Three Book Habit

In a recent discussion with other bibliophiles, I realized I have a bit of a book habit: one for my commute, one to read on my lunch breaks, and one to read before bed. Sometimes there’s overlap if I’m close to finishing one and just have to get to the end. But, yes, it’s completely normal for me to have three books going at the same time. Sometimes more, if there’s a research book I’m working my way through in spurts between more fun reading. I admit, part of the impetus is the 75 books I challenged myself to read by the end of the year–it’s good to have a goal, but I don’t think I’ll take up the challenge next year, I’m too competitive (with myself) and wanting to see the progress bar fill up makes me feel guilty if I choose to watch tv before bed instead of read, or even to flip through a magazine.

Silly the things we do to ourselves, right?

But otherwise I’m just generally a voracious reader. Always have been.

image via GoodReads

image via GoodReads

June’s conquered titles:

  • The Gemini Effect*
  • The Dead Key
  • The Coffee Legacy*
  • Dragon’s Triangle
  • The Confederacy of Heaven*
  • Kitchen Confidential
  • I Am Livia
  • Down the Rabbit Hole
  • Contagious*

(remember, the asterisk means it was an audio book)

I’m starting to catch up to the backlog of Kindle First books, so it’s lucky that I got an email about trying out Kindle Unlimited for a month. Granted, at first I thought I wouldn’t let it go past the 30 days because the books I searched for weren’t available through KU. But then I started to browse and found books that I’d never gotten around to reading (like Bourdain’s book) as well as others I was looking forward to reading, having read earlier books in the series.

What I was most excited about, though, was the narration feature on many of the titles. I don’t know if this was a product of Amazon purchasing Audible or not, but I’m loving it! Frankly, Audible’s $14.99 a month that only got you one book credit a month never seemed like a good deal to me, and hoped that the recent acquisition might mean Prime members would have free access to audiobooks. But for $10 a month you can get Kindle Unlimited, borrow up to 10 titles at a time (not per month, just at once, unless I misread), and download the narration, too. I was, at first, worried about what the streaming audiobook would do to my data usage, but it doesn’t appear to be doing anything untoward–just the initial download–and I can plug my phone into the auxiliary jack in my car the way I do my iPod and plug the phone into the car charger, as well, to prevent running the battery down to and from work. Though the replay isn’t perfect (occasional skips, that sort of thing), it certainly opens up many more titles to my commute entertainment–definitely worth $10 a month, at least for now!

A few notes about a few of the books I read or listened to this month:

I liked that the main character of The Dead Key was neither a perfect specimen or a burnout with a lucky streak–she was believably middle of the road and very likable. The time shifts in the book are handled quite well, and I was well-hooked throughout the book, wondering who all was really in cahoots with who, and where the missing “treasure” really ended up. I Am Livia had me thinking (mostly fondly) of my 4 years of high school Latin classes. Books like this would have been great helper materials when getting ready for competitions; great jumping off points for history lessons!

Contagious is part of series of books from the twisted mind of Scott Sigler. Ages ago I’d listen to a few of his podiobooks but, apparently, many have been reworked since then, a result of his signing with Crown Publishing. Good for him! I started with Contagious, remembering fairly well the events of Infection, and have Ancestor cued up next on my iPod. I remember parts of Ancestor, I believe, but knowing that they’ve undergone a revamp I’m going to give it a new listen to see if what I remember is still valid. But I needed something lighter before I could move onto more stories from him–a 7 year old as the big bad, in its strange and believable way, is a lot to take in. Though I’ll admit I was picturing a Chibi Usa-like figure as little Chelsea Jewell. Listen to it and, if you watch Sailor Moon, you’ll see what I mean. From a Q&A included in the podcast I’ve learned that all of his books seem to exist in the same universe, which makes me curious about his other titles.

Finally, Down the Rabbit Hole. I was a fan of Girls Next Door when it first aired and one of the reasons I liked it because it was fun and light on the drama. I followed the careers of Holly, Bridget, and Kendra for a while after they left the series (and the last season with Crystal and the twins was really not worth watching) and was happy to see them all doing what they set out to, more or less. I wasn’t as big of a Kendra fan, so I didn’t read her book, but when I heard Holly had written one, I thank ebooks for their instant gratification potential and devoured the book over a couple of days. Reading about the behind the scenes stuff makes me want to go back and watch the show again (I have the first three seasons on DVD) with new eyes. The only disappointment was how quickly she glossed over her relationship with her current husband–there were some rumors flying around when they were first together, and it would have been nice to get her take on that period, the way she delved into the Criss Angel months as well as her years at the mansion. I can see why she might not want to do so, but it did feel rushed at the end.

I’ve been catching up with my binge-watching as well. Wayward Pines is getting quite interesting, now that we know what the big secret is. I’m grateful that the recent season of OITNB not only continued to give us more background into the backstories of various characters (dude, I was actually sympathetic to Pensatucky!) but also managed to show some growth for Piper, namely that of a spine. I was so tired of her whiny attitude, the fact that she’s got a bit of steel to her, now, makes me look forward to Season 4, whenever we get that. And I finally watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the silliness of the first several episodes. But then we got to the trial plot line and amusement turned to absurdity, and I’ve never found the absurd that entertaining.

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