Monday, March 2, 2015

Audio That Speaks to You Wherever You Are (and a giveaway)

What did you do this weekend?  I hung drywall in the guest room with my long-suffering FIL and then stained the hall bath ceiling after he left.  I had hoped to drive down to Atlanta to see my mom while she was down there, but I was so sore when I woke up that the idea of sitting in the car for five hours sounded unbearable.  

Instead Matt and I took a much-needed day off and did some shopping and pizza eating and coffee drinking.  I finally found a mirror for the hall bath (holla!) and bought yet another throw pillow.  When Matt saw my shopping bag, he said "You do not need another pillow for that bed."

"No, this is for another bed." I assured him.

He might not like it, but he can't stop it.

Saturday night while I stained the bathroom and Matt cleaned the guinea pig cage (yes, we got guinea pigs.  Don't ask) we listened to The Screwtape Letters.  I find listening to audio books while doing mindless(ish) tasks like cleaning, staining, picking okra, to be an almost unbeatable enjoyment.  It helps that I have a 35 minute commute.  The trick to enjoying audio books is having long stretches of time to listen.  If you actually need to focus a little (like fixing pipes) then I like musicals.  But for long stretches of continuum, audio books are the best!

My Audible subscription is the only one I haven't cancelled in a fit of thriftiness (Netflix and Spotify always end up creeping back).  I know some people find it incomprehensible to have an Audible account when the library is full of books on tape for free. But it works well for me. 

Audible has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  So if you're 1/3 of the way through The Secret Keeper and you decide you really cannot take Australian Caroline Lee's British accent any longer, Audible will let you exchange it for something else.

Here are some of my all-time favorites:

"History is not just facts and events.  History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another's pain in the heart our own."

Sue Monk Kidd lives in South Carolina, and I once heard her speak at our local library.  Her books are extra special to me because of the small connection, but this book stands just fine on it's own. The Invention of Wings is inspired by the true story of Sarah Grimke, an abolitionist from Charleston, and the imagined story of her slave Handful.  It has two narrators and both are outstanding.  As usual, Sue Monk Kidd gives an incredible feel for the setting whether Charleston slave quarters or a beach in New Jersey.  Being grounded in fact keeps the book feeling authentic rather than sentimental; and although flawed, both narrators are easy to root for.

"Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one -- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."

I have a confession: I tried to read The Screwtape Letters three times and always lost momentum in about the third chapter.  Then it was the Audible Daily Deal, so I bought it for $2.99, and I could not stop listening (although, sometimes I had to to go to work.  Pesky details).  I've listened to it almost three times now all the way through, and I pick up something new every listen.  It's a quick listen (3:38), and the narrator's inflections perfectly capture the cunning and intelligence of Screwtape.  I cannot recommend this one enough!

"Oh, calamity!"

Liane Moriarty is my favorite current author.  I read her books for the witty conversations, the sly details that perfectly capture human emotions and interactions, and just the pure craft of how she puts her story together.  Big Little Lies begins with the revelation that a kindergarten parent has died at a school fundraiser, then goes back to the beginning and shows how the events unravel to lead up to the death. It centers around three women: Madeline, Celeste, and Jane and the messiness of modern families.  Caroline Lee is an incredible narrator (when she's using her Australian accent), and I listened to this twice all the way through.  Note: this book does have a few occasions of salty language and deals with some mature themes such as domestic violence.  I highly recommend it , but if you're listening in the car with children, you might want to be aware.  

"But I have told the truth.  Isn't that ironic?  They sent me because I am so good telling lies.  But I have told the truth."

Code Name Verity is another book I've listened to twice.  In fact, I was so eager to know how it ended, I bought the paper copy and finished it in the parking lot of my office before driving home one night.  A young English woman has been captured by Germans in occupied France during WWII.  She exchanges her story for her life, and through her narrative we learn how she ended up in France.  This story is almost perfect - the narration, the characters, the women air force pilots from WWII, the way it challenged my thinking about ethics in wartime.  Really, really good! (P.S. If you read it, can we discuss those ethics, because my head is still spinning a little).  This one has one (maybe two?) instance of strong language and some specifications (although not graphic descriptions) of torture.  

I'm offering one free audio book of choice to one of you! Just leave a comment here telling me what you did this weekend and a winner will be chosen at random.  This post is not sponsored.  I just really like Audible, and I really like all of you!

1. Please leave a comment saying what you did this weekend.  While I always appreciate FB comments, you will have to comment here to be counted in the number generator for the drawing.
2. Contest closes Thursday (3/5) at 11:59 pm.  
3. Winner will be announced on this blog Friday.
4. Winner can select any audio book from Audible, and I will email you a link to claim it.

** This post contains affiliate links. However, all products were purchased by me **


  1. I didn't do anything special--cooked a few things (potato salad, cole slaw, deviled eggs) and started some spring cleaning by cleaning all the items on top of the kitchen cabinets.

  2. I had a great weekend re connecting with an old friend from our days at Nursing School. I really enjoy Liane Moriarty as well. I usually listen to a sermon or Bible study while doing mindless tasks. It makes them a bit more enjoyable if ironing can be made enjoyable.:)

  3. Dan was gone, so we had a slumber party in my room. We piled into the bed and watched a bunch of Kid Snippets, then turned out the light at 9. I slept ok amid the kid snoring, kid coughing, and kid tapping on the bed at 2 am....

  4. I don't at all know how I didn't see this post until just now, but what I loved most about it is that you got a bathroom mirror. That's a big deal.

  5. I don't at all know how I didn't see this post until just now, but what I loved most about it is that you got a bathroom mirror. That's a big deal.


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