Armchair BEA 2016: Beyond The Books & Beyond The Blog

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Hello and welcome to day three of Armchair BEA. Today’s topic is about moving beyond the traditional format of the media we consume and create.

Beyond the traditional form of the novel, what are your favorite alternative forms (graphic novels, audiobooks, webcomics, etc)? Do you have any favorite works within these alternate forms? How do you think the changing format affects the reading experience?

While I do heavily prefer reading your normal every day physical books, I do enjoy experiencing them in order formats. I would say that audio books are probably my favorite alternative form of books. However, audio books have one flaw, and that is the narrator. The narrator truly makes or breaks an audio books. Because of this I am pretty darn picky about what audio books I listen to. I have to be able to listen to a sample to determine whether I could even listen to the narrator for hours on end. But it’s more than just that, the narrator also needs to give the book life, and that includes giving each character their unique voice and adding the proper emotion to the story.

One of my favorite books series on audio book is The Hollows series written by Kim Harrison and narrated by Marguerite Gavin. Gaven does such a great job of providing each character with their own special voice and adding just the right emotion to certain scenes. In fact my one big disappointment with this series is that book six, The Outlaw Demon Wails, was horrible because they used a different narrator, Gigi Bermingham, and she made all the character voices different. I wonder if she even listened to any of the previous audio books because there was clearly no attempt to make any of the character sound even remotely the same as Gavin does them. In fact, it was this bad narrator that made me stop listening to the series for the longest time. However, I will be going back through it and listening to those first few books again so that I can finally finish the series. Though it is my hope that one day they will re-record book six with Gavin as the narrator, then the series would be perfect.

Outside of audio books, I do also enjoy graphic novels. I find these are great when you want to read but also not have the time to fully commit to a book. The mix of pictures and narrative helps to make up a full story but allows you to read it in smaller snippets. Also, some of the art within graphic novels is just stunning and it’s not wonder than such short length books cost just as much, if not more, than a full length novel. However, it is the cost of these graphic novels that often keeps me from reading them. As much as I enjoy them, I can’t always justify spending $15+ on something that is 80 pages long and has multiple volumes to it.

Our secondary topic, beyond the blog could focus on the ways you engage in talking about books outside of your blog. Do you participate in book clubs, take classes, meticulously maintain your goodreads profile? Let the world know!

Back in December 2013 I joined a book club for the first time. It was an exciting and albeit frightening experience – I get extremely nervous about new people, so being in a room of ten strangers was almost too overwhelming for me. It took me a few months to settle into the club and be less frightened to the people. We didn’t read the best books out there, and in fact I can think of only two meetings where we actually talked about the books we read (both of those times were books I recommended to the club). Really it was more of a monthly social gathering that called itself a book club, but I was happy to be a part of it. Unfortunately, we started having a lot of issues with getting books from the library and as of March 2016 the book club is no more. I am working with a friend to start up a new book club, so hopefully that will be running soon. In the mean time, I have my blog and other online outlets to get my dose of book discussions.

As for Goodreads, outside of adding books when I am reading them, when I finish them and adding new books to my TBR, I am quite terrible with keeping it updated.

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