READING HABITS

Reading Habits: Audiobooks by Chakriya Phal

wicked deep audiobook-0667.jpg

The first trimester of my pregnancy saw me losing interest in activities I normally loved. I never got morning sickness but the mere thought of reading a book made me nauseous and I pretty much laid in bed binge watching Gilmore Girls. By the time the third trimester came I was feeling better but developed carpal tunnel so bad that holding a book (or my kindle) while wearing a wrist brace was near impossible. Had I known about audiobooks my reading life wouldn't have suffered so much.

I didn't start listening to audiobooks until sometime last year. My first jab at it was checking out a cd set from the library. This only allowed me to listen while I was driving so it wasn't a life changer but the book I chose, Wedding Night by Sophia Kinsella, was so ridiculous, it was entertaining. I wanted to get in the car and drive till I finished. That said, only when I found out that the library had a collection of e-audiobooks via Overdrive did audiobooks became a staple in my life.  

Audiobooks made cleaning the house more enjoyable. It made nursing a newborn easier without the need to juggle a physical book and possibly dropping it on the baby (that only happened once). It made me look forward to long distance travel and sitting in front of a computer editing images for hours. Often times, I'll have the physical book and the audiobook so that I can keep listening to the story while I work. Most often, the audiobook will enhance my reading experience (sometimes nothing can save a book). Take Lincoln in The Bardo, for example. All those dialects and accents read by different narrators really brought the book to life. Sometimes, if I can't get into a book I'll check out the audiobook and see if that makes a difference. I'll do that too if there are characters or places I have no idea how to pronounce in my head. Audiobooks also reminds me of the good times in elementary school when my teachers would read aloud while we follow along using our bookmarks as a guide. If you haven't given audiobooks a try, here are some recommendations:

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 11.33.15 AM.png

Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows: Don't let the title scare you off, this isn't Fifty Shades. Full of humor and warmth, I couldn't help but root for the women in this story. While intersperse with erotic stories written by the widows, it is much more complex digging into Sikh culture, immigration (in this case living in London), and traditional male and female gender roles.  The story was wonderfully enhanced by the narrators' performance, the Punjabi accent was done well. 

A side note: I don't like when female narrators growling the male characters' voices. This happens in nearly every audiobook and I had to look past that in this book. This is why I can't do romance novels in audio form. I find it hysterical and can't stop laughing. Luckily there’s more women than men in this novel.

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 11.35.09 AM.png

News Of The World: A recommendation from Anne of What Should I Read Next, I picked this up and quickly finished it in a day. Set after the Civil War, Captain Kidd is a  seventy-one year old vet riding around the American Southwest reading newspapers to his paid audience. Given a $50 gold piece to deliver a young girl to her family, they must travel through dangerous territories, struggle with language and cultural barriers (she was captured by Native Americans and raised in the tribe), and wrestle with a moral dilemma. The characters are developed beautifully, the male narrator sounded like the right age, and the story was mesmerizing.

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 11.37.32 AM.png

The Wicked Deep: I love an atmospheric tale with a bit of mystery. I was delighted by the island setting, the fog, the witches singing and most importantly, the story. While many complained of the narrator’s melancholy voice, I found it to be fitting for a story that has a somber undertone, almost like being entranced by a siren. If the voice makes you sleepy play it at 1.25x or 1.5x but trust me, this is a good one.

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 11.36.52 AM.png

The War That Saved My Life & The War I Finally Won: This triumphant story is so good, I want the physical copies in my personal library like yesterday. For a story written for Middle Grade readers, the characters are impressively rich. There is so much to unpack and talk about. I want to give the author a big hug for not underestimating the emotional competence and intelligence of both the children in the book and those reading it. There are some tough issues addressed in particular, the impact of war, anxiety, and child abuse. Brubaker Bradley does a magnificent job in discussing these issues gracefully while also giving us a sense of hope and perseverance. The afterwords in the second book brought me to tears.