Give Audiobooks a Try!

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A year and a half ago, I was NOT a fan of audiobooks. Let me tell you! I turned up my nose at the thought of someone else reading these books to me. But, I have a secret for you. I am a slow reader. So when my reading schedule started to overrun every aspect of my life, I finally caved. It was a learning curve, not gonna lie. I am such a visual learner that retaining anything strictly via audio, was near impossible.

So I eased myself into it.

I started listening to books for which I already had the print copies. Following along with the narrator as they read. Pretty soon, I could listen to a book while I did the dishes, and I felt so much more accomplished by the end of the day.

Today, I am encouraging you to give audiobooks a try, too! I will give you a heads up, it may take some trial and error before you find narrators and/or genres that you mesh well with. Fantasy novels, with 5,000 main characters can be really hard to follow along with if you are reading the story for the first time. I have also found audiobooks to be extremely useful when there is a book that I want to re-read but can’t fit it into my “print book” schedule.

There are several different services for audiobooks: Audible, SCRIBD (my personal favorite) and the public libraries use Libby among others.

A few of my personal favorite audiobook titles are:

Contemporary Fiction

True to You
Becky Wade

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. (BETHANY HOUSE, May 2017)

Dear Mr. Knightley
Katherine Reay

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain. (THOMAS NELSON, Nov 2013)

Always Watching
Lynette Eason

When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son. But when Wade's bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. (REVELL, FEB 2016)

Historical Romance

The Lady and the Lionheart
Joanne Bischof

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. (MASON JAR BOOKS, Aug 2016)

From this Moment
Elizabeth Camden

Stella West's artistic talent made her the toast of London, but when her beloved sister dies under mysterious circumstances she abandons everything and heads for Boston. With single-minded determination she fights to pierce the ring of secrecy surrounding her sister's death. (BETHANY HOUSE, June 2016)

Young Adult

Lunar Chronicles
Marissa Meyer

A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth's fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. (SQUARE FISH, Jan 2012)

Unblemished Trilogy
Sara Ella

Eliyana has always recoiled from her own reflection in the mirror. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world existed where her blemish could become her strength? (THOMAS NELSON, Oct 2016)

Children

Hank the Cow Dog
John R. Erickson

The popular Hank the Cowdog series is based on the humorous antics of the canine Head of Ranch Security. In the first book, Hank and his little buddy, Drover, set out to solve a series of baffling murders on the ranch. Is Hank a suspect? An Outlaw? Can he clear his good name? (VIKING JUVENILE, 1980)

HAPPY LISTENING!


Rachel Dixon enjoys reading, reviewing books, and sharing her passion for literature at www.bookwormmama.org. She's a virtual assistant and shares the small-town life with her husband and children.

Fearless Readers: Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

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We readers are creatures of habit and some of us are downright compulsive when it comes to our books (and that’s okay, this is a safe space) but don’t allow your comfort zone to become a reading rut! Let’s walk through a few options for revitalizing your reading routine. Be brave, friend, the reward is worth the risk for fearless readers!

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Are you a one-genre loyalist? Try something new! If you’re a little nervous, choose an author you enjoy who consistently writes in multiple genres or one who has crossed over from your favorite genre to something new. Another way to diversify your reading is to pick up a time slip (books with more than one timeline, usually featuring both a contemporary and a historical plot which are somehow intertwined) or a book from a different subgenre (ex. romantic comedy or Amish suspense).

Does size really matter? It shouldn’t! There are excellent, well-crafted stories in all lengths and formats. Big books, short stories, novellas, multi-author collections, flash fiction, multi-book series, and of course, individual standalone titles. Plus, there’s the consideration between mass paperback dimensions versus the larger trade versions. Sure, there’s something for everyone but why not try a new size? You may find it’s the perfect fit for your mood or time frame.

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Not to start a debate here because we all know die-hard readers in each camp but for those of us who want to maximize our story time, it makes sense to utilize all available mediums. Traditionalists will continue to cling to (and sniff) their print copies but why not add an ebook app on your smartphone or tablet or pick up an ereader to streamline your library? Audiobooks make multitasking a breeze and stories while traveling are no longer limited by motion sickness.

We all have our favorite authors but finding a new favorite is a special kind of bookish delight. Risking your reading time on an unknown author can be scary but there are a few ways to make an informed decision. Let someone else do the heavy lifting for you! Ask your local librarian, find a book blogger or professional review source (tah-dah, you found us!) and get to know some hard-core reviewers. If they like books you like, chances are their picks will be a good fit for you!

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When it comes to enriching your reading experience, there’s a special bond among readers so connect with your fellow book lovers on social media or in person! Share reading recommendations, discuss books, authors, and trends. Consider attending a book club, many authors are even happy to video chat if your group reads one of their books. Find a book signing or reader event and meet your favorite author face-to-face!

Break free, reader friends! Be fearless and fabulous! Happy reading!


Beth is an Associate Editor of Hope By The Book, a Christian fiction enthusiast, book reviewer, and the blogger behind FaithfullyBookish.com. She is passionate about encouraging authors and fellow readers everywhere.