June is Audiobook Month and in celebration of that event, we have a special edition of Speaking of Audiobooks for you today and we’re featuring all reviews – seven of them including our first “dueling” review. Most are longer in length than our usual mini-reviews and include Only Love by Elizabeth Lowell, Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh, Delicious by Susan Mallery, Fire and Ice by Anne Stuart, Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen, and To Die For by Linda Howard.
Top on my list today, however, is a reminder for you to vote in our Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll if you haven’t done so already. For those who have yet to cast their ballot, there are 25 categories and many of us rub our hands in glee at the thought of voting 25 times for favorites. But we know there are probably even more who will want to complete only a portion of the ballot so all we ask is that you complete a minimum of 6 categories. You can find the ballot here. And if you have already submitted your ballot, please share word of the poll with others! It will prove to be an immensely useful tool for romance audiobook fans. The poll ends on Tuesday, June 28th at midnight eastern standard time.
Listening to those old tape cassettes – it seemed like such a good idea when I reported my favorable experience in the September Releases Speaking of Audiobooks column. But that was before I started listening to the cassette tape audiobooks from my library. There were definitely more challenges than rewards in listening to worn out tapes where the background noise was high, the echo of other tracks played constantly, and the volume continuously ran from high to low in cycles of less than a minute. Having two cassette players I tried both thinking (and almost hoping) that the player was the problem but, alas, the worn out audiobook was at fault. As I gave up on Nora Roberts’ Carnal Innocence before the halfway point (I knew it was too good to waste on such problems), I tried another older romance I’d been excited to find at my library, Sandra Brown’s White Hot only to experience the same problems. Sadly, I returned both audiobooks to the library unfinished.
Then I discovered I had a fairy godmother of romance audiobooks! Actually my fairy godmother is a very special friend with a fantastic audiobook library. She stepped forward and loaned me clear copies of a number of old hard-to-find romances and I’ve been in heaven since listening to a few of these oldies! I’ll share as I listen to these over the next few months. You may be inspired to hunt down a used copy or, at least, find a decent copy through your local library.
Leftovers from September
Have you ever had your home broken into? Even if no one is hurt and nothing is damaged, that feeling of violation remains. What if someone copies your work, puts her name on it and turns it in as her own? Pretty outrageous, huh? Ever since an observant author notified us last week that another romance site called Ramblings on Romance (a new blog, NOT to be confused with the blog of the same name authored by the lovely Kristie(J), who is innocent in all this) has rather blatantly copied material from All About Romance, our feelings have run the gamut from anger to pity to disgust over having been ripped off.
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.
While many people were on vacation during August, it was a busy month for AAR staff and readers. We’re proud of what’s happening at AAR and wanted to share some of it with you in a once-a-month report. This is the first of those reports.
A lot of new content was added to AAR in August. As always, our primary focus is reviews, and we posted 50 new reviews – including seven DIKs – in August. In addition to the reviews, we added a variety of other new content, including 20 new posts here at the AAR News and Commentary Blog, and 22 at AAR After Hours.
Both AAR’s own statistics, and those available at Alexa, confirm that visits to AAR have increased steadily over the course of 2009. At the end of August, AAR’s traffic rank at Alexa was 97,264, a very good number indeed (anything under 100,000 is something to be proud of), and up 76 percent according to Alexa’s figures.
And somehow I just can’t bring myself to mourn.
I’ve read the Washington Post almost daily since I was a teenager and I am, not surprisingly, a bookie. And I was from the moment I first got a book in my hand.
I remember the days 15 or 20 years ago, when Book World was a lively, interesting place where I’d read about new writers I wanted to explore. I remember discovering Anita Brookner and Elizabeth George from the pages of the magazine. There also used to be a literary quiz question every week that was really challenging, but sometimes I actually knew the answer. I’d be smug for the entire day.
About 10 years or so ago, something happened to Book World. Okay, I’ll tell you exaactly what happened to Book World: Michael Dirda (gaseous bagus humongous) took over as editor. From that day on, the publication became a joke, with its heavy focus on virtually all non-fiction reviews by male authors – and I am totally not kidding.