing we had more information about characters like Neville and Luna who are just unapolegetically themselves. I found myself thinking of Luna as my favorite and wishing I could be more like her. And I’m sure my favorites will continue to change as I grow older.)

Literary Musings

Series

Sometimes I really like a good series while other times I just want to read a standalone. What makes things especially complicated is if I start a book that’s first or second in a series and then need to wait a year or more for the next to come out. A lot of times I’ll remember enough to not have to re-read but other times, even if I love a book, I just won’t. So I’ve been telling myself not to get suckered into a new series and yet it happens again and again.

Here are a few series that I’m currently in the middle of:

  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    • After an awesome collection of novellas this series got off to a rough start for me but now I am absolutely loving it. I recently finished book four of the six books that are currently published. Fortunately the final installment is expected to come out at the end of the year so I won’t be in that realm of not remembering what was going on.
  • The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
    • I’ve read book one in the trilogy and am looking forward to reading the rest though I am grateful that it is just a trilogy. That way I know there won’t be any surprises.
  • Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich
    • Honestly I don’t think there is any end in sight in regards to this series but the books are all so easy to read and so formulaic that it doesn’t matter how long I go between each book.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
    • My fiance introduced me to the aSoIaF series nearly a decade ago and I happily consumed the books that had already been published at that point. (And by “happily” I mean that I spent a lot of time going…”Wait? He killed off that character? I thought that was a main character? Why are you making me read this?”)  Now it’s been seven years since the last book came out and there are still two more expected to be released and they have no publication date in sight. And while I enjoyed the series when I first started it, it became so convoluted and I’ve reached a point where I kind of just don’t care about the series anymore.

There are a whole handful of other series that I’m in the middle of, some of which I’ll probably reread and finish while others I just won’t be bothering with. Plus there are a whole bunch of other series that I’m trying not to start because I know they aren’t finished yet. It makes life a little complicated.

Library Life · Literary Musings

Book Disagreements

Now that I’ve been running a Teen Book Club for a little over two years, along with having a Goodreads account for years and reading reviews, etc. I’ve learned one thing about myself…although I really like that people are reading, I can get very annoyed when someone disagrees with my book related opinions. I try not to let it show though. When it comes to Goodreads I don’t really comment on anyone’s reviews or even in discussion boards. Instead, I silently seethe when people don’t “get” a book or plot point that I really like or smile when I read something that echoes exactly how I feel.

This makes preparing for and leading a book discussion very interesting. If I really like the book I finish reading it, or re-reading since I like to choose books I’m already familiar with if at all possible, quickly and then I have no trouble coming up with discussion questions. But, on the other hand, if I didn’t like the book at all I have to force myself through it and then force myself to come up with questions. And then when the day of book club comes around I either find myself really looking forward to it or completely dreading it.

(The funny thing about that though? A lot of times I end up more frustrated after book club if I liked the book than if I disliked it. That’s because a lot of times if I hate the book I question certain plot points and the teens can give me their reasons as to why they disagree with me and it leads to a good discussion. If I loved a book and they hated it I just vaguely upset if they kind of go “meh” over something I was really happy about assigning them.)

The reason these thoughts are all up in my mind is that tomorrow afternoon the book club will be discussing a book that I actually really, really liked when I first read it. And although it starts a little slow and kind of harps on a romantic entanglement at the beginning it becomes a very interesting book with a twist at the end, one that I hadn’t expected. Now the problem is that many of my teens don’t like any depictions of cutesy romance stories so I’m sincerely hoping that most got through the first bit where that’s all the main character really thinks about and let themselves get to the part where the mystery starts because I really want to talk about it with them! And I may get a little angry if nobody finished…

Literary Musings

Rereading

Blog post idea taken from “Lit Chat: Conversations Starters About Books & Life,” a book/game/ice breaker box produced by Book Riot. The question was: “Do you ever reread books? Why or why not?”


I do reread books though I probably shouldn’t do it as often as I do considering the fact that my to-be-read list gets far more books added to it each month than comes off of it.

Now, I generally have two major reasons as to why I would reread a certain novel. The first is out of sheer love for a particular title that I enjoy escaping into again and again. A lot of times I will reread these books when I’m in an especially sad or bad mood because I know it’ll get me out of my funk, or when I’m sick because they bring me back to happier times. Plus my absolute favorites (the Harry Potter series, Pride and Prejudice, and several books by Robin McKinley) have been reread so often that I’m familiar enough with them that I don’t have to put all of my attention to it. That way if I fall asleep in the middle of reading or feel feverish then I can still enjoy the story without fearing that I’ve lot track of the plot, etc.

The second type of reread is the “I started a series before it was finished and it took so long for the rest of the series to come out that now I can’t remember exactly what happened in the first book/books” type of reread.

Literary Musings

Keeping Track of Books

Blog post idea taken from “Lit Chat: Conversations Starters About Books & Life,” a book/game/ice breaker box produced by Book Riot. The question was: “How do you keep track of your reading queue? Name three books you have on your list.”


I’ve had used my Goodreads account pretty much every day since I first activated it in (*quickly logs into said account to check my profile) in 2011. I use it to keep track of books I’ve read and to keep track of books that I want to read sometime in the future and I love it. I like that it gives me a chance to rate the books I’ve read and even add a review if I’d like and then I can go through and see what my highest rated books are. This helps me to keep track of series I’ve started and decided whether or not I want to finish and it helps me to know what books I’ve read that may also work out well for the teen book club I run. I also like to read reviews of other people to get an idea of whether or not a book that sounds interesting by the blurb will actually be one that I like.

(Though some comments I see on other people’s book reviews are just downright crazy. For example- someone wrote a very well thought out review, a negative one, about a particular book that I also didn’t like. I pretty much agreed with their review 100%. Someone commented on that book review by saying “your an idiot and you should die.” Um, really?)

Before Goodreads I really can’t remember how I kept track. Probably along the lines of “see a book, read and like the blurb, so I then checked it out of the library/bought it/forgot about it.”

Three books that are on my list right now.

  1. Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas. (I loved Dangerous Girls and hope this packs a similar punch.
  2. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (I have heard so many good things about this series and it sounds like it’s right up my alley but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.)
  3. Starflight duology by Melissa Landers