The Perfect Reason to Take a Break

I don't know about you guys, but the constant up and down weather has me all thrown off. There was that weekend where the temperature was in the 50's, the epic raging thunderstorms, and the hail, oh how I wish I didn't have to experience hail twice in the past two weeks!

But there is a thin ray of sunshine hidden behind that big black thundercloud - we have a chance to plug in our earphones, brew a hot beverage, and just curl up to enjoy the sound of a melodic voice telling us a story. So fluff up those pillows, put your feet up, and use the weather as the perfect reason to just relax for a couple of hours.

Need some suggestions for the next time the storms hit? Check out some of my favorite comfort audiobooks:

The Jazz Age

The Great GatsbyA new film of The Great Gatsby will be released on May 10 and I can’t wait to see it.  The anticipation has me wanting to familiarize myself with the novel and the earlier movie versions, with

Audios Walk the Red Carpet

The Golden Globes and Oscars may have all been handed out, but fear not! The crème de la crème of 2012's audiobooks will be honored May 30 at the Audie Awards. Sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association, the Audie Awards recognize audiobooks who have achieved distinction in the spoken word. Get ready to cheer for your favorite book or narrator from the list of the nominees below:

Audiobook of the Year

Listen to a poem...

The Voices of Love: Great Love Poems…and you may find yourself compelled to slow down and leave your worries behind for at least a brief moment.  And that may be exactly what you need to recharge and refresh your mind. 

If you want to see if this works for you, or if it's been a while (or years!) since you thought about poetry, you might try one of these collections of poetry on CD or audiofile:

The Comfort of Food

Here are some good choices for those times when you just want a sweet diversion from life’s problems, or an inspiring story to make you want to keep on trying:

Christmas for Curmudgeons, Or: How I Learned to Stop Complaining and Love the Holidays

A flock of scroogesAnybody who’s been reading this blog at all regularly has picked up on, I’m sure, a certain misanthropic bent running just below its surface like a sewer line, and, for the most part, it’s not an act. Chances are pretty good that if I’m awake, I’m ranting. So you would think that this time of year would be my time to shine (so to speak) with all its factory-made good cheer and it’s nauseatingly first-world problems, but it’s not. The holidays are when the amateurs, the pikers, the poseurs and the part-time grumps come out to let us all know what wrong-headed sheep we are. In the last thirty or forty years, bah-humbugging has become an industry unto itself, and it’s gotten to the point now that the complaints against the holidays have become as raggedly clichéd as the clichés they pretend to combat.

Words in the Air: Poetry on Audio

Caedmon in stained glassAs most of us know, listening to poetry is nothing new. Poetry started out in the audio format. Rhyme and meter and many other poetic conventions were essentially mnemonic devices to help itinerant poets keep the story going so that they might earn a place by the fire for the night. Back then, a poet couldn’t read his stuff off the page making minimal eye-contact with the audience like we do now. For one thing, until relatively recently, there were no pages to read off of. For another, after getting conked on the head by a flying tankard or turkey leg hurled by some philistine in chain mail, poets figured out it paid to keep their hands free and their eyes peeled.

By Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonBenjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein,  and Steve Jobs.  What do these men have in common?

Mental Travel Escapes

A Year in the WorldIt may not be possible to take a real vacation this summer, but if you’re weary of the Texas heat and humidity, you can plan your dream trip -- and find some stress relief and mental escape -- all without leaving home or even spending a dime.  Here are some audiobooks that will send you magically elsewhere while you are coping with Houston traffic on a 99-degree afternoon.


Reading Romance Out Loud

romance audiosI am an avid audio book listener, but I don't usually listen to books from the romance genre.  The first reason is that I'm given to inappropriate giggling when hearing some chapters, rather than reading them, and that takes you right out of the story.  The second reason is that I think it is very hard to get the voices right for a romantic novel.  A recent experience I had listening to the latest by a favorite author made me recoil every time the narrator used a man's voice.  The voice she used for the hero reminded me of the millionaire on Gilligan's Island, who I'm sure was a very nice man, but not really the figure I wanted to imagine.

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