I suck at reading and still go through a good 5-10 books a month. Isn’t that so special?! How do I do it? Glad you asked.
Welcome to the first ever installment of Soleil’s Book Club (or #soleilreads on Instagram)! This was a suggestion from my sweet photographer friend Leda and I’m so grateful! But the conversation went more like (in my head of course) “Ugh, ok, but, like, who cares what I think of books?” and she continued (in actual conversation as if she read my mind) with “Talk about Audiobooks and rate the narrators”! Leda, you beautiful genius.
If you don’t follow me on Insta, you’re missing out because my Stories are kinda hilarious. I realize what I’m about to say may contradict the “kinda hilarious” statement, but follow me here. You can frequently see me rocking my Bose QC35 II headphones because I’m “reading” while I work. Y’all. I’m, like, so cool.
I don’t actually suck at reading. I can read. I learned a long time ago, thank you very much. I suck at making the time to read a physical book. Here’s how I go through a good 5-10 books a month:
- Most audio books can be “read” (listened to) between 6-12 hours. My work day is 4-8 hours.
- Read what interest you. That’s simple, right? Sometimes friends’ suggestions get a little out of hand and I’ll force myself through that read. (Example of this is Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It’s another Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Red Queen, etc. type of series. I’m so over it.) If it’s hard to get through, move on.
- I listen while I work, while I drive, while I do mundane chores around the house, connected to either a bluetooth speaker or my headphones. Why my headphones? It’s noise cancelling! I can escape into the world of the read without the distraction of city living sounds.
- Read a series! Anne Rice is a huge favorite of mine! I’ll start with Interview of the Vampire, move on immediately to The Vampire Lestat, go on to The Queen of the Damned, and so on. Because I’m familiar with the characters, content, and the author’s writing style, it’s an brisk read. Another series by Anne Rice that I whipped through was The Mayfair Witches series that starts off with The Witching Hour.
- Challenge yourself by reading a book that will soon be a movie! If they took the time to turn the book/series into a movie, it’s gotta be good! I will say though, it took WORK for me to get through reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett versus watching the movie (which is wonderful and still very relevant in today’s political and cultural climate).
Opps! Went off topic there by offering suggestions!
Here are the audio book apps/services I use:
- Audible. It’s my FAVORITE. My credit drops once a month and I COUNT DOWN THE DAYS. Ask Katie.
- Pros: It’s a beautiful, easy to use app. I have hundreds of books at my disposal. (Yes, you can keep the books even if you cancel your subscription.) The Audible app also comes with “Channels” (yes, kinda like a tv with different stations) and a collection of free books & podcasts that are exclusive to Audible Members. My current favorite is Esther Perel’s Where Should We Begin?. Another awesome thing about Audible? They don’t penalize you for not liking the book! You can exchange the book or simply return it for another credit.
- Cons: 1 credit a month with the option to buy 3 extra credits at a discounted rate.
- Cost: $14.95/month. You can add a Romance Package for an additional $6.95 per month which allows you to access thousands of free romance books and exclusive Audible romance themed content. I’m not a romance book reader (unless a highly recommended book comes along) so I passed on this.
- Referral Discount Program: It sucks that there is no referral program for listeners BUT I did find a way around this. If you want to become an Audible member, I would suggest signing up for Shopkick FIRST. (If you choose to follow the program for points, be sure to add invite code “COOL391351” to receive 250 points!) Go to Stores > Amazon Subscriptions > Online Kick Offers > Audible Gold. You can knock down your first three months to $4.99 a month! $30 savings, dude! Take it!
- OverDrive. Your local library in an app!
- Pros: Free (well, for 21 days at a time) books! You can read the books with your eReader (Kindle, PDF, iBooks, Nook, etc.) or listen to an audio book (mp3) once downloaded onto your app.
- Cons: This requires you to have a local library card. There is usually always a waiting list for the popular books. Believe it or not, I’ve been waiting for my current read (at the time of this publication) Into the Water by Paula Hawkins for 8 months. Oh, and libraries don’t have every book. If you can manage it (depending on the rules in your county), get multiple library cards that way you can broaden your search & check out success.
- Hoopla. It’s like a second library card!
- Pros: Free movies, tv shows, books, music, and audio books! You can read the books with your eReader (Kindle, PDF, iBooks, Nook, etc.) or listen to an audio book (mp3) once downloaded onto your app. Movies, TV shows, and Music can all be listened to within the app.
- Cons: FIVE day check out for books, even less time for movies and music. If you’re planning a trip and want to download a movie, do so THAT DAY. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.
- Audiobooks.com. Another subscription based app with the occasional free content.
- Pros: Another beautiful, easy to use app.
- Cons: It’s hard to compete against Audible OR a library card that gives you automatic access to free (to read within the check out period) books. I do not own a subscription to this app. I usually browse it’s content when I’m out of books and needing a “rebound” read. (Kinda like a relationship, when my time with a book is over, I need a trash fill in book to help ease the pain.)
A note on eReaders (Kindle, Nook, iBook, any other service I’m missing): They are my GO-TO for vacation (or books that aren’t available on audio yet). Once upon a time, I cringed at the sight of an eReader because how could you replace the feel and smell of a book? My avid reader friends KNOW what I’m talking about here. But then, I grew up. I’d rather have a light weight eReader that fits in my purse and has an extensive collection of downloaded books with me than a few (or dozen) books on my person whilst on vacation. It’s just how I prefer it, ok? Don’t hate me!
Okay, folks! Ready for the fun part? The Current Read Awards!
First up, Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo Da Vinci.
Guess what?! I married into a family of readers. You’re not surprised by that at all, are you? (I mean, my three year old nephew is reading full Peppa Pig books like it ain’t no thang.) My in-laws know I have a soft spot for historical biographies (Surprise! I’m an even bigger geek than you thought I was!) so they (Santa) gifted this HEAVY book to me. I was rude for the rest of the Gift Opening Ceremonies (I’m calling it that from now on) and snuck some quick reads. I’m slow at finishing physical books (with work and life and all) so I’m still working on this. It’s beautifully written! (If you’re a historical biography reader yourself, check out everything written by Ron Chernow!)
Second, my read before I watch the movie: The Beguiled by Thomas Cullinan.
It’s simple. Whatever Nicole Kidman is in, I watch. Whatever Sofia Coppola directs, I watch. Whatever book inspired a powerhouse group of women to create for screen, I READ. I pick this up when I need a break from technology (and education, see above) and I have a hard time putting it down.
- No, I’m not reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I finished that a long time ago. Guilty! I used it for the picture.
- However, I am half way through Red Rising by Pierce Brown because, fuck it, I’m 8 hrs and 13 minutes in. And I promised TWO friends I’d tell them what I thought of it. They aren’t going to like it, though…
- Into the Water by Paula Hawkins is my true current read.
- Shockaholic by Carrie Fischer
- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Recent Reads I’ve Loved:
- You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson
- Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
- Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
- The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright
- Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemmings by Stephen O’Connor
- Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
- The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
- America, You Sexy Bitch by Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black
- Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
- Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
- The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
- Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Yes Please by Amy Poehler
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Favorite Books & Author:
- Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
- Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Ok, Readers! Drop me a list of your suggestions! I always need suggestions!