Town asked in a comment how I choose which books to listen to and which to read. I’m not entirely sure what the answer is, but here are some things that factor in.

If someone recommends a book, I look it up in my library’s catalog and put it on hold. If there is an audio version available, I might spot that and put it on hold instead (only unabridged). If I’m getting low on audio books at home, I’ll look through my holds list and find something with an audio version to switch it over. Or I might browse through the lists of recently added audio titles in the catalog.

Since I started listening to audio books, I’ve been feeling my way around and trying to figure out exactly what it is that makes me love an audio book. There are certain types that I just stay away from – for instance, I love my children’s lit, but on audio they can be deadly slow. There are exceptions, of course – the Bunnicula books, The Giver, The Tale of Despereaux – but I’ve gotten bogged down in a few because with the book in front of me, I could’ve read much faster, or skimmed slow bits, or what have you. So I’m unlikely to look for the younger titles on audio, unless I know the narrator is trust-worthy. Young adult is more of a mixed bag, where I’ve found a few that didn’t feel substantial enough to hold up to the format, but quite a few others that I loved on audio, like Feed or A Countess Below Stairs.

Substance does seem to have a lot to do with it – with something like Gilead, the slower pace suited the language and style and the reading brought out aspects of the book that I may not have noticed on my own. Or if a story is already familiar, audio is a good way to reread – I went through all the Lord Peter Wimsey and Josephine Tey books this way, and a few Jane Austens. If something is light and fluffy, I want to be able to skim and speed through it. Sometimes a book just sounds like fun on audio, like High Fidelity or Three Men in a Boat, where the dialogue and pace are suited to being told rather than read.

So that’s kind of the answer to the question…and my goodness, I feel like I’ve just been writing up something to contribute to a class discussion. Sheesh. I guess that’s what comes out at 9 am.

On to lighter topics…

Or not – I just realized that the other thing I wanted to talk about was Laika and how it’s a sob-fest tearjerker of a graphic novel about the first dog in space. Me, little ol’ not-an-animal-person me, stayed up till 1 am the other night to finish a graphic novel about a dog in space. Sure, graphic novels in my experience have been hard to put down once you start – it’s so easy to read just one more page! So that part isn’t surprising. But I’ve never been a dead dog person, or even a huge dog person. Take it from me – you don’t have to be one to cry your eyes out over this puppy. Um, apparently I mean the puppy part literally. I wrote it up the other day, but my mind just keeps going back to it – there’s substance, emotion, and the feeling of seeing a story that is so perfectly suited to being told in the graphic novel format. It really doesn’t feel like a kids’ book, so consider it recommended regardless of age.

It’s only October and I’m already started to get antsy about this year’s childrens book awards – I want to know what will win, already! I’ve got to find a mock-something or other to distract myself.

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