Recommendations from our last Speaking of Audiobooks column on funny romances have provided me with quite a few smiles and laughs this holiday season as I decorated for Christmas, wrapped presents, and traveled for a few days. Currently I’m having a delightful time listening to Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Natural Born Charmer – it’s beyond funny and has me hooting loudly at times. Thanks to all who shared their favorite funny romance audiobooks. I’ve purchased a few already and anticipate many more amusing moments over the upcoming winter months.
Leftovers from December
December 1st alone provided eleven new romance audiobook titles that failed to make our upcoming December releases list over at AAR. That list is now updated and here are just a few of those additional audiobooks:
Recently I found myself laughing out loud again and again as I listened to Susan Ericksen narrating Jennifer Crusie’s delightful Anyone But You. It’s a lightweight tale of a fortyish woman finding love with a thirtyish man and it was just so much fun. Wanting to find more of the same, I began scanning my audio library for other truly funny audiobooks, thinking all along that funny romance audiobooks would make a great topic for the next Speaking of Audiobooks column. I was greatly surprised to find fewer than a dozen in my rather respectfully large audio library and five of those were books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Knowing I needed more funny book recommendations for such a column, I turned to a few of our regular posters and asked them to share their favorite funnies and what follows is a collective effort. Interestingly, I discovered that a number of us share the opinion that there aren’t many truly funny romance audiobooks out there. Let’s hope that opinion is erroneous indeed.
After our Speaking of Audiobooks discussion earlier this month on our preferred listening devices, I made out my Christmas list and it is simply – one MP3 player with lots of memory and the ability to play the enhanced format I’ve been hearing about lately. So notice to family…pool you money. I’ll be thrilled with just this one gift and my wish is for it to have at least 16 GB of memory.
The search for upcoming audiobooks gets more interesting every day (or should I say more challenging). Although I compile a list of upcoming audiobooks each month for this mid-month column, many books fail to make that list and the reason is quite clear. Audible, the largest source of romance audiobooks, doesn’t provide a comprehensive list of their upcoming releases.
Our list of upcoming October audiobook releases was small with a total of 10 books in the unabridged category. However, as of today, Audible has released another 27 romance audiobooks in October that failed to make our upcoming release list because we simply had no notice. To make up for this lack of notification, we will now update each current month’s list at the time of this mid-month new releases column. For example, this column provides you with an upcoming list of 10 abridged titles and 20 unabridged titles scheduled for release in November. In addition, our October list of releases has now updated and the number of unabridged titles has increased from 10 to 37. I’m determined to find a way around this lack of information so we can keep romance audiobook fans up to date on the latest offerings.
In many ways, listening to an audiobook these days is far simpler than six years ago when I first discovered my love for them. At the time, I still relied on a cassette tape player and frequently changing tapes or turning a tape over to side B were all necessities for listening. I never thought to be annoyed or saw stopping what I was doing to attend the cassette player as an inconvenience.
Now, most of my listening is via my iPod and downloading audiobooks rather than waiting for one to come by mail is not only extremely convenient but immediately gratifying as well. No longer do I need to check to make sure I’m not missing any tapes before beginning a book, nor do I spend time wondering if I kept them sitting in the sun too long. Rather than loading that box of tapes (and usually a rather large player) in the car for a trip, I just drop a very small device in a specially sized pocket in my purse or clip it to my shirt and I’m off. But give me a grueling night of technical challenges on my laptop when I’m attempting to download my latest purchase or, dare I say, a loss of my hard drive, and I find myself wishing for the – yes – simpler days of a cassette tape player.
One truly unique aspect of listening to a book rather than reading the printed word is the feeling of existing within that narrative. There is no need for me to stop reading to cook dinner or run errands since an audiobook keeps reading the story to me wherever I may be. And never have a felt that sensation as strongly as I do now as I listen once again to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series in preparation for our November Speaking of Audiobooks column. Finishing the fourth in the series, Drums of Autumn, by November 1st, means listening 2-3 hours a day and I must admit that at times I feel as though I am living in 18th century Scotland while my frame of reference swirls around the happenings within this series. When I think of the vegetables I used in last night’s salad, I’m reminded of Jamie’s reasons for leaving Helwater. When I think of folding laundry late last night, I recall Claire’s buying that Jessica Gutenburg dress. Yes, I am truly immersed and loving it.
Years ago, I considered audiobooks useful for one of two things – inspiration or instruction. At the time “books on tape” was the operative phrase and I rarely listened to an audio tape unless I was in my car commuting to and from work. Listening to a book meant gathering information to improve myself in some manner but it also started to feel a lot like work. The thought of utilizing a “book on tape” for the simple purpose of enjoyable entertainment wasn’t even a consideration.
In the intervening years, my opinion of audiobooks has greatly changed and I am sure that is due in part to the expanding industry with greater choices and easier delivery systems. But equally significant are my motivations for listening, rather than reading, and now when I hear the word “audiobook” I think entertainment, patience, diversion, tranquility, and comfort. Just as effective as the ritual of sitting down to read a book, an audiobook brings with it a calming quality that lifts my spirits even if I am listening to a title of a more serious nature such as Linda Howard’s Cry No More.
As I worked to compile this list for September releases, I also realized we are approaching the point where we have almost a constant discussion on our Speaking of Audiobooks column. Although they are spaced approximately two weeks apart, discussions continue well after the original post and I want to encourage you to continue posting if you have something to add or another discussion point to make. I continue to watch the columns and am up to talking about audiobooks at any time!
Also, the number of ideas for future audiobook columns (mostly from your discussions or suggestions) is increasing and I see some very interesting discussions in our future. As more audiobook fans discover this place to share their latest experiences with romance audiobooks, I anticipate an increased level of audiobook recommendations, as well as general discussion. Gathering your thoughts together is a real pleasure for me and my “to be heard” pile is getting bigger every day!
Last month was the first of our continuing monthly columns on audio books. Here audio book lovers can discuss their latest finds and receive recommendations for future listening.
Finding the best bet for your next audio book choice often resembles putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Beyond determining if the storyline is to your liking, does the narrator portray both male and female characters in a manner that is pleasing to your ear? Does he speak clearly without annoying sounds (such as swallowing loudly) or mispronouncing words? Is the quality of recording such that you can listen easily without being distracted by background noise? And, since the price of audio books varies greatly, where do you find the best price?