Tag Archives: audio

BIO POEHLER

26 May

yespleasepoehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler was one of those delightful surprises you didn’t know you had surprised yourself with until you’re in the middle of it and you can’t go back to better appreciate this gift you’ve given yourself.

I have heard from lots of friends that I “absolutely had to” read this book. So I resisted, naturally. Working as a librarian I come in contact with the “IT” books all the time. You know the ones…..the books that everyone is reading right now. The book everyone is talking about. And because I’ve worked in libraries for so long I’ve learned to discern between “popular” and “good.” Some books are popular, entertaining but not really anything important. Other books are popular, life-changing, and entertaining. And even fewer still are popular, meaningful, life-changing, and full of depth and understanding of the human condition.

So when I kept hearing about this book I made the assumption that it was just popular and entertaining.

I was so, so wrong.

First things first: I read this book as an audiobook from Audible. I checked it out from the library with every intention of reading this book with my eyes instead of my ears but life being what it is, I had to listen to it.

Amy Poehler’s narration was beautiful. I loved hearing her speak her words and it gave me the sense that she’s a natural writer. Some writers don’t read their words very well as if the way they write is at odds with their true inner voice. That’s not true with Poehler. It feels like her written words are complementary to her inner voice and I love that about her.

This book came out around the time I had heard about her divorce from her husband so I had worried this was a “divorce book.” But it wasn’t. Poehler takes time to speak about her painful divorce but she doesn’t dwell on it and the reader and the book are better for it. Poehler’s love for her boys is contagious and made me want children of my own as soon as possible and her devotion to her craft was inspiring. It made me want to quit everything and write my book and do all of the things i’ve always dreamed about doing.

Poehler asks us to be kind to ourselves. To be patient and loving with ourselves. This is a book to read at any moment in your life: a happy time, a sad time, a time of transition, a time of utter boredom. For any moment. I am so glad that I was invited into Poehler’s life for just a little while and so glad she shared my commute with me for awhile.

 

“Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.”
Amy Poehler, Yes Please

The Last Policeman

10 Aug

Over the weekend I finished the last installment of Ben H. Winter’s “The Last Policeman” trilogy. Since beginning my long commute I have been reading more audiobooks as I have mentioned and mysteries are one type of audiobook that I find I listen to best.

We started the first title of the trilogy last year on a road trip to Missouri. My husband doesn’t usually listen to audiobooks so I knew it was a good pick when we found ourselves lingering in the car to finish just a little bit more of this book.

What it’s about: 

An asteroid, nicknamed Maia, is hurtling toward Earth and will kill everyone on the planet when it strikes. Upon hearing this news it’s only natural that the citizens of earth lose it. Most people simply walk away from their lives or their work to fulfill “bucket lists.” This series takes place over the last 6 months just before the asteroid hits. Panic ensues, infrastructure fails, and soon people are running out of food, gas, and options. Suicide becomes so prevalent that eventually there is no need for detectives to sort out the “whodunit” but instead the need for enforcers rises. Hank Palace, our last policeman, is a new detective, recently promoted, who is called to the scene of a suicide. Because of his natural inclination to solve crimes, Palace of course notices right away that this is not a suicide.

The trilogy follows Palace as he hunts down suspects like a dog. He is unrelenting in his quests. Palace is one of the small percentage of humans left that will simply not quit. Being a detective IS who Palace is. It’s what he does. So, naturally, as the asteroid gets close to earth so too does Palace to the killer. The second installment is a missing person’s case—one that reveals society’s further collapse. Palace’s sister, Nico, is involved in a conspiracy group trying to save the earth by blowing up the asteroid. And in the end of the trilogy we find a broken and battered Hank with his ever faithful bichon, Houdini, still at his side solving crimes. This time looking for Nico and in this book we get the finale we’ve been waiting for.

Why this series is great: 

We’ve had a lot of post-apocalyptic stories recently. A flood of them, in fact. Viruses, zombies, unnamed catastrophes. But we are always given the story of after. Winters instead looks to the just before. What would it really be like if we were given the news that a 6.5 km wide asteroid will hit Earth in October, giving the world the news in January? What would a person do with that information?

Through Henry’s investigations we see many different responses to the asteroid:  desperation, suicide, conspiracy, obsession, religion, and even manipulation. Because Hank—Henry as we come to know him—is so thorough we see the world’s destruction through his eyes. Henry is a good man, one that wants to solve the crime. But he becomes increasingly confused and we learn that his parents died when he and his sister were young causing him to become, as one character suggests, a sort of Bruce Wayne. He is a man who is trying to save the world but in this time of Maia the best he can do is solve a case and do what is right.

Henry is a man guided by his own moral compass and one that is both honest and dogged. He is obsessed with his job but loves his sister, Nico, to the point that even in the final hours she is on his mind. He has charged himself with watching over her and he never gives up on keeping her safe.

This series is great because not only do we receive from Winter’s a complex main character we receive from him an enticing story. Knowing that this series WILL end a certain way makes the story even more desperate and even more intoxicating. Why does Henry Palace even care? We find ourselves following him wherever he will take us, even to the end of the world.

The Last Policeman series by Ben H. Winters:

  1. The Last Policeman
  2. Countdown City
  3. World of Trouble

The Audio Book

7 Jul

Audio books: How to get started reading them

Before 2014, my commute tended toward an average of 20 minutes a day. Sometimes it was about 30 minutes but generally speaking, it was a short commute. Typically I listened to music because, at the time, I thought audiobooks were just too…..difficult.

I’ve heard the excuse before: I don’t listen to audio-books because I can’t pay attention.

I couldn’t either. The first few audio-books I listened to were tedious. I felt like sometimes I didn’t even care what was going on in the book or sometimes I’d just drift in and out.

In 2014 I started a new job which gave me a new commute time of around 40 minutes. Sometimes it’s even 45 minutes. That’s 90 minutes a day of driving. Music got really old, really fast. So I decided to just give some audio-books a try.

I mentioned fading in and out of audio-books. It’s true, in the beginning I did. But like reading and any other new skill–listening to a book requires patience and time. Listening to a book is much different than reading a book. For one, it’s a lot slower. And two, you’re usually multitasking so listening becomes even more of a skill you’ll need to acquire. For a lot of people I’m sure this isn’t a problem. But because I’ve heard this excuse from not only patrons but friends, too, I’m guessing this is a widespread myth that some people just “can’t do” audio-books.

My recipe:

  • Read when you’ll have 30+ minutes to listen. Anything less and you’re really not going to absorb much
  • Read only when you’re on the highway or on a drive that is very familiar to you: you WILL forget you are listening to a book if you are trying to also navigate and follow a GPS
  • Choose books that you find interesting: EMPHASIS ON INTERESTING. I love reading “big L” literature but I find that I do not love listening to “big L” literature. Maybe this will change as I become a better listening but so far it doesn’t work for me. I get lost in the language and description.
  • Find what you love and go for it but give yourself some time to explore: I have always enjoyed science fiction and fantasy but on audio–it’s perfection for me. Something else I’ve learned: I love mysteries. I only happened upon this because I decided to give “The Cuckoo’s Calling” a listen when my long commute first began. Give yourself some time to explore. You’ll soon learn what kind of narrator you prefer, which narrators you don’t like, and what genres work best for you!
  • Give yourself time to adjust. Listening to a book vs. Reading requires new skills so choose a book you’ve read before so that you can start learning how to follow along. It sounds silly but learning a new skill takes time and the more you can do to set yourself up for success the easier you’ll find it!

Among my favorites are books narrated with a British accent, books with magic or magical realism, mysteries (but so far only magical or sci fi mysteries), and science fiction. I haven’t started in on nonfiction titles yet–but I’ve got some ideas of books I might like.

I’m always looking for new books to try and I’ve stopped feeling guilty when a book does not work for me. I recently tried to listen to “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling, and only 10 minutes in I knew that this was a book I needed to read. It was becoming just too much to listen to.

The joy of listening to audio books is the same (but different!) joy in reading books. It’s only that you are immersed in the book in an entirely new and different way. Where reading is a very private, secluded, and often lonely endeavor, listening to an audio-book can be done with a car full of friends! Listening to “The Martian” by Andy Weir with my husband made the experience so much more fun and interesting! I got to hear his point of view and we were both on the edges of our seats while listening.

Get Listening!