Listen to Audiobooks?

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Photo Credit: What Red Read

Many make the claim that the discussion is only about print vs. ebooks. And I’d tend to agree with that assessment, but audiobooks should at least be mentioned, right?

My experience with audiobooks is quite minimal. My art teacher in elementary school would play audiobooks while we worked. Did I enjoy these? Yes. Did I become fully immersed in the story like I do with print or ebooks? No. At my school we had three different outclasses (I think that’s what they were called). Art, Music, and PE. Which meant we had one every three days. So if I had art on a Wednesday, then I wouldn’t have it again until Monday. Not exactly ideal for getting lost in a story.

With that being said, I can still name a few of the audiobooks she played for us. Let’s see. Several books by Lemony Snicket. Holes by Louis Sachar. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And I’m certain that if I sat down and really thought about it that I could come up with more. One of the reasons that I remember this particular class so well is that there were some audiobooks that EVERYONE in the class would always want to hear over and over. The students didn’t care how often they’d already listened to something, they thoroughly enjoyed them.

Now I can sit back and think of other times in my life in which I could have taken advantage of the convenience of audiobooks and I realize I had the perfect opportunity just a few short years ago. In the fall of 2010 during my first semester in college I made the very stupid decision to take a 4:00-5:15 class. Why did I do this? Because a high school friend just happened to be in the class and we thought it would be in the same class. Well Jessica, it wasn’t (don’t worry, she doesn’t read this). My university was located in downtown Houston. So the normally 20-35 minute drive became almost two hours during rush hour traffic. I was getting home just before 7:00 every Tuesday and Thursday. Why am I telling you this? Because imagine the number of audiobooks I could have listened to throughout that semester. I had more than two hours in the car two of my four class days a week. Eh. Wasn’t meant to be.

So now that you know about when I did listen to audiobooks and when I missed out on the opportunity, tell me about you? Do you listen to them everyday or maybe a few times a month or not at all like me?

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Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia

First off, I KNOW you guys didn’t believe my whole thing yesterday about going to the World Cup. Come on. I work weekends. I don’t have anything remotely resembling a rich family or girlfriend/wife. So where the heck would I get the thousands of dollars I’d need to be traveling for two months? The lottery? No.

Back to this post. You guys might have forgotten that I decided to tackle all the books on this list when it was first released in February. This will be the fourth book I read from the list since then and the seventh book I’ve read from it overall. But enough with the pleasantries, you guys probably want to know what I thought of the book.

Fault in Our Stars

I know I don’t need to waste time telling you guys what the book is about because who hasn’t read this book, so I’m not. Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters meet at their cancer Support Group and everything that follows is nothing short of wonderful.

My Thoughts

I’m writing the rest of this under the impression that you’ve read the book, if not, this is your warning to turn your eyes away from the screen. Well, this book has a huge amount of hype going right now. For me, I think it was able to live up to it. Let me tell you the million and one things that I liked about it. LOVED Hazel and Augustus as characters, as a couple, as thinkers, basically everything about them. Loved Hazel’s approach to everything. Loved how they both could quote An Imperial Affliction like no tomorrow. Excuse the language, but I loved how amidst everything that was going on between her and Augustus and her illness, Hazel was able to call Peter Van Houten on his shit. Yes, of course it’s later revealed that he had a daughter who died of cancer at the so very young age of eight, and Hazel changed it up a bit from constantly yelling at him.

I realize my thoughts are just spilling out at random, but that’s okay. I thought it was seriously fantastic that Augustus Waters called her Hazel Grace throughout the entire book even though at the very start she told him just Hazel. And I thought it was great to see that Hazel rarely broke down for any reason during the book. I’m thinking when she lay in her backyard in front of the swing set and of course after Augustus died. Both times guess who ultimately cheered her up, Gus.

Lastly, you all are probably wondering if I cried even though I’ve mentioned that I’m a notorious cryer when reading books. Yes. Just once, at the very end as Hazel is reading what Gus sent Van Houten before he died. This was the line that got me for some reason. I was at 98% on my Kindle.

“-I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever?”

He was dying and he knew it, and he STILL couldn’t stop thinking about Hazel. I mean, seriously, how freaking great is that? So yes, I cried the whole time as Hazel read what Gus so eloquently wrote to Van Houten about her.

You guys may or may not remember that I rank all the books I read. The books from the Amazon list rank as follows: Anne Frank is #1, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is #22, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is unranked, and this one comes in at #13 just behind The Hunger Games on my list.

Now if only I could find a girl who’s read this book, then maybe I might go see the movie.

Oh, and tell me Hazel Grace Lancaster isn’t the greatest name in the history of ever.

Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read: 17. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Photo Credit: Penguin

I must first apologize to you guys. I had said that the next book I’d be reading from the Amazon list would be A Wrinkle in Time. My bad. It WILL be the next one now because it’s the only book I currently have from the list. But that doesn’t matter yet. The purpose of this post is to talk about the book I did read, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Let’s jump right in.

The Chocolate Factory

The book begins by introducing the reader to the family of Charlie Bucket. You immediately realize that his family is experiencing some hard times. He lives in a house that is much too small for his family of seven, four of which are grandparents. They barely have enough to eat. And Charlie gets excited once a year on his birthday when he receives a whole chocolate bar for himself. Then life becomes even more difficult for the Bucket family. His father loses his job and can’t find full-time work elsewhere. The family begins to starve, literally. Until world famous chocolate genius Willy Wonka announces that he’ll allow five children inside his factory for one day. All you need is one of five golden tickets. The first four are quickly found. Then Charlie finds a dollar bill on the ground during his walk home one day. He buys two chocolate bars and the second has the final golden ticket. The following day Willy Wonka takes the five children on a tour of his factory and one by one each of the children act out and are taken from the group until only Charlie and his grandpa remain. This is when Willy Wonka reveals the real reason for his tour. He’s giving his factory to Charlie. All of it.

My Thoughts

I definitely enjoyed the book. Would I call it one of the best books I’ve ever read? No. I realize that Roald Dahl is one of those iconic authors of the twentieth century who everyone seems to have read at some point. This book just didn’t make me want to go buy his other well-known works. I have some issues with the book. There were WAY too many exclamation marks. I’m talking in the hundreds. Yes, Willy Wonka is enthusiastic and energetic, but I couldn’t read any more dialogue ending in an exclamation mark if my life depended on it. I honestly believe the dialogue took away from the book. I liked Charlie as a character and liked the chapter titles, and the book itself wasn’t bad, but I’m actually surprised to find this book on the Amazon list. I’m thinking this was one of those body of work kind of picks.

You’ll recall that I have my own list of the best books I’ve ever read and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank ranks #1 and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ranks #21. This book didn’t make the list at all. It’s currently 113 titles.

I’ve seen the first movie and enjoyed it but not the more recent one. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book.

I’ve now read seven books from the list.