Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Salon (08.16.09): Balancing Act

TSS LogoHappy Sunday, everyone! Is it me, or are the weeks flying by? I thought my five weeks off between jobs flew by, but now I can't believe I've been back to work for two weeks already! And while I'll be working 6 days this week, they are sure to fly by as classes start Monday--it's the busiest week of the year!

Of course, ever since I started back to work, my reading has seriously suffered. I'd forgotten what it's like to be in retail--in the evenings after getting home, I've been so exhausted that nearly every time I sit down to read I fall asleep. I've managed to make it through two print books and one audio book in the last two weeks--I used to be a 3-4 books per week girl, easily! So naturally, I'm feeling guilty about my decreased productivity, even though I know I shouldn't. It's not as if I've totally fallen off the face of the earth, right? :-) But I have to admit I rather miss my desk job, when I had the hour lunch breaks that would afford me enough time to get through a nice chunk of whatever book I was reading at the time...

After a day off yesterday and finishing up one book earlier in the day, I sat down last night to start a book that I'll be reviewing for a TLC book tour--Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch. For once I wasn't exhausted and I almost felt my old reading-self coming back as I made it through 70-80 pages in a sitting before heading to bed. I'm hopeful that after this crazy-busy week I'll be re-accustomed to being on my feet all day and won't be so utterly exhausted in the evenings that I can barely function. Then perhaps I might get through two books per week again! But you know what, I've decided not to push myself or beat myself up if I can't read as much as I want to.

One bonus through all this--I'm discovering the fun of listening to audio books! For some reason I was always prejudiced against them. I preferred to hold a book in my hand and read it that way, page by page. There's nothing like the smell of a new book, you know? But now I find that commuting isn't so terrible when I'm able to listen to a book during the drive. And the quality of the reader can really influence your opinion of a book, don't you think? If you read my review for Wormwood by G. P. Taylor earlier this week, you'll know I wasn't necessarily nuts about the story, but was blown away by the reading, which made it more bearable. What I'm discovering with my current audio book, 8th Confession by James Patterson, is that I don't really care for the reader but the story is so good that I'm still able to enjoy the book.

So for all of you who listen to audio books, do you have any recommendations for me? I need to build my collection up or make a trip to the library soon...

Happy Reading!


  1. I would also like to start listening to audio books! I have never tried one before...I will be interested to see what suggestions you get!
    Do these audio books play on an iPod?

  2. I'm a little nervous about my upcoming balancing act, too, because I'm about to start classes and volunteering at the library on top of that. It'll be interesting to see how my reading goes down.

  3. Retail is very exhausting, and I've only ever done it part time! I did get used to it after a few weeks, though, so I hope you do too. Maybe after the back to school craziness dies down - the bookstore in the first two weeks of classes was always a madhouse.

  4. Hi from another Melissa with a bookshelf ... :) I listen to audios a lot because of my long commute to work, and you're right about how the narrator can influence a story. Here are a few I've enjoyed this year(all with, IMHO, great narrators, sometimes moreso than the story itself).

    - Loving Frank, by Nancy Hoban

    -Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri

    - Little Earthquakes, by Jennifer Weiner (the narrator kept me more interested, I think, than the story itself)

    - The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen

    - The Center of Everything, by Laura Moriarty

    - The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff

    - She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb

    Hope that helps!

  5. Just a clarification from my comment above ... in all the audios I mentioned, the story AND the narration are very good (again, IMHO). I didn't mean to imply that the stories were lacking otherwise.

    OK, now for that much-needed second cup of coffee...

  6. I always have an audio book going. Some of my favorite audio books with very good readers have been:

    The Commoner; Schwartz
    Olive Kittridge; Strout
    Chasing the Dime; Connelly
    Tallgrass; Sandra Dallas
    Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Boyne
    No One You Know; Richmond
    Ales and Me; Pepperburg (NF-EXCELLENT)

  7. I know just how you feel, Melissa, and I hope you find some balance after the adjustment period. I work full time an hour away from home, so I'm lucky to get one book finished a week. I always kind of envy those who can read 2-3-4 books a week but I know everyone's schedule is a little different. Hang in there. Hope you continue to like the new job.

    I don't have any suggestions for audio because I just started listening to them during my commute, but my friend is listening to The Boleyn Inheritance and really enjoys it. If you haven't already read Gregory's novels, you might try those!

  8. It is really hard to work and fit in time to blog and read so I too had turned to audio books. I do remember that David Sadaris books are a riot to listen to as he narrates. I just retired and so that is great for more time but where I find the audio books coming in handy is on eyestrain!...sometimes between reading and computers, my eyes give me trouble...good luck next week, Melissa!...and go for that 300! Almost there!

  9. I would love to try audio books, maybe thats the way I should go for now.I ususally read more in the wintertime.I do want to check out The Time of My Life though.Thanks for posting about that one.

  10. Wow that looks like a great read. At least my kind of read, LOL

  11. Yes, I, too, will be back into the work world tomorrow. Oh, but lucky me, I get to read at work! What a job!

  12. I've noticed that 60-minute lunches are disappearing in offices, too. The last several jobs I had only allowed 30 minutes for lunch. My most recent job gave you the choice on paper, but in reality people looked at you funny if you took more than 30 minutes.

    I don't have any audiobook recommendations other than to pick something easy to follow. I prefer to have books with more complicated storylines in paper form so I can flip back and forth when I get confused :-).

  13. Thanks for all the recommendations, everyone--keep 'em coming! :-)

    And as always, thanks for your support!

  14. Retail is very tiring...I remember those days...coming home exhausted. I don't miss those...that's for sure.

    I'm glad audiobooks have filled in some reading gaps for you. I just adore them.


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