Lucy's Book Mark

The Glory of Audiobooks with OverDrive

I had never really listened to audiobooks. They always took too long to finish and I inevitable got stuck with late fees when I failed to return the discs on time. I liked the idea of listen to them on long car or plane rides but it always seemed highly probable that I’d lose at least one of the disks somewhere along the way.  But recent life changes and the convenience of Overdrive have won me over.

I recently brought a puppy into my life, which means, in the short term, I don’t have as much free, quiet time to read. I also spend a large amount of time following her around waiting for her to do her “business”. Also, due to multiply nightly bathroom breaks (the puppy not me) I am a bit sleep deprived; reading has become a bit a challenge.

Overdrive Audiobooks to the rescue! No messing with multiple discs. No discs at all! Everything downloads straight to my smart phone and is returned automatically. No late fees! Thousands of choices!

I’ve found I really dig hearing books read with an English accent. Standouts are John Wyndham’s sci-fi classic The Day of the Triffids, read by Alex Jennings, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, read by Martin Freeman, (who played Arthur Dent in the 2005 film) and pretty much anything written and read by Neil Gaiman, including American Gods, Neverwhere, and his latest, Trigger Warning. Correction: American Gods is actually performed here by a full cast.  Although he does read the introduction.


Neil Gaiman even makes “bad Neil Gaiman” sound amazing!


I’ve also found that anything read by Michael Kramer is great, particularly his readings of Nic Pizzolatto’s hard-boiled crime novel Galveston and Jack London’s classic, Call of the Wild. Kramer's voice is particularly impressive on Galveston, if you turn up the bass on your sound system you can vibrate pictures off the walls! Even with the playback sped up (see below) it's still impressively gravelly.




I’ve also been listening to some books read by the author including Nick “Ron Swanson” Offerman’s Paddle Your Own Canoe (I'd listen to Offerman read the phone book; it'd be captivating), Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hangin Out Without Me?, Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat, and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. In most cases these are being read by the author which is neat since they perform their works in a style much different than how I read the books originally.


Overdrive even has a nifty feature that allows you to speed up the recording. Of course, too fast and everything sounds like it’s being read by Alvin and the Chipmunks. But at 1.25X the difference is barely noticeable. I really found this feature helpful when getting through slower parts of the story or sections that I probably would have skimmed when reading.

The Wisconsin Digital Library currently has nearly 14, 000 E-Audiobooks to choose from so if nothing I mentioned sounded compelling, a can guarantee there is something out there for you!


Arthur C. Clarke Award

Emily St. John Mandel, author of "Station Eleven" has won the Arthur C. Clarke award, recognizing the best in Science Fiction.  The book was also finalist for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner, as well as being on multiple best books of the year lists including Entertainment Weekly’s which selected it as their #1 pick.  Readers who enjoyed "Station Eleven"  may also like these read alike titles:


Wayward Pines

One of my favorite reads of 2014 was the Wayward Pines series by Blake Crouch. I discovered this via a customer who asked me to place a Hold for the second book in the series. She commented how unsettled the book had made her; how messed up it was; how twisted; she looked shaken. So, I thought to myself, "Well, I have to read that!"

The story follows an FBI agent who, while on assignment searching for two missing agents, wakes up in the idyllic town of Wayward Pines after a mysterious car accident. The town seems perfect. The people: perfect. Too perfect. He soon discovers that he cannot leave and that things are not as they seem.

Are things ever what they seem!?

It is really impossible to talk about the series any further without spoiling the various twists and turns (Holy Moley! Are the twists and turns!) but I will say that the moment I finished the series I knew I would read it again. I also thought, "This could be a really awesome movie or TV show."  Crouch creates builds an unsettling world of mystery, horror, and paranoia.  The 10-episode TV series, helmed by M. Night Shyamalan, is premiering on Fox this week and while Shyamalan's attachedment to the adaptation had me worried, judging by the previews, it looks like he has captured Crouch's tone (which Crouch really cribbed from David Lynch and Twin Peaks) perfectly.  I really hope this series is successful so that we get the rest of the series, Wayward and The Last Town. Stuff gets crazy!

If you like genre-bending thrillers, they don't really get more effective than this.



Ruth Rendell

No Man's Nightingale by Ruth Rendell
Author Ruth Rendell, who also wrote under the pen name Barbara Vine recently passed away.  She was known for her dark, pointed and intellectual psychological thrillers.  She is the author of the Inspector Reginald Wexford mysteries (the most recent "No Man's Nightingale")  Her next book is scheduled for December, "Dark Corners."  As Barbara Vine, she wrote recent titles such as "The Child's Child," and "The Birthday Present."  NoveList recommends these read-alike authors:  Patricia Highsmith, Minette Walters and Elizabeth George.

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