A few unrelated things before I dive into this post:
1.) Chantal, the talented illustrator behind Pony Chops Shop (I have a set of her gorgeous hand-painted Matryoshka dolls), is kindly hosting a Kelsea Echo giveaway! Head over to her blog for a chance to win $40 of my jewelry! :)
2.) I'm flying out of town tomorrow for a last minute visit to see one of my best friends, so I'll be MIA for the rest of this week. Will be back with lots more content next week!
When we were growing up, my brother, Corbin (who just turned 25 on Sunday - happy birthday!) devoured books like they were ice cream cake. When it comes to reading, we have similar tastes, preferring fantasy or sci-fi and series over standalone novels.
My love affair with reading continued through high school, when I would pretend to sleep at my bedtime and then get up a little later so I could read all night. I loved reading so much that an essay I wrote for English class, on why reading was important, made it into a book my English teacher ended up publishing years later. My love of the written word seeped out of every sentence I wrote for that essay.
Unfortunately, my dedication to reading didn't really make it to college. There were too many things to do, places to see, and people to meet. Let's be real - I was also playing a lot of World of Warcraft, which sucked up my time. :) Without any conscious decision, reading slipped out of my life and into the nostalgic past.
Two years ago, riding the aftermath of a difficult break-up, I rediscovered books. At Corbin's recommendation, I started the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. It was more than enough to catapult me back into the wonderful world of books.
Since then, I've consciously made time for reading. This was made easier by Tal's supportive decision to buy me a Kindle Paperwhite. :) I'd read for an hour or two before bed or during a sick day from work. Sometimes just because it felt right. But, my appetite for books couldn't be satisfied completely by these little nooks of time.
It was Tal who first suggested audiobooks to me. He exclusively listens to books and I would always hear bits and pieces of his audiobooks as I walked around our house. For some reason, I was very resistant to the idea at first, but eventually, I decided to try it out.
I'm so glad I did! I used to listen to music or re-watch my favorite TV shows while making jewelry. It worked, but I would usually get bored of both after a while. Now, I just listen to new audiobooks (borrowed from the library via Overdrive) or listen again to some of my all-time favorites (purchased from Audible). It doesn't require any visual attention, unlike TV shows, so I can listen to new books. As such, I never get bored. I listen to books while editing photos or running on the treadmill. It's wonderful!
I know this is an incredibly wordy post, but I really wanted to share the story behind this. And, of course, share some of my own favorite books and audiobooks, as well as others I've been listening to lately. It's always better when you have portable panda speakers too! ;) I just plug in my iPhone (which has the Overdrive and Audible apps installed) and listen, anywhere in the house.
Narrator included below only on books I have listened to (rather than or in addition to reading). I don't like summarizing plots, so I'm including Goodreads links (which will provide a plot synopsis) in case you want to learn more about these books.
THE HERO AND THE CROWN | Author: Robin McKinley | Narrator: Roslyn Alexander
This is my all-time favorite book. I got a battered old copy in an elementary school book exchange. It has been my absolute favorite book since. I read it until the cover fell off, then used construction paper and massive amounts of tape to repair my precious book. I've read this more times than any other books and more times than I can recall. Because of this, I was actually a bit nervous about listening, because I already had the story down in my head. What if the narrator told it in a different way? But it was just as I imagined. This is one I will be listening to over and over again.
NEVERWHERE | Author and Narrator: Neil Gaiman
This is a new favorite. In addition to being a fantastic author, Neil Gaiman is an excellent narrator. I only discovered Neverwhere recently, but I've already read and listened to it.
My Goodreads review.
MISTBORN | Author: Brandon Sanderson
First in a trilogy. Sanderson is definitely my favorite author (and Corbin's as well). I can't even describe the Mistborn series effectively. Just read it!
THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE | Author: Brandon Sanderson
First of a planned ten book series. This is a chunky book. The first two books have been released so far. This series has so much potential... seriously cannot wait for the next book to come out!
My Goodreads review.
RECKONERS | Author: Brandon Sanderson
This is one of Sanderson's young adult series, but it didn't read too much differently to me than his non-YA series. I'd say it's the somewhat toned-down version of Mistborn. I pre-ordered the second book in the series, which comes out in January!
LIGHTBRINGER | Author: Brent Weeks
Another series in progress. The magic system is based on colors, which I, of course, love. :) Lots of interesting characters and good/evil ambiguity. I'm excited to read the rest of the series when it comes out!
PARASOL PROTECTORATE | Author: Gail Carriger
Another new favorite! Soulless is the first in a series of five novels. Super fun and perfect for a few hours of lighthearted giggles. Preferably over tea and pastries.
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE | Author: Laini Taylor | Narrator: Khristine Hvam
First of a trilogy - I thought this book was the best of the three, but I'd still recommend finishing up the series. Blue haired heroine with a small but feisty best friend? <3
GENTLEMAN BASTARD | Author: Scott Lynch
Series currently in progress. The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first book, which I liked better than the subsequent books. I'm still planning to read the rest of the series, though!
RECENTLY READ SERIES
THE VORKOSIGAN SAGA | Author: Lois McMaster Bujold | Narrator: Grover Gardner
Since Corbin suggested it, I've been having a blast listening to this series (in chronological order)! It's also a hefty series and I've been able to find every book, thus far, on Overdrive. Currently listening to Memory.
THE LUNAR CHRONICLES | Author: Marissa Meyers | Narrator: Rebecca Soler
This suggestion was from Maivy (via her Instagram photo), and I've been having fun listening to Cinder's adventures!
FAIRYLAND | Author and Narrator: Catherine Valente
This was a fun, dreamy book to listen to. Valente's Fairyland isn't all rainbows and sunshine, which is how I prefer it. I thought this book would have been better off with a professional narrator and I plan to read (rather than listen to) the next book in the series.
I'd love to know: what's your favorite book?
Fellow book (esp fantasy/sci-fi) lovers: feel free to add me on Goodreads! We can trade suggestions. :) You may have noticed I update my "currently reading" list regularly, which feeds to the right sidebar of my blog. It's beefed up right now to include everything I borrowed in anticipation of my trip this week.
You can also view more of my reviews, favorites, and book ratings here:
Reviews (be warned: I'm very honest!)
Books I've Read (in the past two years + a few more)