Tag Archives: Audible

World Read Aloud Day 2012

7th March 2012

I am so excited for today’s post and have been looking forward to it for a couple of weeks because today is World Read Aloud Day: Change the World, Story by Story.

LitWorld has this to say about WRAD:

Worldwide at least 793 million people remain illiterate.

Imagine a world where everyone can read…

World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.

By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

Thankfully, I grew up in a household where books were always important. My mom and dad both love to read, and not only did my mom read and do great narration when she read to us, but in the summertime, we also chose a family book and read from it each night. These are such special memories for me. So, in honor of World Read Aloud Day, I asked my aunt if she would let me share my cousin’s newfound love of books in a video. My mom read her The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and illustrator Michael Smollin a few weeks ago, and she’s officially in love. Ella even got her own copy for her birthday and didn’t really want to open her other presents. She walks around saying, “Oh, I am so embarrassed” – her favorite line from the book. So here we are, Ella and her Gigi, reading The Monster at the End of the Book. I hope you enjoy, and I hope you take a chance to check out LitWorld and its message and consider making a donation.

I know. Cuteness overload. 🙂 So what’s your favorite book to read aloud or be read aloud?

P.S. I love listening to books, and Audible is a convenient, relatively inexpensive way to do that. Right now they are having a special where you can join for $7.50 for the first three months. You get one credit for an ebook each month. If you’ve ever priced audiobooks, you know that’s a deal. Plus, right now they’re running a $4.95 sale for members only. It would be a great time to join up!
[The Picky Girl makes a small percentage if you click on the affiliate link, fyi.]

Audiobook Review: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

27th February 2012

*I bought this book from Audible.

Sex, violence, and new, brilliant heights of using the “f” word, Beat the Reaper is the avant-garde dark and darker comedy thriller (is that such a thing?) about Pietra Brnwa/Dr. Peter Brown/Bearclaw, a doctor who, as a member of the Witness Protection Program, has a past, a past he tells about between popping pills, checking on patients, and trying to figure out the guy with stomach cancer who has just blown his cover. As a teen, Brnwa’s grandparents are brutally murdered, and he figures out they were a hit for new mafia members being “made.” He trains in martial arts, befriends the son of a well-known mafia member, and ingratiates himself to the family. And by family, yes, I mean the family. Brnwa is selective, though, only taking hits he feels are justified: no women, no children, and he kills only after verifying the guy is scum. But the mob has ways of turning the tables and when Pietra wants out, the mob isn’t ready to let go. When they try to catch up to him, Brnwa realizes he isn’t ready to sacrifice his current life to run from the problems he created.

Bazell’s novel is alternately shocking, gag-inducing, hilarious, and intensely suspenseful. Brnwa narrates his story, talking directly to the reader, like he’s chatting in a bar. No holds barred. You can’t help but like him even though he is everything you should hate: a drugged-out, sexist, violent, killer asshole. But he’s funny…in a sick and twisted sort of way:

The fifth or sixth room I enter is that of Duke Mosby, easily the patient I currently hate least. He’s a ninety-year-old black male in for diabetes complications that now include gangrene of both feet. He was one of ten black Americans who served in Special Forces in World War II, and in 1944 he escaped from Colditz. Two weeks ago he escaped from this very room at Manhattan Catholic Hospital. In his underpants. In January. Hence the gangrene.

Plus, he’s so damn truthful. I’d be tempted to say he’s an unreliable narrator because he swallows so many drugs during his shift I lost count, but there are also these moments where he’s so lucid and spot on, like when he compares humans to animals:

It’s a weird curse, when you think about it. We’re built for thought, and civilization, more than any other creature we’ve found. And all we really want to be is killers.

Brnwa isn’t what you expect him to be. At all. Neither is this book, and I swear to you, I’m not joking when I say it’s one of the most graphic, most obscene (in language) books I’ve read, but I absolutely loved it. Robert Petkoff narrates, and between the writing and his voice, I thought it was one of the more perfect audiobooks I’ve bought. Petkoff matches Brnwa’s sardonic cynicism perfectly, and I couldn’t ask for a better audio experience.

Has anyone other than Elyse of Pop Culture Nerd read this? If so, what did you think? Have you ever read a book that is totally out of your comfort zone but that you loved?

Audiobook Review: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

23rd January 2012

*I bought and listened to the audiobook through Audible.

Watson begins The House of Silk by explaining why this story is just now coming to light, 100 years after being written: the mystery and the case were much too shocking for late 19th century London. When Edmund Carstairs initially seeks out Sherlock’s help because an Irish gang member, a man in a flat cap is following him, neither Sherlock nor Watson have any idea how deep and ghastly the case will become. Neither man expects one of the Baker Street Irregulars to be brutally killed. Nor do they expect for Sherlock himself to be placed under suspicion for a murder. However, both must use the height of their skills to solve the crime and help clean up the dark alleys of the great city.

I listened to the magnificent Derek Jacobi narrate this book, and he was absolutely perfect. He achieved Watson’s wistfulness for the old days as well as his unwillingness to relate the sordidness of the story he has to relate, even telling the reader right off that he is entrusting the manuscript to be published 100 years after his death.

As the only Holmes authorized by the Doyle estate, Horowitz had big shoes to fill, and, as a Holmes’ fan, I must say he did an impeccable job. The cast of characters – including Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, and Mycroft – were all on target, and the mystery itself was complex and enthralling.

However, my absolute favorite parts were the beginning and the ending where Watson reminisces about his days with Holmes. His words were so endearing, and the relationship between this unlikely duo is partly what makes these mysteries so successful. Horowitz understands this in a way I’m not sure many of the other spinoff authors do, and that absolutely made this book for me.

Also, if you haven’t picked up any of Holmes and Watson’s adventures in the past, don’t worry: The House of Silk is a great read for longtime fans or those new to Sherlock.

The game is indeed afoot my friends. Who of you has accepted the challenge?

Other reviews:

Pop Culture Nerd

Linus’s Blanket

Devourer of Books

Book Addict Katie

Audiobook Review: Dr. No by Ian Fleming

15th November 2011

Bond is in the doghouse because of a botched assignment in From Russia With Love. Of course, being in a British doghouse involves M staring daggers at Bond and speaking in harsh metaphors, along with sending him on an easy case in Jamaica to lie in the sun and hold down the fort after two agents disappear.

Strangways and the other agent are thought to have run off together, but having met Strangways on a case in Live and Let Die, Bond isn’t so sure. When he discovers Strangways was investigating several odd deaths in connection with Crab Key Island, Bond’s suspicions are increased.

The island is home to Dr. No and a natural moneymaker – guano – along with a small reserve home to roseate spoonbills, owned by the Audubon Society. Dr. No is not someone you want to mess with. Quarrel, another recurring figure from Live and Let Die, and Bond encounter trouble right away: auto accidents, poisoned fruit, and what is one of the most tense scenes I’ve read in a while – a killer centipede.

Dr. No is one of the best-paced Bond novels I’ve read so far, with Bond and Quarrel prepping and investigating before checking out Crab Key in person. Once on the island, they meet Honeychile Rider, who is innocently trolling for shells. Quickly, they are discovered and have to fend for themselves in Dr. No’s deadly island traps.

I enjoy this challenge more and more as time passes, and honestly Simon Vance is the voice of Bond for me. I don’t even want to pick up the print copies because I miss his voice reading to me. I know Jennifer of Literate Housewife agrees. 🙂

 

If you want to join in the Shaken Not Stirred Audiobook Challenge, we are most likely taking December off – join us!

See my other Bond reviews here:

Casino Royale

Live and Let Die

Moonraker

Diamonds Are Forever

Audiobook review: And Then There Were None

30th June 2011

*You can purchase the audio from Audible or the print version from Indiebound.

Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;

One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Indian boys travelling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in half and then there were six.
Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Indian boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Indian boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Indian boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two Little Indian boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Indian boy left all alone;

He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

Ah, folk songs and nursery rhymes. So sweet. So simple. So nice to fall asleep to… Wait, no they’re actually not. Ten people die in the one above – and pretty nastily, might I add. Jack and Jill and Humpty Dumpty – well, we know what happens to them. Rough stuff, peeps. Best not to think about it.

Agatha Christie, though, oh ho, she thought about it, and the rhyme above now scares the pants off me, thankyouverymuch. You see, ten people, introduced in the first chapters of the book, are all heading to Indian Island, under very different pretenses. Invitations to see old friends, offers of employ, and free vacations to check out a new place have all been issued to lure these particular guests. Yet, when all the guests arrive at the house on Indian Island, no hosts are present. Instead, each guest has a room with the above nursery rhyme hung on the wall, and there are ten little china Indian figurines centered on the dining room table…until they begin disappearing as rapidly as the guests die off.

And that, my friends, is how to set the scene. No one else is on the island, and there is no hope of getting off it, leaving the ten people to think about just what they did to land themselves in such a deadly predicament, each hoping against hope he or she will be the one to survive. [insert scary echoing laugh here.]

I listened to this on audiobook as a way to get myself to the gym. Not only did I go to the gym, I stayed on the machine much longer than normal then decided to return to lay out by the pool and listen. I have read a lot of mysteries in my time, so I kept waiting for the moment when I would figure out the identity of the murderer. Not gonna happen. Not only did I not guess, but I was blown away by the ending of this book and listened to it a couple of times in disbelief that my mystery-genius-ness failed me. And Hugh Fraser? He was excellent in keeping the characters separate without driving me crazy with different pitches. It’s difficult to describe, but he gave each character a slightly unique inflection while still not disrupting the flow of the reading. I have already added some of Hugh Fraser’s other narrations to my wish list on Audible.com.

I know some of you out there are big Agatha Christie fans. I read several in high school, but it was a pretty (cough cough) long time ago. Any recommendations on which I just have to read next? And have audiobooks made you do anything out of character recently? After all, it’s the last day of June, which IS Audiobook Month…

jenn aka the picky girl