This year's book challenge is coming to a close. I've thus far finished (at least) 32 full books this year and I have no doubt that I'll be making my goal of 35. I say 'at least', because I often forget to write books down as I read them and I can't promise that all of the books I read this year made the list.
One thing that has really helped me keep up with this year's goal is audiobooks. I have been listening to the Harry Potter series via audiobook for several years now, but it wasn't really until this spring that I jumped on the audiobook bandwagon. It started when I was living in Hong Kong, wanted to read The Wizard of Oz series, and had a lot of walking time back and forth from the university there. I started listening to Librivox (which is free). One of the things that I really didn't like about Librivox is the inconsistency of readers. Not all of there readers were bad. In fact, many of them were very good, but sometimes you'd get a book that was read by 30 different people, some of them with very strange accents. I think Librivox is a great protram, but after listening to Jim Dale do hundreds of voices for years, it was a hard change.
This summer my sister, who gobbles up audiobooks constantly, got me to listen to Dean Koontz's Life Expectancy. Hilarious book, but the reading was what I think really made the story for me. I quickly became a member of Audible and purchased the audiobook so that I could finish it. While I was there I picked up several of the books I've listened to this fall, including Neil Gaiman's Stardust and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. After spending less than half of what it would have been to buy that last series, I decided to call it quits on my Audible account for a while. It's great to have books to listen to, but I figured there had to be a happy medium between paying monthly and the lack of consistent reading quality from Librivox.
It was time to join the local library.
Since moving to Salt Lake City, I had not really explored the city too much until the last month or so. I finally made it over to the U of U library, which is rather nice, but I also wanted to look into the public library as a possible place to work and spend some time. After finding their website, I realized my answer had come to me. The SLC public library has several account databases for library card holders for ebooks and audiobooks. I found my happy medium. Since getting my library card last week, I have now downloaded two books from Garth Nix's The Keys to the Kingdom series. I had previously read the Abhorsen series and was eager to get a chance to explore more of Nix's interesting fantasy realms. His intricate worlds use some familiar and some unique facets to keep readers interested and on their toes as his characters find new worlds and face new challenges.
I have to say, I have really enjoyed reading and listening this year. I look forward to setting another goal for next year and bringing in a book challenge list, from which I will be pulling titles. As usual, there are some old favorites that I cannot go a year without reading, but this year will hopefully seen many never-before-read(-by-me) books, including many classics which I missed out on in middle school and high school.
As always, I hope you, too, find it valuable to spend time reading and I encourage you to set yourself a book challenge for the year. No number is too small if it gets you to pick up a few more books. :)