All Day With Dat Playaway

I’m sure you’ve noticed (or maybe you haven’t) that I’ve recently picked up Playaway and have been experimenting with this. If you do NOT know what a Playaway is, stay tuned because I’m going to tell you in the next sentence. A Playaway is like an audiobook, but instead of having discs you have a little device that kind of looks like an MP3 player that allows you to plug in your headphones and listen (much like a REAL MP3 player). You can pause, play (obviously), rewind, skip tracks, and control the volume as well! It requires a battery, but you just have to ask when you’re checking out (huzzah for libraries), and they’ll be happy to give yuh one.

I work in an office and for those 8 hours I’m typing on a keyboard when I could be reading a book. I could be opening up my mind to beautiful and wonderful worlds while I’m staring at a screen and dealing with Excel files. I could travel to distant lands and meet new people all without leaving the confines of my work station (it’s not really a cubicle…not really). Boom. Decided. I’m going to get a Playaway and increase my bookage. One book for reading at home. One book for my communte. One book for while I’m working.

My first experience with a Playaway was when I read You’re a Badass. This was the perfect book to listen to while I’m working. I was able to snag the ideas and quotes without having to be fully invested. It was awesome. And yes, I am a badass.

My second Playaway was a little rough. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk was a book that I just didn’t “get”. I wasn’t sure, and still am not sure, if it’s because of the content or because I was super intense in my work. (Heck yes more Excel files!) I just felt really lost and there was a definite disconnect.

Third and final (as of now) attempt at a Playaway was listening to Life After Life. This puppy was even rougher. This book was definitely a literary book and I just felt lost at times. Way more so than my second attempt. The book was great, but I was so distracted and didn’t feel the same emotions that other reviews had felt.

I came up with a solution. It’s not the Playaway’s fault. The Playaway is doing its job perfectly, it’s me. (It’s not you; it’s me.) I’m doing this while working. I’m doing this while I have problems at work that actually require me to use my full attention and block out everything else. I’m doing this … the wrong way.

My super-skinny-runs-for-fun-vegan-roommate listens to Playaways while she’s getting ready for work or while she’s cleaning her room. Goodness me! I could do this. I don’t need to use that many brain cells to get ready for work. (Push button for coffee.) Boom. I don’t need to pour over insane details while cleaning my room. (Socks go in the drawer.) Boom. I need to change my activity in order for me to completely enjoy the book as it should be. ORRRR I need to find a book that doesn’t require me to be fully immersed (sorry Sincero).

Yes. I think I’ll try both just to see what happens. All right. It’s decided. I’ll try this again and let you know if anything has changed.

Your turn! Have you tried out a Playaway? What are you doing when you’re listening and what types of books are you listening to? Have you wanted to try this out why or why not? Let me know in the comments below.

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Until next time my bibliophile beasties!


2015 Reading Challenge: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Photo Cred:
Title: Life After Life
Author: Kate Atkinson
Series: n/a
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Medium: Playaway
Voice Actor: Fenella Woolgar
Awards: Costa Book Award for Novel (2013), Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee (2013), Paris Review Best of the Best (2013), Walter Scott Prize Nominee (2014), Waterstones Book of the Year Nominee (2013)
Finished Reading: January 8, 2015

About: “On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.
Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.”

I snagged this baby at the same time when I thought I had PLENTY of time to do nothing else, but read. I snagged a couple magazines and Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk and some other things that I just didn’t have time for. Not to say I didn’t have time for this and the Squirrel, I did them. Ok, now I feel like I’m rambling and backtracking and probably just confusing both of us. The point is, I grabbed it. It was on my to-read list and the cover is just so pretty!

Before I even talk about how awesome Woolgar is, I want to do something. Fenella Woolgar. What an awesome name. If only my name was that unique and fun. Ok, down to business. Woolgar’s interpretation was pretty spot on. I enjoyed listening to her voice. It wasn’t nasaly or boring or anything like that. Her reading seemed apt for the time period, the characters, and the over-all story.

I wrote on the various book sites I’m a part of (follow me on Leafmarks, Goodreads, and Booklikes – shameless promotion.) that I was unsure of what I wanted to say about this book. It’s not a book that is super exciting. It’s not a book that’s going to change my life forever. And I think I’m in the minority of thinking this book is the absolute best thing since sliced bread. So, here’s what I think.

This book moves dreadfully slow and it’s crazy repetitive. Since she’s dying and living over and over, the overlap is expected. There would be parts where I’d be all involved in working and then something will catch my attention – I already heard this part? Is this thing skipping?! only to find out that it’s just how the book is. If and once you get past this, you’re golden.

The writing is beautiful. The way the characters are developed and how they change in each of Ursula’s lives is brilliant. Atkinson knows her characters inside and out and I bow down to her. This is definitely all about the characters and I was all about that.

I’m still having a hard time nailing down exactly what I want to say. Maybe I’ll add comments as I think more about it…

I did this book as a Playaway and listened while I was working. Maybe that’s why I’m not as goo-goo over it as other readers. I might not have been in the proper mood for it either. I think I’m becoming more and more of a mood reader…?

2015 Reading Challenge: What does this fulfill? Well… This book is written by a female author (I am woman; hear me roar.) AND this book is by an author that I haven’t read yet. Boom! Two-in-one.

My rating and why: I gave this book three stars! I read it and it pretty all right. I think I was just distracted since I was listening while working. Maybe there’s just a certain kind of book I can listen to while working. Hmmm…

Your turn! Have you read this book? Have you read anything else by Atkinson? Are you doing the same 2015 Reading Challenge or a different one? Let me know in the comments below! Like. Comment. Follow.

Until next time my fellow bibliophile beasties!