Teen Tuesday – Award-winning Audiobook Will Give You Goosebumps

If you’ve looked at this year’s YALSA Hub Reading Challenge list you’ll know that, in addition to books and graphic novels, there are also award-winning audiobooks.  And if you’ve yet to give them a try, let me wholeheartedly give my endorsement.  Audiobooks offer another way to experience literature, and when done well, that listening experience may even prove better than reading the book.  The narration alone usually requires the listener to slow down and think, allowing one to hear the changes in tone and nuance.  Above all, listening lets us feel the power in spoken words.

scowlerI recently listened to the audiobook of Scowler by Daniel Kraus, this year’s young adult Odyssey Award winner.  The narrator was the amazingly talented Kirby Heyborne, who did a truly remarkable job bringing these characters to life.  The way he vocalized each individual’s distinctive personality–from the deep gritty sound of Marvin Burke, to Sarah’s soft, slurry tenor and the exaggerated voices of Ry’s toys–added a masterful layer to a story already rife with physical and psychological trauma.

That said, while I certainly applaud the merits of the audio performance and the novel’s extraordinary writing, Scowler was not a story I enjoyed, and had I been reading it rather than listening to the audiobook, this is one I would have put down early on.  The fact that it’s on the YALSA reading list was my main reason for selecting it.  I was also looking for something outside my comfort zone and Scowler definitely fit that bill.  I am not a horror fan and to Daniel Kraus’ credit, his writing was so descriptive and chilling that at times, I felt ill.  Really, I could only listen to this in small increments because the story had me so rattled.

There are some very dark places the author explores in the psychotic mind of a father and the rapidly deteriorating sanity of a son.  A stranger’s appearance outside their home foreshadows the vise of terror that will grip 19 year old Ry Burke, his mother, JoBeth and sister, Sarah.  Shortly thereafter, the explosive crash of a meteorite on the family farm lends a surreal, otherworldly quality to all the events that follow.  The countdowns, both before and after the impact, begin each chapter and add to the suspense.  Ry’s memories of the suffering he and JoBeth endured, and the events that led to his father Marvin’s incarceration, are horrific and only heighten the panic of their current situation.

This is not a book for marshmallows like me, and I would recommend it for true horror fans only–those of you who can read Stephen King and shrug.  But what I said about the power of spoken words?  Scowler may prove to be more frightening as an audiobook.  The sounds and voices that narrate this story are scarier than anything you’ll imagine in your head.  Listen, and let me know what you think.

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Teen Tuesday – Listen Up! Complete Your Club Read Challenge with Audiobooks!

Well, the weeks are ticking down and Club Read will be ending on August 3rd.  How many books away are you from finishing?  Here’s a suggestion – try some audiobooks.  Listen to a book anytime you would normally listen to music—during exercise, while driving, doing chores, etc.  Combine audiobooks with your regular reading and you’ll be done in no time!

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) compiles an annual list  called “Amazing Audiobooks” and then narrows it down further to a “Top Ten.”  Here are a few that can easily be listened to in a few days:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney, read by Ramón De Ocampo.  2 hours, 15 mins; 2 discs.

This is not only one of the shortest audiobooks listed, it’s also part of the “Top Ten.”  Wimpy Kid books are constantly flying off library shelves and most patrons have to wait to get their hands on one.  Not so with the audiobooks!  Ramón De Ocampo has won numerous awards for his voice talent, and as Greg Heffley, he’s spot on!

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber, read by Steven Boyer.  5 hours; 5 discs.

When I reviewed this book last year, I said, “If the Alex Rider series ever took Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen to a dance, it would probably look something like this.  Over the top, but fun.”  Steven Boyer’s accents and pacing make listening to this “prom night from hell” a real treat.

faultinourstarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green, read by Kate Rudd.  7 hours, 19 mins; 6 discs.

Here’s a bonus—by listening to The Fault in Our Stars, you’ll refrain from getting the hardbound edition all soggy!  Deemed this year’s best in the teen category, it won the Audie award from the Audio Publishers Association.  It was also selected by YALSA and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) as the 2013 Odyssey Award winner for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults.  If you’ve read and loved The Fault in Our Stars, then this is required listening.  Kate Rudd captures Hazel’s distinctive voice and labored breathing so perfectly, be prepared to weep anew.  (As a public service, you are warned NOT to put in the last disc if you’re driving.)

Have any other great audiobook suggestions?  Leave them below in the comments!

Teen Tuesday – Listen Up! Free Audiobooks from SYNC!

audiobookTeens! With the last day of school just around the corner and Club Read sign ups beginning on June 1st, why not ease into your summer reading with an unbeatable offer? Free audiobooks are available for download beginning Thursday, May 30 at www.audiobooksync.com.

Twelve young adult titles will be offered along with a thematically corresponding classic. Each pair will be available for one week only and once downloaded, they’re yours to keep and can be listened to at your leisure. Starting off the list of titles is young adult author Anna Banks’ Of Poseidon and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Check out the rest of this summer’s list and the download dates here.

Most computer and portable devices support the Overdrive Media Console that you’ll need to install before you begin your audiobook downloads. Instructions and how-to videos are on their website. SYNC offers text message and email alerts so you won’t miss out on any of the upcoming weekly titles. You can also subscribe to the SYNC blog.

What a fun and easy way to begin your summer reading and earn some Club Read prizes at the same time! Finish twenty books by August 3rd and you’ll be rewarded with a great pair of earbuds. Sign up for Club Read at Whitney’s Young People’s desk beginning June 1st and don’t forget to put an audiobook or two in your summer reading mix!

Teen Tuesday – Lend an ear! 2012 Audie Winners Announced!

This year’s recipients of the Audie Award, given to audiobooks of outstanding merit, have recently been announced. Two of the YA titles are currently available through our library catalog:

– Best Fantasy: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, read by Katherine Kellgren

– Best Narration by the Author: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

A list of all the winners and their reviews is available at http://www.theaudies.com/. Plus, free downloads of Daughter of Smoke and Bone will be available, along with Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, through Audiobooksync.com from August 2 – 8. Go to their website for a complete list of this summer’s titles and download dates.

For reluctant readers, audiobooks are a great introduction to the world of literature, plus they’re portable and hands-free. Already an audiobook fan? Post a comment and share your recommendation!

Get an earful of summer reading with this great offer!

Beginning June 14, readers of young adult and classical literature will have the chance to download 2 free audiobooks per week until August 22 from Audiobooksync.com.  First up is the young adult title The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch paired with the classic The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  Downloads are available for one week only and once loaded, can be listened to at any time.

Visit the Audiobooksync.com website for a complete list of this summer’s titles, and make sure you don’t miss out on each audio release date by signing up for alerts via text message or email.  Also, be sure to check out the extensive eAudio offerings through the Library District’s web page.  Some titles can even be downloaded to your iPod!

Audiobooks are a great way to do some summer reading.  Listen by the pool or while you’re cleaning your room.  They’re also perfect for long car trips and can be enjoyed by the whole family!  What great audiobooks have you listened to?

Reason #2 to Sign Up for the Summer Reading Program: There are SO Many Amazing Books to Read This Summer and So Many Ways to Enjoy Them!

Summer vacation is the perfect opportunity to catch up on reading all the amazing books there are to read, and there are so many different ways to enjoy books!  Not a great reader?  No problem!  Did you know that the best way to improve your reading is to…read?  Simply practicing your reading for 20 minutes a day can make you a better reader by the end of the summer.

Being read to by someone else is also a great way to enjoy books.  You can count those bedtime stories that someone reads to you as part of your 20 minute goal each day.  Teens, you can read to younger brothers and sisters for 20 minutes per day, and you’ll all earn prizes for it!

Going on a long car trip?  Check out a CD audiobook to listen to on the way!  Try the Harry Potter series read by master narrator Jim Dale.

Planning on spending all your time in front of your computer this summer?  Check out Funbrain.com where you can read books and mad libs.    You can read an online version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid instantly!

Don’t forget about all the wonderful eBooks and eAudiobooks you can enjoy straight from your computer, your eReader, or even your smart phone through the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s eMedia Catalog.  All titles are free and access to the catalog is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week!

Not sure what to read?  Stop by the Children’s Desk and we will help you select the perfect book for your summer reading.  We also have reading lists on our website for Kids and Teens.

The Summer Reading Program starts tomorrow, June 1!  Come in to the library or go online to sign up and get your reading log.  Call 507-4015 for more information.