Tag Archives: audiobooks

Rereading years later

A somewhat embarrassing confession:  I’ve never read Don Quixote in English.  In college, I read it in Spanish for a literature class.  I would not classify that as reading for pleasure, although I could appreciate it and deconstruct enough for discussion in class.  Since then, nope.  Actually, until I picked up a remaindered copy at B&N, I never owned a copy in English, although I’ve still got the Spanish one in a box of old college texts*.  I keep picking it up and putting it down.  It’s too big to carry comfortably as my commute read; let’s ignore the fact that I could just download a copy from Gutenberg or elsewhere for a nominal amount.

While browsing audiobooks at the library, I had the brilliant idea to listen to it.  Except I’m finding that my patience is pretty low.  Part of the problem is the narrator, whose voice and characterizations for different characters I don’t really care for.  But it is also the book itself.  While I can still appreciate the literary and historical allusions and the context in which it was written, I’m just not engaged by the first part.  I know that it’s basically a parody of contemporary romances and that the second part will be more to my taste.  But Don Quixote is delusional and he’s inflicting his madness on everyone around him, taking advantage of people of lesser status and intelligence, and imposing on them, and just wandering away from disaster he has wrought on others.  I’m struggling to keep listening.

*I probably ought to haul that box out of storage and either recycle or donate the books.

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Audiobook: Broken Homes

A while back I canceled my monthly subscription to Audible.  I really liked the service and think it was valuable, but I’d reached the point where I had a bunch of very long books to listen to and accumulating credits that I had no idea how to spend.  I still haven’t listened to all the backlog (hello, Juliet Stevenson, whose dulcet voice could sell me anything, even Emma, the Austen book I like least, and Middlemarch — 35 hours!) but I really wanted to hear the audio version of Broken Homes.

Why?  Because I think the narrator of the audio series, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, actually makes the audio versions better than the written versions.  (Okay, maybe it’s that being distracted by terrible copy editing is less likely from the audio versions, too.)

Anyway, I downloaded a copy of Broken Homes last week and am letting myself listen to it one chapter at a time.  I kind of wonder if my reaction at the end of reading the book the first time would have been the same if I’d listened first instead.  We shall see.

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Reading over the long weekend

Books I read or tried to read over the holiday weekend:

  • The Reluctant Wag by Mary Costello – Australian-set category, brief write up posted right after I finished.
  • Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen — mystery set in south Florida.  This book was not quite cozy, more quirky or odd or weird.  I kind of like weird sometimes, but it was entirely too slow develop.  After 150 pages, it felt like the whodunit hadn’t progressed much.  
  • Two Star Trek series books, one TNG and one Titan, were DNF.  I can appreciate them as being carefully written to fit into the franchise but the Red Shirts seem even more obvious in the books than in the tv episodes.  I pulled them from the read/toss pile after reading this post on the new Star Trek movie as a cultural indictment.  I haven’t seen it so I can’t offer my own perspective, but I will admit to being perplexed to the idea of a Star Trek series produced by someone who thought the original was “too philosophical.” 

I’ve been trying to download an ARC of a Michael Nava book from Net Galley but the site doesn’t like my password.  Or the substitute password it sent to me.  And it won’t email it to my Kindle.

Maybe I’ll try to read something from Anne Stuart or Georgette Heyer — their books are next on the keep/toss pile.

Books I pre-ordered or put on my wishlist:

  1. Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews (July 31)
  2. Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik (August 12)
  3. American Savage by Dan Savage (May 28)
  4. A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage 

On the audiobook front, although I have several languishing unheard, I’ve mostly been listening to Frank Turner (in anticipation of his show at Rams Head next week) and Fall Out Boy (perfect length for the elliptical at the gym), mixed with random chapters from Aaronovitch’s Whispers Under Ground (I love this audiobook) and Bujold’s Paladin of Souls.

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Audiobook narrators

The problem with changing narrators of audiobooks within a series is the possibility that they won’t pronounce proper nouns consistently across books.

As much as I’m enjoying Paladin of Souls, the female narrator (which makes sense since the POV character is a woman) has a very different accent than the man who narrated The Curse of Chalion.  And their pronunciation of some vowels is different. For example, “Teidez” is not pronounced the same across the two audiobooks.  And the “y” sound, consistently an “ee” sound in TCoC and in most places in PoS, changes to the “i” in “ice” for the name Arhys for some reason.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure TCoC’s narrator pronounced Chalionese proper names consistently with the dictionary provided by Bujold, so…

I need to remind myself:  STOP QUIBBLING AND NITPICKING!  Just enjoy the book.


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New audiobooks for me

New audiobooks I’ve downloaded or want:

Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun by Paul Barrett.  Several of my colleagues are unabashed gun collectors, and truly believe that as a single woman I should have a gun for protection.  More than one gun actually.  I grew up around guns used for hunting but not handguns, so I’m leery of them, but sooner or later I’ll probably go to the range with one or both of them.  This caught my eye at B&N the other day but I decided to try the audiobook rather than paper.

Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Eventually I will have the entire Vorkosigan series in audio, paper, and electronic format.  

Somebody Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon — this one is on my wishlist, since I’ve used all my credits for the month.


Recently listened to Whispers Under Ground, narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.  Very impressed with the narration and his Peter Grant voice.  The only quibble I have is with his interpretation of Agent Reynolds, the American FBI agent:  her accent is described as being a mix of southern and midwestern, but the accent used sounds more upper East Coast to me.

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Yet again I succumb to the lure of audiobooks

Audible’s member sale and their monthly credit scheme have once again tempted me into downloading new audiobooks.  Today’s purchases:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, narrated by Claire Danes.

Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner.  He really nails Miles’ voice in A Civil Campaign, and he did a good job with Ivan in Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, too.

The Darkling Thrush by Josh Lanyon, narrated by Max Miller.  I’ve got this ebook on my Kindle, but have never read it; maybe listening to the audio version while I huff and puff on the elliptical will work?

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November’s books/novellas/etc.

1.  Wight Mischief by JL Merrow.  Contemporary m/m gothic with mystery and paranormal threads.  Loved the sense of place in the book, not sold on the mystery, the villain, or the romance.  C

2.  In the Dark by Jordan Castillo Price.  M/m horror.  A PsyCop short.  Loved it.  My only complaint:  it’s too short! Want more!

3.  Room to Grow by Kate Sherwood.  Contemporary m/m.  I don’t remember what this book was about.  My notes at LibraryThing are:  what was the point of this book?  C-

4.  Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn.  Contemporary het romance.  A lot of people in my Twitter feed loved this book, but I was not engaged by either character, even though the hero should have appealed.  At best, the portion I read was stroke material.  Otherwise, meh.  DNF.

5.  Steamroller by Mary Calmes.  Contemporary m/m.  Or rather, an utter fairytale fantasy of m/m romance pretending to be a contemporary.  There’s so much wrong with this novella (IMO) that I don’t know where to start: the trope-riddled, paper-thin characters? the “tragedy” that made the conflictless HEA possible?  the utter inconsistency of the character building?  the love at first fuck?  the bareback because I trust you for what is ostensibly a one night stand?  It wasn’t a long book, but it managed to rile me up a lot. F

6.  Half Moon Chambers by Harper Fox.  Contemporary m/m police procedural.  Less angst than some of her other work, which I appreciated, but the narrator is TSTL and a glutton for punishment.  Didn’t really believe the romance or HEA/HFN, or the resolution of the procedural piece.  C+

7.  One Good Turn by Carla Kelly.  Traditional Regency…well, as traditional as Kelly gets.  Reread.  A/A-

8.  Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel.  Graphic novel memoir.  I’m going to have to check out her other graphic novels and check out Dykes to Watch Out For.


Aside:  the longer I read fiction by and about gay characters, the less comfortable I am using m/m as a descriptor, especially when the book is outside the strict genre confines of romance.



Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs, narrated by Joe Manganiello.  Still like his voice for the book, but was a little less pleased with this audiobook, in part because some of the pacing for punctuation sounded odd and also because I noticed a fair number of incorrect words/pronunciations.  Examples:  scrape for scrap, noise for nose, etc.

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.  The voice and style of the narrator lived up to the very distinctive (and to me enjoyable) sense of place and person conveyed in writing by Aaronovitch.  Will be getting the rest of the series.  I’ve also recommended the series to my brother-in-law, a big SF/F and audiobook fan.


Still TBD:

  • review of Tigerland
  • review of another Kelly book
  • read and review holiday anthology

(List posted on the theory that writing the tasks down will make me accomplish them faster.)


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Audiobooks I’ve bought lately

Audible is going to bankrupt me.  Most recent downloads:

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance — I’m very curious about Grover Gardner’s interpretation of Ivan after book upon book of being the voice of Babbling Mad Miles.  His version of Roic in Winterfair Gifts was passable, so I’m expecting good things.

Dragon Blood — liked Joe Manganiello’s Wardwick of Hurog voice, expect more of the same here.

Midnight Riot — Am not sure what to expect here.  The book’s narrator has a very distinctive voice that comes through to readers, it’ll be interesting to see what/how the audiobook narrator does.


I have not bought any of the books on semi-annual sale.  After paging through a couple of categories, I found nothing that thrilled so I wandered off to search by author (not found, I think no audio versions exist).


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Is that (genre) romance?

Audible.com is having its semi-annual sale.  Being a book hoarder in any/all formats, I checked it out even though I’ve got several unlistened-to audiobooks still and have no spare memory on my iPod until I delete a couple of books.  Browsing by category, I noticed that on the first page of “romance” audiobooks, I noticed that 15 of the 20 books involve vampires or werewolves.  Of those, seven are by Kelley Armstrong…whom most readers would not characterize as a romance author.  Rom-readers enjoy the romantic threads of her books, but the relationship is generally not the focus of any of the books.  Well, except for Bitten maybe?  But even that doesn’t really fall into the genre romance definition.  Her Otherworld series is urban fantasy or horror; any relationship involved is a subsidiary to the larger fantasy/horror plot, even that of Elena and Clay.

Who selected these categories?

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October reading

Wow, this is pathetic.  What did I do instead?  (Oh, right, I read more fan fiction. And work material.)

1.  Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane.  M/m contemporary.  This book was an utter train wreck. F

2.  Easy by Tamara Webber.  New adult.  The Big Mis required a huge suspension of disbelief for me, and was pretty easily guessed at early on, which made me question the judgment/smarts of the heroine.  Who also felt a little Mary Sue-ish.  The MCs felt like 30 year olds inserted into the lives of 19/21 year olds.  Liked the book until the end, did not care for the final scene or epilogue.  C

3.  The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles.  M/m contemporary.  One of very few menages I’ve read that actually works.  B

4.  Tigerland by Sean Kennedy.  M/m contemporary, sequel to Tigers & Devils.  Absolute keeper.  If I can ever get past my urge to cut and paste pages and pages of quotes, I’ll write a review.  Mostly:  Simon’s voice!  A-

5.  A Rookie Move by Sam Morgan.  M/m contemporary.  Not well edited. Clunky writing. Big Mis, communication problems. MCs acted more like teenagers than adults. Thin characterization. Even though both POVs are used through out the book, at the important point one was dropped in order to create the Big Mis and conflict (failed).  C-/D+

6.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.  Re-read.


  • The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Fair Game by Josh Lanyon
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (in progress)


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