Tuesday, June 24, 2014

AUDIO BOOKS, PAINTING, & WEEDS

Last summer I started painting the trim on our garden shed but, before I could finish, the rains came (every day for the rest of the summer, it seems) and I lost momentum. 

I really need to get that finished so I checked two audio books out of the library yesterday.  Audio books are my companions while I paint, scrub, or pull weeds and sometimes while driving on a long trip by myself.

I just finished listening to The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.


I'd heard much about it and figured I'd need a box of tissues to get me through. I did like the book. I especially enjoyed paying attention to how Green developed the relationship between the two teens. Maybe my mind was on the mechanics of his writing and storytelling because I did not cry. But I also wonder if listening made the difference. Would I have entered the story in a different way if I'd been reading? I haven't really analyzed whether listening makes a difference for me.

Either way, the book got me out of my computer chair and through some hot, dirty gardening and yard clean up. And yes, the story gave me lots to ponder on the meaning of life, how it might feel to know one is dying, and also how we respond to people who are ill. I do resonate with these themes.  Why else would I write about polio,disability, and leprosy

Audio Book Bonus:  There's a cool interview with Green on his audio. It's hard not to like that guy! 

Now, I'm counting on getting lots of work done while listening to Forge by Laurie Halse Andersen



and Hokey Pokey  by Jerry Spinelli.


By the time I'm through  these two audio books I hope to have painted the deck & some lawn furniture, and to have weeded quite a few veggie and flower gardens. 

And, oh yeah, the garden shed needs to be finished. I have a feeling I'll leave it for last on account of -you know - ladders and cobwebs. Or rain.

Question: How do you feel about listening versus reading?

23 comments:

  1. I like listening to audiobooks, but not as much as reading. It's too easy for my mind to wander while I'm listening to a book. And then I miss important details, and get too lazy to back up and find my spot again.
    I felt the same way about The Fault In Our Stars. It didn't make me cry either, but I really enjoyed it - especially the writing style. I felt like he mastered writing teenage conversation - with hanging sentences and... you know? We are always making statements, but saying them with a question mark on the end. Why don't people write that into their books more often?

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    1. Ruthie, that's true - backing up is hard to do. It's easier to reread than to rewind. Will you see the movie? I assume I will need the box of tissues for that. Will likely wait for DVD though.

      Agreed on the topic of realistic dialogue.

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  2. I love audiobooks. Have been a member of audiobooks.com since 2004. My favorite listen is on the back of a motorcycle. Check out audiobooksync.com. It is a reading program for young people with two free audiobook downloads per week.

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    1. Wow! On the back of a motorcycle? Who knew? That might actually help me enjoy the ride. ;) I'm a little it scared of motorcycles. Thanks Cindy, for the link. I'll check it out.

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  3. I love audio books. Read way more that way. I tired to download the Fault in Our Stars and I think it's on my computer somewhere--but can't seem to figure out how to load it. I'd rather paint a shed then figure out more technology. congrats on reappearing the blogosphere.

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    1. It was kind of fun showing up on the blogosphere, Carol. I do know you've enjoyed a lot of books on audio. Do you think they engage you as fully as if you'd read them?

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  4. I take audiobooks as my companions when I'm driving long distances. I reach my destination before I know it and have had the opportunity to "read" a book I wouldn't have had time for at home. How well the audiobook vs. hard copy works for me depends entirely on the reader. My latest trip was with Sue Monk Kidd's THE INVENTION OF WINGS read by Jenna Lemia and Adepero Oduye with the author's notes read by Sue herself, wonderfully transporting me into the story. Enjoy, Joyce!

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    1. Peggy, I'm with you on the driving while listening thing. Sometimes it almost makes me not want to be there yet! But if hubby is driving I prefer being on my laptop writing my own stories.

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  5. Hmmmm. Listening to audio books while working or driving sounds like a good way to pass the time. Deafness disallows that option. It's ok. Sometimes I don't want my head cluttered with noise. I like letting my thoughts drift and following where go in those situations. Sometimes my thoughts cycle and I start singing the same song in my head, repeatedly. That's annoying! It would be good to have some intervention to direct my thinking when that happens!
    Regarding The Fault in our Stars: I didn't cry either. I guess I predicted from the beginning that the boy would die first. The story needed a twist from the chronology of the girl's disease ending in her death. So I read it waiting to see how that would play out. Another problem I had with the book is, I don't believe it could happen. This fall I cared for a 17 year old boy who died of cancer in December. With so few days left, there is no way that he would have had the energy or desire to flirt and encourage romance. Cancer is such an emotionally destructive disease. Edgar's attention was on his increasing and spreading pain, while trying to make his mind do the simple tasks of living. Although I enjoyed the banter, the book missed the mark for me.

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    1. Nancy, I understand. The same song will go through my head for days sometimes - even at night when I wake up I will be singing it. Yes, that is annoying!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book. I haven't fully analyzed whether the book felt true to me in terms of illness but I haven't had your up close and very personal experience with cancer so I might not know. I am so very sorry that you lost your dear Edgar.

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  6. I was a hot mess reading The Fault in Our Stars, I laughed a lot, too, but did my fair share of crying. I don't listen to audio books often. I have trouble focusing. Once in a while, my husband and I will listen to one on a long trip. Some years ago, we listened to On Writing while on a long car trip. If I remember correctly, Stephen King read it. It was good and I enjoyed it. We both did, but I really prefer to read a book printed on paper.

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    1. Rosi, I'm glad you really engaged with the story. I really appreciated the existential questions. Some of the references were a bit high brow for me and I don't know teens who are that literary but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I'm listening to hokey pokey right now and think I'd much rather be reading it.

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  8. I've had more than one person argue that listening to audio books really isn't reading. I worked for the NY Association for the Blind way back when, and I'd hate to think where my dear blind friends would be without audio books. I'm not blind, but I surely do love the way my life is enriched by listening to wonderful literature.

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  9. Love the picture of the shed...had never thought of listening to audio books while doing chores. I am usually on a tractor or using a weed eater; not conducive to listening I guess. I will add these books to my "want to read" list...thanks.

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    1. Laura, I imagine if Cindy can listen to audio book while riding motorcycle you might be able to do it while on a tractor. But maybe that's think time for you. To each her own! I'm not necessarily recommending these books although I'm not dissing them either. Forge is a sequel to Chains. The Fault in Our Stars is about 2 teens who are each dying of cancer. And Hokey Pokey - well, I am going to find out. Thanks for dropping by!

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  10. Love the shed!

    I saw The Fault in our Stars yesterday. I don't know if it's where I am in life, or what, but I cried through the whole dang movie. I've had a lot going on for quite a few years, I think the toll it has taken on me makes me weep easier. However, I don't think I would have cried with an audio book. The book probably would have made me cry in parts, but the movie had me in constant tears.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that Christy. I think the movie would affect me in a big way also. Like you, I've been extra weepy in general because of life. I am sorry about your life sorrows, though.

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  11. Joyce,
    I read The Fault in Our Stars shortly after it came out. I know it's high on charts, but I wasn't that fond of it. Like Nancy, parts of the book seemed very unrealistic. I have considered seeing the movie to see if I got swept into the story.

    Love your shed with painted trim! One for the magazines. Also, thanks for suggesting your technique--listening to books while working on chores. I have a friend who does her household chores while listening to books. Takes the boredom out of work and puts in pleasure. Love it. Inside and out.

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    1. Hey Linda - good to hear your take on the book. The shed now has purple and yellow added but I might take them off and scale back on the colors some. I'm listening to Jerry Spinelli's Hokey Pokey but hmmmm - had to listen to the first CD twice to figure out what is going on. Pretty sure I still don't know. At this rate I have a lot of painting ahead of me.

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  12. I find that I simply cannot get into a story if it is an audiobook. I have to actually read the book while it's in my hands to get the full experience. I have heard of The Fault in Our Stars, but I've yet to read it. It's been on my tbr for a while, but after your review I think I'm going to bump it up to the top! Nice post as always Joyce. Good luck with your gardening!

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    1. I love hearing from you, Anna! Do you read on E readers at all? If so,how does that compare to the paper version?

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  13. Hello Joyce! It's nice to hear from you as well! :) I have read on E-readers, and while I prefer them to audio books, my favorite is still the traditional printed book. I think something that really plays into E-readers is the size of the device. I have read on my phone, which is just too small, and I have read on a full sized E-reader, which is far more enjoyable. I still feel that nothing beats the experience of holding a true book in your hands.

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