Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Salon: Miscellanea

Lord of MisruleHappy Sunday! I was grateful for the extra hour of sleep this morning thanks to Daylight Savings time. I'm thrilled to have the night off from work too. It's an incredibly rare treat to have a Sunday off, and I'm planning to use mine to dig into Jaimy Gordon's Lord of Misrule. It's a lovely, crisp, sunny day, and I hope to enjoy a few hours of reading in the backyard. The temperature is in the mid-forties and it feels lovely! Lord of Misrule is a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction, and the publisher kindly moved up the date after the finalists were announced. We're only ten days from the winner's announcement, so once again, I probably won't make my goal of reading all of the finalists before the announcement. I finished Great House by Nicole Krauss, and my review is coming this week. I still have I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita and Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey to read, and both are on my shelf waiting for me. I'm traveling next weekend, and I've been saving Jonathan Franzen's Freedom for my trip on my Kindle (connecting flights!). I'm really looking forward to reading it, and I'd rather travel with my Kindle than with library books.

Audio books
I'm trying to convert myself into audio books, and it's beginning to work. I've never been opposed to them, but I have a short commute. This semester I'm spending more time driving, and I've been enjoying Adriana Trigiani's Very Valentine for about a month now. I just started the last disc, so I hope to finish it this week. The trick for me, I think, is getting the right kind of book on audio. I don't want something to suspenseful because I don't feel the need to find excuses to drive just to listen. I also tend to dislike literary fiction on audio. Even though it's my favorite genre, I'm a note-taker, and I can't record my favorite passages when I listen on audio.

I also checked out my first Playaway from the library this week: Sara Gruen's Ape House. Playaways are amazing; they are a player with only the book loaded on it. My library is kind enough to include a battery and headphones, but you can also use your own. If you have a car adapter, you can play it through your car stereo too. Without the hassle of loading cds or downloadable audio books onto my iPod, I can simply carry the Playaway around to use at the gym, in the car, while doing dishes and grocery shopping. I'm definitely a convert, and my library has over 1000 available.

Best of Year
Amazon released their Best of the Year lists this week, and it was fun to see their picks. I've been working on my own Best of 2010 list, which includes my favorite books from this year, regardless of when they were published. I won't publish mine until January 1, 2011, but it's been fun looking back on my year of reading to see so many favorites emerge. I won't limit myself to a certain number of books, but I'm aiming for around ten. I'm contemplating ranking them this year rather than dividing by genre as I did last year. This year I've mostly read literary fiction, and all of my current favorites are literary fiction.

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  1. I've never been able to get much into audio books, but I know I do have to try a bit more -- I think the ones that I've picked up in the past have been just either horrible stories or horrible readers. I've heard so much about this format now, that I really must give it a go!

  2. My husband and I are just starting our love affair with audio books. We had some ups and downs with the Hunger Games Trilogy, and are now listening to David Sedaris, who I heart very much. I love the idea of the Playaway, and wish that my library would get on board and get some of these incredible sounding devices! I hope you enjoy your time off and have a great reading week!

  3. I love audiobooks! I'm glad you're finding some that work for you. For me, there are definitely some books that work and some that don't. The reader plays a huge part, too--some just don't work for me.

    If you like Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants was a fantastic audiobook!


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