Falling in Love with Audiobooks

Until recently, my only thoughts of audiobooks was that they were great for other people. Not me, I had to read the physical book, not even an ebook would do. Since my reading struggles (see Learning to Read…Again) I’ve changed my nonsense tune and now I’ve fallen head over heels for audiobooks. They have helped me rediscover the ability to lose myself in a story, something I had been sorely missing.

Here are my favourites so far:

Invisible life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab read by Julia Whelan.

In 18th-century France, Addie LaRue needed to find a way to escape the life she is supposed to live. As the sun sets, she is praying to any god that will listen to help her be free, she accidentally prays to the gods that answer after dark, which she’s been warned never to do. And they answer. 300 years later Addie walks into a bookstore to find a young man at the counter. Upon her return she realizes he remembers her, the first person to do so in 300 years. This is a beautiful book made only more beautiful by Julia Whelan’s stellar narrative and her soft french accent created for Addie. 

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry read by Isabel Keating

1980s pop culture, the Salem witch trials, a losing field hockey team suddenly imbued with dark, witchy powers, powerful female friendship forged in the crucible of team sport and social ostracization— We Ride Upon Sticks has it all. Not to mention the stunning narrative by Isabel Keating brings each character to life.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi read by Elizabeth Acevedo 

“In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic. A smart, funny, gorgeous retelling starring all characters of colour.”

Read by the wonderful Elizabeth Acevedo, author of Poet X, this book is brought to life in a way that’s new and fresh while still timeless. 

Next up on my list is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig read by Carey Mulligan.

Until next time,


Learning to Read…Again

My name is Jess Kovacs, a children and teens librarian and I am learning to read…again. A very dirty confession for a self professed bookworm and librarian but this is where we are.

Some of you who have been on this journey with me for a while know I’ve struggled with health issues consistently over the last 3 years. What you don’t know is that I’ve recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II.  We don’t know if it’s a side effect from everything else or if I’ve always had it (although I’m convinced I’ve always had it) but it’s here and present and taking over my life. If I was having trouble reading and focusing before, I have even more now. I can’t focus, my world is flat. Reading feels near impossible. But what do you do when reading is a huge part of your life and personality? Not only is it part of my job but being an ex-bookworm just isn’t suiting me. So I’m learning to read, again. 

How am I learning to read again? One freaking step at a time. 

Step one, don’t be afraid to pick up a book. It can be scary to pick up a book when you know that it’s going to be a struggle, the sheer size of a book may be daunting. But pick one up anyway. I’ve found that starting with an old favourite has helped overcome the daunting feeling. It feels like coming home.

Step two, limit the pressure on yourself. Find a way to be okay with just reading one sentence, then two, then a paragraph, and eventually a page. We’re not going chapter by chapter anymore. We’re going sentence by sentence. Limit the pressure and the next thing you know you’ll have read a page. And if you have to stop after a page, or two, then be okay with that. Which leads me to step three, celebrate every sentence read. 

Learn to celebrate every single sentence! A book is written sentence by sentence, word by word so why should reading be any different. Each sentence is a little slice of decadence and deserves to be savoured. And while you are savouring those sentences, they will turn into pages which turn into chapters, which turn into a book. And not a book you rushed through just to move on to the next one but a well read book, which was thoroughly explored. And that my friends, is worth celebrating.  

This is how I’m learning to read again. Not being afraid to pick up a book, limiting the pressure, and celebrating every sentence. So far I’ve made it through one old favourite and one new book so i’d say the system has been a success. Do I still get frustrated? Yes, absolutely! But that’s when I look back at each sentence, each page, each chapter I’ve read and remember to celebrate.

Other tips: Try reading in a new way, like give audiobooks a try! They have helped me rediscover the ability to lose myself in a story, something I had been sorely missing.

Until next time,