Some Sorta Mini Audiobook Thoughts

Posted 5 January, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 30 Comments



Title: Before I Go to Sleep

Author: S. J. Watson
Published: 2011;  Pages: 368
Narrator: Orlagh Cassidy
Audio Length: 11 hrs, 32 min
Genre: Fiction, Suspense
Rating: 4/5

Summary: Christine was in a terrible accident and doesn’t have the abilities to make new memories and has lost many of her old memories. Under advisement of her doctor, Christine begins a daily journal and slowly realizes things have gone awry and she cannot trust the man who has been caring for her–her husband Ben.

Descriptors: Thrilling, absorbing, emotional rollercoaster, thought-provoking, satisfying, at times a bit over the top and a bit unbelievable, found excuses to clean my house so I could keep listening.

Bottom Line: I would definitely recommend listening to Before I Go to Sleep! Orlagh Cassidy did a fantastic job of conveying the range of emotions Christine experiences throughout the novel.

Title: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief/ Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 2005/2006 Pages: 384/279
Narrator: Jesse Bernstein
Audio Length: 10 hrs / 7 hrs and 56 mins
Genre: Fantasy (Middle Grade)
Rating: 3/5

Summary: Percy Jackson, a young pre-teen who struggles with ADHA and dyslexia, learns that he is son to one of the Olympian gods. He meets other demi-gods, satyrs, and creatures, and gets transported into a whirlwind of mayhem and quests to make all right within the universe.

Descriptors: Fun, action packed, engaging, reminiscent of popular Greek myths (Odyssey, Jason and the Golden Fleece), pre-teen hormones (ick).

Bottom Line: I enjoyed listening to the first two books in the series but don’t feel a big pull to continue. I’ll download from the library when I feel a lull in my listening but am not in a big hurry.

Title: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Author: Tom Franklin
Published: 2010? Pages: 304
Narrator: Kevin Kenerly
Audio Length: 9 hrs, 30 min
Genre: Fiction, Mystery?
Rating: 3/5

Summary: Larry Ott and Silas Jones were once unlikely childhood friends whose friendship ended abruptly. Years later their paths cross again as Ott is suspect in a missing persons case and Jones is the constable investigating.

Descriptors: Eh.

OK Fine: I listened to this one on my bike trip in Arkansas last fall and I was interested enough to keep listening but not really invested in the story. Kevin Kenerly’s narration was wonderful, though. And for those who wondered, I thought the Mississippi dialect sounded very authentic on the audio.

Bottom Line: Everyone loves this book. Thinks the writing was awesome. One of the pitfalls of listening is that I don’t notice laudable writing styles (conversely I also don’t notice terrible writing either). It was also much grittier than I expected–my fault for hearing the raves but not taking the time to learn the subject matter.

Title: At Home, A Short History of Private Life

Author: Bill Bryson
Published: 2010; Pages: 700
Narrator: Bill Bryson
Audio Length: 16 hrs, 38 mins
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Rating: 4/5

Summary: Everything you wanted to know about nearly everything you can think of in your home. Like seriously everything. Like bed bugs and salt and wigs and meat and hermits and and and everything.

Descriptors: Fascinating, Fascinating, Fascinating. Information Overload. Great small talk fodder…”Did you know…”

Bottom Line: It took me an hour or two or three to really get into this book, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. Once I realized that it was basically just a bunch of random history and information, I was able to let go and allow my brain to be filled. But overwhelming at times and I’m sure I tuned out of at least 30% of the book. And only remember 10%?

Whew! So glad to have those done. I listened to some other really great audiobooks in 2011, but other than Ready Player One and Elegance of the Hedgehog I don’t plan on writing about them at this point. If you’re curious, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Alice I Have Been, and And Then There Were None were all fantastic. Bedwetter was not. Nor was Three Cups of Tea–it’s possible I didn’t even finish that one?

Have you read/listen to any of these? What did you think?

30 Responses to “Some Sorta Mini Audiobook Thoughts”

  1. Oooh, would definitely like to read that first one! Have read The Lightening Thief. Enjoyed it but haven’t moved on in the series. Gray absolutely loves them though! I bought At Home for Rich a while back but neither one of us has gotten around to reading it yet. Anyway. I really really need to give audiobooks another go. I know I just have to find the right book for me…

  2. I liked the first Percy Jackson book, but the rest were just meh for me. The boys love them, so I have to guess they’re just really made for a younger audience than me. :D

  3. I feel similar to you on the Percy Jackson books. I read three, but mainly because I got the trilogy as a gift – I’ve never felt insanely compelled to read the remainder, although I know I wouldn’t mind if I did.

    As for AT HOME, that one’s waiting on my shelf. I’m saving it for a time when I’m prepared for my mind to be filled with information as you said!

    Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm

  4. *Debi – Maybe try the first one on audio? It took a really long time for me to enjoy listening to audiobooks and there are some that I still find don’t work for me. I’ve been trying to get through Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett, but I think print might be the way to go on that one.

    *Amanda – Yes, I agree that the Percy Jackson books don’t seem to be quite as universal as some of the other series. I enjoyed them but only peripherally.

    *Meghan – I hope that you enjoy At Home. I didn’t realize how long it was until I looked up the page numbers last night. Beast of a book!! It is FASCINATING but definitely a TON of information. ;)

  5. Before I Go to Sleep is now on my wish list! Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was a favorite last year, sorry you didn’t enjoy it quite as much.

    My plan was to listen to At Home, but I picked up an inexpensive paperback copy instead. Still think it might be a good combination read/listen.

  6. I really want to read Before I go to Sleep.

    I read Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter with my book club and we all thought it was great. Most of us are from the South – one is from Mississippi & one is from Alabama – and we all felt like the dialect was a little off.

  7. Before I Go to Sleep sounds really good…I’m adding it to my WishList. I’m from Mississippi and I’m already hard on those who try on the dialect, so I’ll be reading the hardback version of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter…it’s already on my TBR shelves…I’ve read mixed reviews about it.

  8. I listened to Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and apparently liked it better than you did :-) I liked it because it wasn’t a mystery in the expected police procedural format; but a peeling back of layers to get at the truth; and that the characters were morally complex/human/multi-dimensional as opposed to being static “black hat vs white hat” types. I also thought Kevin Kenerly did an amazing job of handling the character voices and the overall narrative. If I have one quibble, it is with “the heart attack”: it seemed like a misleading and superfluous scene, perhaps one that was supposed to lead somewhere else but ultimately was edited out.

  9. FYI, via Percy Jackson, I understand your reluctance to continue. I read the series a few years ago and I stopped for a while after book 2 because I thought it got a little boring and ho-hum. However, books 3-5 are amazing. It’s the buildup to the giant War of the Gods at the end.

    Just to let ya know. ;-)


  10. I read the first Percy Jackson but I have never read on. It wasn’t even that I didn’t enjoy the first book, but basically it is not a series I feel I have to know what happens next. If I read on, I read on…

  11. I really enjoyed Before I Go to Sleep. I’m trying to embrace audio, which is hard for me, but I think non-fiction would work better. I’m intrigued by At Home, as it sounds fascinating, but I doubt I’ll ever actually get to it in print.

  12. I’ve had Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on my list for a long time, but now maybe I’m not so sure…Before I Go to Sleep sounds very intriguing though! I haven’t heard of it before, but I might need to see if my library has it! I like the little reviews of each book. Consise. I LOVE your rambly posts, but for book reviews these days, I like the shorter ones. Think my attention span is starting to mimic Emily’s. Uh oh.

  13. I bought the Percy Jackson series for my kids. I read the first one, and while I enjoyed it, I haven’t really felt an urgency to get to the rest. I probably will some day.

  14. *JoAnn – I feel terrible that I didn’t like CLCL more–feel like I missed something! But glad so many others enjoyed it. And good plan for At Home–it’s the perfect read/listen book.

    *Bermuda – I hope you enjoy Before I go to Sleep. It was great on audio!

    *Peppermint PhD – There are lots of mixed reviews for Crooked Letter but seems most really love it. I hope that you’re in that category!!

    *dog eared copy – Yes yes yes, I absolutely agree with everything that you say about Crooked Letter!! And Franklin does such a beautiful job of painting atmosphere in the book. But I guess I was expecting too much? :( Maybe it was one best read than listened to (for me).

    *Pax – Glad to know about the rest of Percy Jackson! I think my library has all on audio so eventually I’ll get to them. Just not in a hurry!

    *Kailana – That’s how I feel about the Percy Jackson books, too. Enjoyable but I probably won’t miss them if I don’t finish.

    *Nomadreader – I agree with you Carrie–for some reason non-fiction works best for me as well. I would recommend Unbroken and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for two starters. And At Home.

    *One Experience – I look forward to reading more Bryson in the future! And not sure what it was about Three Cups. Just didn’t find myself terribly invested in the story. Hope you enjoy it more!

    *Laura – There has been MUCH raving over Crooked Letter so you never know. It didn’t work for me but I feel like I’m the only one. And I know what you mean about the reviews. I don’t mind writing the longer book reviews but I don’t like reading them either. ;) Actually these days I skip most of them from other people!

    *Heather – Before I Go to Sleep was intense huh? I really enjoyed watching the story unfold! Glad you enjoyed it too.

    *Kristi – I kind of feel like the Percy Jackson books really are targeted for the younger audience without much consideration for an older audience reading? Do your kids like them?

    *Trisha – I know you don’t like audio, but it was great listening to! My friend read it at the same time and wasn’t thrilled with the writing but I don’t notice crappy writing on audio. ;)

  15. Wow that was a real clean up of reviews. I have to agree with you on Three cups of tea, just couldn’t get into it. Your others sound pretty good though. Thanks

  16. Well yo already know I really liked Before I Go to Sleep. I thought it was great too and scary. I couldn’t imagine that really happening. Sorry some of the others weren’t great for you. I do have Crooked Letter in book form. So many have loved it. I hope I’ll be one of them.

    Happy New Year Trish and to Scott and little Elle too!

  17. I agree, the Percy Jackson books don’t have as much cross-over appeal as some other children’s books. My kids were really excited when I started reading them the first one, and my oldest actually started reading ahead so it made it difficult for me to read it to both of my boys. We ended up moving on to another book then he never ended up finishing it. Ugh! We’ll have start it again.

    My oldest really enjoyed a children’s version of The Odyssey that he read so I thought he would enjoy these. We’ll see if I can convince him to get going on them again.

    Sorry this response is ridiculously long!

  18. Sorry “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” didn’t work for you; I’m one of those who loved it. But it is gritty.

    I’m going to have to pick up before “Before I Go To Sleep” on audio. Don’t think I will get to it otherwise and it sounds like a good way to go that route with.

  19. Amy

    I have been seeing a lot of reviews of Before I Go to Sleep recently. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have a hard copy of the book and hope to read it soon. I think, although, that it sounds like the type of book that would be wonderful to listen to. I’ll have to remember this for future psychological thrillers.

    I adore Bill Bryson and his books. I liked At Home but it wasn’t among my favorites of his.

    It seems like Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter gets better reviews when read rather than listened to. I’m sorry this one wasn’t as good for you as it has been for other bloggers. But not every book works for all of us so No Worries!

    I loved this post of mini-reviews, Great idea!

  20. I really like Orlagh Cassidy’s narration so I have put Before I Go To Sleep on my ” to listen” list. Bill Bryson’s wry humor translates so well in audio. I haven’t read or listened to At Home but have listened to many of his travel books and they are great!

  21. *Irene – Maybe reading Three Cups of Tea would be better but listening I felt really disconnected from the story.

    *Darlene – Before I Go to Sleep was definitely incredibly creepy and scary! I hope you like Crooked Letter–so many have really loved it so I’m sure you will too.

    *Trish – I’m just getting into Bill Bryson but have his Walk in the Woods on my shelf. Look forward to it!

    *Kristi – No, don’t apologize for ridiculously long responses. ;) I’m just glad someone is reading my follow-up comments (I’m trying to be better, even if it takes me a few days). That’s wonderful that your oldest has an interest in the Odyssey! But even more that your kids enjoy reading! So cool.

    *Lisa – Definitely do Before I Go to Sleep on audio! It’s not one that I’d pick up in paper, though I know many bloggers who’ve enjoyed it! My friend/coworker who read it with me said the writing was terrible. ;) I don’t notice those things while listening.

    *Amy – A friend suggested that I read Before I Go to Sleep (as a group read with her) and I hadn’t heard of it then. Now it’s popping up everywhere! Think I even heard something about a movie. Definitely a great one to experience on audio! I had really hoped to like Crooked Letter but think I was thrown for a loop with the subject matter. I do think it might have been better read. I’ve heard the star of the book is the writing but I have a hard time noticing writing when listening (if that makes sense)!

    *Booksync – Orlagh Cassidy did a fantastic job of really becoming the character in the novel. Hope you enjoy! And I hope to listen to other Bill Bryson books!

    *Samantha – I can’t believe that I had never read an Agatha Christie novel before now! Need to try to listen to more.

  22. Les

    I read Before I Go To Sleep, but I love Orlagh Cassidy, so I may have to give it listen.

    I listened to Bill Bryson’s Thunderbolt Kid and had a similar reaction to yours for At Home.

    Loved Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, but can see how the audio might have been disappointing.

    Glad to hear that The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is good on audio. I was thinking about reading the book, but my mom says it could’ve been edited a bit, so maybe the audio is the way to go.

    I just started Shelter Me by Juliette Fay and I’m not sure I care for the reader (Marguerite Gavin). I may give it up and move on to The Marriage Plot. I’ve never listened to the reader for that one, either. It’s David Pittu. Ever hear of him?