This week marks one year for our Speaking of Audiobooks column. Our discussions seem to get better with each passing month as we hear comments from new listeners and come to know the tastes of some of our regular sharers. Thanks for making this first year a success. Now for our second year!
2010 Personal Listening Challenge
In our last column I announced my very unofficial personal listening challenge for the remainder of 2010. The challenge? Listen to six audiobooks outside of my usual comfort zone within the romance genre (or closely tied to romance).
My original six challenge choices evolved somewhat throughout the column’s discussion as I learned from our listeners that not all of my chosen audiobooks fit within their stated category. After supplementing and moving my selections around, I chose my first challenge category, Fantasy Romance, and took the advice of listeners yet again and decided on The Sharing Knife, Volume 1: Beguilement. There has been a good deal of praise for this series in our past discussions and I had high hopes. And it certainly was a success! Narrator Bernadette Dunne weaves this tale of magic in such a manner that I became totally immersed in the world of Dag and Fawn and lakewalkers and farmers. The narration added significantly to my overall enjoyment and I’m convinced this is one series wherein audio beats out print. Not only did Ms Dunne’s performance touch me but the content (a large aspect of my challenge) was fascinating as well. I’m certain this will become a comfort listen.
As many of you know, watching for new releases of romance audiobooks is a part of my morning routine and one I quite enjoy since it’s a constant search for those gems that failed to be included in some sort of “upcoming audiobook” list. Audible, in particular, seems to pride itself in surprising us with new releases we had no idea were coming.
Lately Audible seems to be playing another game and that is dumping numerous audiobooks into their romance listings that have little or nothing to do with romance. I’ll acknowledge that there’s always been this tendency at Audible but romance is becoming more of a catch all every month and it takes away some of the excitement during my morning searches. As I sign on each day, I’m always looking for an increase in that magical number of romance audiobooks (it’s always stamped in my memory) but it’s a bit of a letdown when I see, say, five new releases only to find four, upon research, aren’t romances at all.
I’m buying as many new audiobooks each month as previously but recently I’m finding fewer new releases (this includes new releases of older books) to fire my interest to the point of purchase. My purchasing lately is based more on those recommendations I’ve picked up here at our Speaking of Audiobooks discussions. Is anyone else noticing a lack of depth in our romance audiobook choices or is it just a dry period for someone with my combination of preferences?
July and August in Oklahoma can be particularly hard to bear with temperatures hovering around the 100 degree mark and more days than not of high humidity. I just want to stay in and ignore the fact that my garden still needs tending or my dog needs walking. But gardener and responsible owner that I am, I trek out into the heat anyway and find, yet again, an audiobook to be the perfect distraction. I’ve had some real luck with my summer listening choices and books such as Linda Howard’s Burn, Anne Stuart’s Ice Storm, and Rachel Gibson’s Tangled Up in You have helped me make it through the heat quite effectively.
Ah…Tuesday. A big, shiny new release day and judging by the look of my bookstore, the book & music fans were out in force. I’ve long since learned that the store by my office never has the new releases out on shelves on Tuesday itself, so I wait until Wednesday to go book hunting. I had several books in mind for this trip, so I set out over my lunch break.
Part of my morning ritual, along with looking at the news headlines, checking email, and stopping by AAR, is seeing what’s new in audio romance. It’s a little like opening a grab bag as I wonder if I will be thrilled, bored, or disappointed with the day’s audio romance releases. You see, I never know what to expect release-wise and I gave up seriously looking for a list of upcoming audio books after many failed attempts to find a complete romance listing. After all, that morning look always promised the possibility of a bit of excitement, even as my audio book budget toppled yet again from the lack of planning.
I’m sure there are other audio book listeners who eagerly watch for that next terrific production because we all know that very few of our favorite books actually make it to the world of audio. As a result, it seems only natural to include a list of upcoming audio book releases as we develop a place on AAR for audio book fans.