• audio myths


    Why do audiobooks get such a bad rap? Below I discuss the top 10 most commonly held myths about audiobooks.

    Myth 1: Listening to an audiobook is not the same thing as reading…it’s sort of like cheating.

    Some people may consider the process of reading a book cover to cover a point of pride. Listening to an audiobook doesn’t require the same amount of effort so it’s almost like getting the reward without putting in the work.

    Daniel Willingham, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia explains that when examining the mental process, for the most part, there is no real difference between listening and reading. He goes on to describe that when we read, our mind is doing two things; decoding words from their letters and processing language which is used both in reading and listening to comprehend the narrative. Willingham states that by about fifth grade, we’ve mastered the ability to decode words, so the difference between reading and listening becomes negligible.

    If the act of decoding were the reason why we read, listening to audiobooks might be cheating, but reading is about appreciating the journey and the destination, not the “work” it takes to get there.

    To learn more about this, I suggest reading one of these articles about Willingham’s research.

    NY Magazine: As Far as Your Brain is Concerned, Audiobooks are Not ‘Cheating’ 

    Washington Post: Is Listening to a Book ‘Cheating?’

    Daniel Willingham Blog: Is Listening to an Audio Book "Cheating?"

    Myth 2: Audiobooks are only for people who don’t really like to read.

    Slow readers, reluctant readers, or people learning English. These are the types of people who should be listening to audiobooks, right? Yes, they are, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Audiobooks don’t need to replace reading print books. They are there to augment them.

    If you’re like me, your to-be-read (TBR) pile is a mile high. It seems like every day there is a new “must read” title released. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the books to be read. Adding audiobooks in with regular reading is a great way to stay on top of that TBR list.

    Myth 3: Reading a book is more convenient.

    Maybe this was true in the past, but with technology has come convenience. It’s so easy to download an audiobook or pop a CD into your car’s audio system. Taking the plunge will be easier than you might think.

    Myth 4: Reading is about consuming the book the way the author intended.

    This is probably the most debatable myth on this list. Consuming a book through a mediator (the narrator) always runs a risk. A story could be ruined by a bad narrator who just doesn’t get the author’s meaning. However, I question how frequently this actually happens.

    In an NPR article with George Guidall (one of the greatest narrators of all time) he describes his relationship with author Wally Lamb who is one of Guidall’s biggest fans. The two have developed a close working relationship. Lamb was quoted as saying, “When I listen to George translate or interpret my work, it's just accurate. It's how I think of the characters speaking."

    Listening to a truly good narrator read a book brings the story to life. For me, narrator Simon Vance IS Captain Will Laurence in the novel HIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON by Naomi Novik. When I think of this character I hear Simon Vance’s voice. In fact, I get a big smile on my face every time I begin a new audiobook in the series.

    Myth 5: Audiobooks are less intimate than print.

    Sure there are definitely times when more quiet reflective reading is called for, but that doesn’t mean listening can’t be intimate as well. For example, it is becoming quite common for celebrities to narrate their own memoirs. It’s like experiencing a private performance just for you.

    Myth 6: Audiobooks are too slow.

    Again with the technology! Yes, there was a time when (especially for fast readers), listening felt too slow, but now most listening devices allow you to choose the narration speed. Listening at 1.5x speed takes a second to get used to, but then I hardly notice after that.

    Myth 7: It’s too easy to get distracted and miss something.

    Getting distracted or letting your mind wander can happen both while reading and listening. I already mentioned the research by psychologist Daniel Willingham, where you’ll find this concern is addressed more scientifically. I’d just like to say there is such a thing as a rewind button on CD players and a jump back 15 seconds option on most mobile devices. In addition, I’ve been listening to audiobooks while driving, exercising, and doing chores for years. If I get distracted, I rarely feel like I’ve missed enough to have lost track of the story completely.

    Myth 8: Audiobook narrators have super annoying voices.

    Maybe you had a bad experience once where listening to the audiobook ruined the whole story for you. I’m here to tell you that the production value of audiobooks has increased exponentially in recent years. These days professional voice actors, celebrity actors, and comedians create excellent narrations that bring stories to life. Jim Dale, anyone?

    Yes, there are still those stinkers out there, but those are becoming few and far between.

    Myth 9: There’s not a very good selection of books in audiobook format.

    If you haven’t been paying attention, you may not know that audiobooks are the fastest growing segment of the publishing world. With this growth in popularity and sales, more and more books are being produced as audiobooks.

    Did you know with a Provo City Library card, you have access to almost 28,000 audiobooks?

    • Nearly 10,000 books on CD
    • Over 7,000 downloadable audiobooks from OneClickdigital 
    • Over 11,000 downloadable audiobooks from OverDrive  

    Myth 10: Audiobook abridgements and waiting for the release of the audiobook are the worst!

    In years past it was far more common to find abridged versions of audiobooks (especially with nonfiction titles). Another past concern was being forced to wait six months between the release of the book and audiobook. I’m happy to report that these problems are nearly entirely in the past. Abridgements have almost completely disappeared and most audiobooks are now being released simultaneously with the book.

    So are you ready to start listening to an audiobook?

    Here are some great places to listen:

    • The commute
    • While exercising
    • Getting ready in the morning
    • Doing dishes
    • Yard work
    • Folding clothes
    • Crafts or scrapbooking
    • Putting together a puzzle or other simple games
    • Driving on a road trip

    In addition to making long or boring tasks go faster, audiobooks are also great for:

    • Sharing the experience with others
    • Bringing stories to life
    • Making comprehension easier
    • Helping with difficult to pronounce or foreign words
    • Appreciating the cadence and rhythm of a book
    • Bringing a new perspective

    So pick up or download an audiobook today and make your life just a little more enjoyable!

  • audiobook pet peeves


    I’m sad to admit it, but not all audiobooks are created equal.  Just as there are a few authors who are so good that I’ll read anything they write, there are a few good narrators who I’ll listen to, even if the description of the book is not appealing to me.  I asked my co-workers for proof of my theory, and boy did they deliver.  A lot of what they told me can be summarized into a few general audiobook truths:

    1. It takes talent to convey multiple ages and genders.  Ask any of the library staff to give you their impression of a horrible audiobook narrator trying to read in a voice of someone in the opposite gender.  I dare you not to laugh.  The truth is, not all male narrators can pitch their voices correctly to read a female part.  One co-worker complained that bad female narrators make all men sound like surfer dudes.  Adults trying to read in a child’s voice isn’t always successful either.
    2. Use the right accent.  Unfortunately, I’ve run into some bad examples of this lately.  I immediately stopped listening to an audiobook when the president of the United States spoke in a British accent, and his butler sounded like he was from the Caribbean.  I listened to another book where one character kept switching between French and Italian accents.
    3. Be consistent in the voices you use.  Related to my complaint above, if the narrator is going to give a different voice to every character in the novel, those voices should be consistent throughout the book.  I don’t mean just in terms of accent, but also in tone and in speech pattern use as well.
    4. Authors do not always make great narrators.  While there are exceptions to this rule (Hi, Neil Gaiman!  I love you!), authors generally read in a monotone that makes me less than excited to keep listening.
    5. Watch Your Pronunciation.  Just as J.K. Rowling cleverly inserted directions on how to say Hermione Granger’s name in HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (am I the only one who called her Her-me-own until I read that part?), a good narrator checks beforehand on the pronunciation of names and places.  It’s Nev-aa-duh, not Nev-ah-da!
    6. Other comments/pet peeves. The above comments were by far the most popular opinions given by everyone I talked to.  Here are a few others that were mentioned by our staff:
      • Narrators who read in a monotone voice are boring.
      • As vague as it sounds, sometimes the reader is just not the right one for the book.
      • I think a good audiobook narrator should be able to be played at 1.25x without sounding like a chipmunk.
      • I hate heavy breathing (breathiness when it isn’t really supposed to be there or too much if it is supposed to be there).
      • When you can tell when a narrator took a break (as in the audio recording just doesn’t seem seamless…it suddenly goes from just right to too soft/loud or vice versa or when the pacing of the reading is off tends to jar me just a little bit)
      • When the sound effects/singing are awful!
      • Once when listening to an audio book there was a whole track that was repeated. It wasn’t supposed to be…but somehow the track was in there twice so I heard one chapter two times. It took me a minute to figure out why part of it seemed familiar…and then I was pretty frustrated that I had spent time listening to what I had already listened to.
      • I just listened to an audiobook where a few chapters sounded like the reader had a cold.  It drove me bonkers.

    So that’s our list.  Don’t worry, my co-workers gave me some great recommendations as well, and we’ll cover those soon.  In the meantime, did we miss any of your pet peeves?

  • audiobook rockstars 01


    A little bit ago we discussed our audiobook pet peeves.  It’s sometimes easy to say what we don’t like about things, but it’s harder to explain what makes something good.  Here’s my stab at what makes a good audiobook narrator:  A good narrator brings the words of a page to life with appropriate voice inflection, tone, and volume.  In doing so, they capture the spirit of the book (or the main character).  A narrator should be able to give distinct voices to characters based on the book descriptions. The listener should immediately be able to tell who's talking based on the voice the narrator uses. 

    Sounds like we’re demanding a lot!  (And we are)  But here are a few good audiobook narrators that my co-workers and I enjoy, in no particular order.


    One co-worker called Jim Dale the rockstar of all audiobook narrators, and if you’ve listened to the HARRY POTTER series, you likely agree.  But Jim Dale has narrated a lot more than HARRY POTTER, and his other books are worth listening to as well.

    Known for reading: 






    Wil Wheaton may be known for his roles in STAR TREK and THE BIG BANG THEORY, but he’s a great audiobook narrator as well.  Aside from Jim Dale, Wil Wheaton’s the one my co-workers recommended the most.  I had a few co-workers tell me that they enjoyed his reading of READY PLAYER ONE and ARMADA so much that they’ve picked up other audiobooks just because he’s the narrator.

    Known for reading: 





    R.C. BRAY

    The narrator for THE MARTIAN has an almost gritty, no-nonsense kind of voice.  But when you pair it with the kind of dead pan humor of the book, it perfectly captures the spirit of the book - it could easily freak you out if he weren't so upbeat all the time.

    Known for reading: 





    Jayne Entwistle is known for her excellent reading of Alan C. Bradley’s THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE mystery series.  It takes skill to narrate books with an eleven-year-old protagonist, but Jayne Entwistle does it with style.  One co-worker describes her this way: “She sounds a lot like Emily Blunt and I kind of love that.”

    Known for reading: 





    This is one example of an author who can also competently narrate.  You might say I’m biased, because Neil Gaiman read the first audiobook I ever listened to, and he’s an advocate for libraries, but no, I’m not biased.  He’s amazing.  Despite what I said in the previous blog post, other authors can narrate as well.  Examples include Gretchen Rubin, Brene Brown, and Chris Hadfield.

    Known for reading: 






    George Guidall recently won a lifetime achievement award for his work as an audiobook narrator.  He’s recorded over 1,000 audiobooks, and received many awards, so you know you’ll probably find something he’s read that you’ll like. 

    Known for reading: loads of books!





    If you love YA, you’ll love Katherine Kellgren.  Best known for her work on the BLOODY JACK novels by L.A. Meyer and for the KANE CHRONICLES series by Rick Riordan. Katherine is great at accents, and she’ll even sing a little!

    Known for reading: 





    Called “the Meryl Streep of audiobooks” for her versatility with accents and subject matter, Barbara Rosenblat is one of the first audiobook narrators I heard spoken of in reverent tones.  The woman can read anything and make it interesting.

    Known for reading: 





    The narrator of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, along with many other books, is best known for giving life and personality to each character of a novel without resorting to a lot of vocal gymnastics.

    Known for reading: 



    If you’re looking for more excellent narrator suggestions, being a stellar audiobook narrator takes skill, so there are awards for them!  There are the Golden Voice Narrators awards and the Earphone awards

  • Holiday Road Trip

    Once upon a time, long, long ago you couldn’t watch movies in your car! I know this may come as a surprise to some, but it’s true. You were stuck for hours in the car with limited ways of spending your time. You could sleep, stare out the window, tease your younger siblings, sing, or listen to someone read a book and that’s about it.  I grew up taking these kinds of road trips and boredom always got the best of me. But one of my favorite ways of passing the hours in the car was listening to books. This is still my favorite way to pass the time when traveling long distances, so I always have a book to listen. This is one of the reasons I love LIBBY, or overdrive, because it gives me access to lots of audiobooks.

    The other day as I was browsing some of our holiday audiobooks, I came across some that I really love. These books aren’t necessarily about a Christmas story but they take place at Christmas time and to me they have a Christmas feeling about them. Here are my top 5 favorite unusual Christmas audiobooks. 

    12.23 The Lion the Witch and the WardrobeTHE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
    By C.S. Lewis

    This book of course isn’t one you would think of as a Christmas book but it does take place in a wintery wonderland of ice and snow and a boy named Edward is naughty and makes a bad choice. Does he get coal for Christmas? You will have to read the book to find out. But Father Christmas does visit and gives gifts to all of Edward’s siblings.  I love this particular audiobook because it has sounds, music, and I think the narration is very entertaining to listen to.


    12.23 WinterhouseWINTERHOUSE
    By Ben Guterson

    Winterhouse is a motel where Elizabeth spends her Christmas break. She is annoyed and really wants to stay home but she is sent away by her aunt and uncle. While at Winterhouse, she discovers dark family secrets and because of her love of puzzles, uncovers a mystery. A perfect audiobook for anyone who loves listening to a good mystery. 


    12.23 The Mysterious HowlingTHE MYSTERIOUS HOWLING
    By Maryrose Wood

    Miss Penelope has just graduated from Swanburne Academy for poor bright females. When she gets a job as a governess to three young children, she finds she has a lot to teach them. They don’t know anything about manners or how to behave in a civilized manner and this all must be taught and learned before the Christmas ball. 


    12.23 Harry Potter and the Sorcerers StoneHARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE
    By JK Rowling

    Harry Potter is an all time classic and even though it isn’t a Christmas story, Harry does spend his Christmas holiday at Hogwarts. It’s during the Christmas break that he discovers the secret of the Sorcerer’s stone with the help of his new friends. There couldn’t be a better way to spend your holidays then chasing a villain and solving a mystery as a first year Hogwarts student.


    12.23 The Greenglass HouseTHE GREENGLASS HOUSE
    By Kate Milford

    This book, like the others mentioned, takes place during the Christmas holidays. Young Milo lives in the Greenglass Inn and usually during the winter it’s pretty quiet but a few days before Christmas, 5 unusual guests show up. They won’t say when they will be leaving or what they are doing there. As items go missing and even more guests show up, the mystery begins to grow and Milo must find a way to save everyone.

  • Audiobook

    One of my favorite things to do during the hot summer months is to work on a project and listen to a great audiobook. Whether I am working on crocheting an afghan or cleaning out my closet, there is just something so relaxing about being read to while working with my hands. Summer is also the time for vacations, and audiobooks are a great accompaniment for long drives and hot afternoons by the pool.  Summertime is the perfect time to listen to your favorite book. Here are some of mine: 

    7.24 The Wednesday WarsTHE WEDNESDAY WARS
    By Gary D. Schmidt

    It’s 1967 and Holling Hood Hood is sure that his junior high homeroom teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates him. He’s the only one who doesn’t go to Hebrew School or Catechism School on Wednesday afternoons, so he and Mrs. Baker are stuck with each other. At first, Mrs. Baker has Holling clean chalk board erasers and do other odd jobs. But eventually Mrs. Baker realizes that there is more to Hoilling than meets the eye. Every Wednesday they read Shakespeare together.  Holling soon realizes that somehow Shakespeare knew what it was like to be a teenager in 1967. Shakespeare knew about first love and first loss, political upheaval, war, and fear about the future.  He even knew about bullies like Doug Swieteck’s brother!  Joel Johnstone does a fantastic job narrating this funny and poignant snapshot of what it was like to be a kid in the late sixties.    


    7.24 Mr. Penumbras 24 HourMR. PENUMBRA’S 24 HOUR BOOKSTORE
    By Robin Sloan 

    Clay Jannon, graphic designer and all around geek, needs a job. When he sees the help wanted sign on the door of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore, he applies and gets the job and his life will never be the same again.  Something strange is happening at Mr. Penumbra’s.  Odd people show up to check out books like the store is a library. It’s like they are following the same reading list or something. Then Clay opens one of the books and discovers it is written in code! Clay gets sucked into a word of cryptography and Renaissance publishers in a mystery that is old as books themselves. Ari Fliakos narrates all the different voices in a way that is charming, not annoying.  His intensity keeps the story moving until you are sad to see that it is over.     


    7.24 SourdoughSOURDOUGH
    By Robin Sloan 

    Lois Clary works at a San Francisco robotics firm, where long hours move her to regularly order in from a sandwich shop. The place is peculiar, but the food is amazing, especially the sourdough bread. When the brothers who run the shop leave town, they eagerly bestow their sourdough starter on their "number one eater."  Though Lois is hapless in the kitchen, she soon masters baking so well her loaves catch the attention of her employer's in-house chef and, eventually, an elite invite-only farmers market. When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly? Therese Plummer does such a great job narrating this story from Lois’s perspective. She brings humor and tenderness to the story through her voices.  


    7.24 Anne of Green GablesANNE OF GREEN GABLES
    By Lucy Maud Montgomery 

    Anne Shirley ought to have been a boy, at least then the Cuthbert’s would want to adopt her. She is an eleven year old orphan who was sent to Avonlea by mistake. When they take her out of duty, Anne unexpectedly blossoms and fills the hearts of the lonely brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla. This is a true classic when it comes to young adult literature and narrator Barbara Caruso’s storytelling power is phenomenal. 


    7.24 Ready Player OneREADY PLAYER ONE
    By Ernest Cline

    In the near distant future, humankind lives in the virtual reality of the OASIS. Wade Watts is a Gunter--one who searches for James Halliday’s Easter Egg, the prize of the richest geek in the world's contest to find a heir. Through following the clues, Wade finds himself in the greatest and most dangerous video game of his life. Read by Will Wheaton, this audiobook is a perfect choice for fans of 80s pop-culture and classic SCI-FI. This book has some language in it, so you may want to listen with head phones if there are kids around. 

  • audiovisual experience


    Every once in awhile patrons will come in looking for a book that has both a paper and an audio version. Sometimes this approach helps struggling readers who can follow along with the narration. Sometimes patrons just want to enjoy the experience of both reading and hearing a great story. Either way, here are a few of my favorite book/audiobook combos from the children’s department.

    terrible twoTHE TERRIBLE TWO
    by Mac Barnett and Jory John; illustrated by Kevin Cornell
    Audiobook voice artist: Adam Verner

    “When master prankster Miles Murphy moves to sleepy Yawnee Valley, he challenges the local mystery prankster in an epic battle of tricks, but soon the two join forces to pull off the biggest prank ever seen.”   This is a great audiobook, but you don’t want to miss out on the amazing and helpful illustrations in the paper copy.

    emerald atlasTHE EMERALD ATLAS
    by John Stephens
    Audiobook voice artist: Jim Dale

    “Kate, Michael, and Emma have passed from one orphanage to another in the ten years since their parents disappeared to protect them, but now they learn that they have special powers, a prophesied quest to find a magical book, and a fearsome enemy.”   This mash-up of Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia is narrated by the same guy who did the Harry Potter books. It’s awesome!

    heros guide to saving kingdomTHE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM
    by Christopher Healy; illustrated by Todd Harris
    Audiobook voice artist: Bronson Pinchot

    “The four princes erroneously dubbed “Prince Charming” and rudely marginalized in their respective fairy tales form an unlikely team when a witch threatens the whole kingdom.”   This hilarious book is accompanied by hilarious illustrations. The narrator of the audio book (available on Overdrive) has some of the best range of voices I’ve ever heard. Don’t miss this pairing!

    flora and ulyssesFLORA AND ULYSSES
    by Kate DiCamillo; illustrated by K.G. Campbelle
    Audiobook voice artist: Tara Sands

    “She is a natural-born cynic! He is an unassuming squirrel! Together, Fora & Ulysses will conquer villains, defend the defenseless, and protect the weak, or something.”   Another book with some great comic style illustrations that lend well to the story. The audiobook adds some of the excitement befitting a superhero squirrel.

    the book thiefTHE BOOK THIEF
    by Markus Zusak
    Audiobook voice artist: Allan Corduner

    This book is technically not in the Children's Department... but it's about a child! “Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel—a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.” Reading or hearing this book is a life-changing experience. Doing both would somehow be even better. Delve into Liesel’s world with the paper copy, but get some help with all those German words and overall emotion by listening to the audiobook.


  • american history audiobooks

    My love of history began in college when I discovered that instead of the dry list of facts I had assumed history books contained, they were actually full of incredible stories, unbelievable drama, powerful personalities, and world-changing events. And it was all real! However, when real life started for me after college, the time I had available to read enormous historical volumes understandably lessened, and my quest for knowledge about the past was largely put on hold.

    But last year that all changed when I discovered the OverDrive collection offered through the library’s website. I downloaded the free app onto my phone, chose a digital audiobook to download, and plugged in my earbuds. As I did yard work or cooked dinner, I could also be experiencing the thrill of political intrigues or the tragedies of the battlefield. Doing the dishes got a whole lot more exciting! Here are five of my favorite audiobooks on American history that are available through OverDrive. 

    by Timothy Egan

    In the middle of the Great Depression, those living in America’s heartland experienced calamity in a form like nothing ever seen before or since: the “black blizzards” of the Dust Bowl. Determined to hold onto their hard-won land, families faced the risk of losing their crops, animals, homes, and health. Telling in their own words how they lived in sod huts with wet sheets placed over the cracks, or how they bottled sagebrush to eat after all the crops were gone, the grit and endurance of these survivors is truly incredible. 

    by S. C. Gwynne

    A vivid history of the Comanches and their last stand to stop white settlers from taking the Indian lands of the Great Plains. During the 40-year territory war, many fascinating characters arose on both sides, including Quanah Parker, son of a Comanche chief and a white woman who had been kidnapped as a girl but grew to love the Indian way of life so much that she refused rescue by her European relatives.

    by Stephen E. Ambrose

    Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark led an expedition of men and one woman past the boundaries of what was then the United States and into the great unknown. They endured hardships, saw jaw-dropping natural wonders, took specimens of plants and animals unknown to European settlers, and began their education in the complicated relationships of the native peoples with each other and with the whites. The ultimate adventure story that helped make America what it is today.  

    by Michael Korda

    Although uncomfortable with slavery and not in favor of secession, when Lee was offered the command of the Union Army at the start of the Civil War, he refused the post because he said he could never fight against his beloved Virginia. He became the brilliant Confederate general who would fight the long defeat with dignity and a strong sense of honor. A detailed and fascinating portrait of the man who would become the nation’s greatest military leader and earn respect and admiration from both North and South.  

    by Eve LaPlante

    Much has been made of Louisa May Alcott’s father and his influence on her and her writing. But now a great niece of Louisa’s, with the help of newly discovered family letters, brings Louisa’s mother, Abigail May, out of obscurity. She effectively argues that it was Louisa’s intensely close relationship with her mother -- and their shared frustration at being intellectual and ambitious women in a time that discouraged female independence -- that was truly the greatest shaping force in Louisa’s life.


    (Need help with OverDrive? Check out our tutorials page.)

  • Headphones 

    A few years ago, I took a survey of my fellow librarians, asking them who their favorite audiobook narrators are.  We got some great suggestions! Since then, I’ve increased the amount of audiobooks I consume exponentially.  I read while I do household chores with the use of apps like Libby by OverDrive and RBdigital, and I usually have a book on CD in my non-bluetooth-enabled car.  I’ve heard a lot of amazing audiobooks, and a few duds.  I thought I’d create a list of some of my personal favorite audiobook narrators who I’ve discovered since that last blog post.


    I first learned of Elizabeth Acevedo when she narrated PRIDE, which is an updated version of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Brooklyn.  Acevedo’s reading of that book was impressive, but if you really want to see what she can do, listen to her narrating her own work, the award-winning THE POET X, which tells the story of teenage Xiomara Batista’s struggles growing up in the Bronx, with the story told through poetry.  Acevedo’s skill as a slam poet is on full display here.


    11.15 Tattooist of AuschwitzRICHARD ARMITAGE

    Yes, I’m one of those people who first fell in love with Richard Armitage by watching British period dramas.  However, Armitage is making a name for himself not just on screen (in, for example, The Hobbit movies and Ocean’s 8), but in the audiobook world as well.  His reading of the TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ was so good, I frequently found myself idling in my car in front of my house, unable to turn the stereo off. 


    11.15 Our Souls at NightMARK BRAMHALL

    Mark Bramhall blew me away with his portrayal of Kent Haruf’s main character, Louis Waters, in the audio narration of OUR SOULS AT NIGHT.  For me, Bramhall was Louis Waters.  I will now gladly read anything he narrates, which is great news for me, since Bramhall has some great books in his repertoire.


    11.15 Anna and the Swallow ManALAN CORDUNER

    I first ran into Alan Corduner when I listened to ANNA AND THE SWALLOW MAN, a beautifully written, magical book about a mysterious man who saves a young Jewish girl during World War II, and they spend the next few years on the run.  I have since enjoyed other books narrated by Corduner, and was especially glad to see that Corduner is one of the narrators in the cast recording of Julie Berry’s LOVELY WAR. Corduner’s narration of Lovely War is especially exciting for me since Berry is one of my favorite YA authors.


    11.15 My Plain JaneFIONA HARDINGHAM

    Fiona Hardingham seems to have narrated mostly YA fantasy novels recently, but I love her for narrating a humorous take on Jane Eyre: MY PLAIN JANE.  In the historical fiction vein, her reading of THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR was also enchanting.


    And that's not all! Be on the lookout for another upcoming post with a few more of my favorite audiobook narrators.

  • Headphones

    11.22 The Word is MurderRORY KINNEAR

    The only book I know of that Rory Kinnear has narrated (so far) is THE WORD IS MURDER by Anthony Horowitz.  The Word is Murder is the first book in a planned series, however, so I have great hope that Kinnear will keep narrating.  Kinnear’s narration of this book was so good that I frequently stopped whatever else I was doing and just sat there, marveling at his skill.  Kinnear not only gave different, nuanced voices to every character in The Word is Murder, you could also hear personality traits and feel whatever it was the character was feeling.


    11.22 Love and RuinJANUARY LAVOY

    January LaVoy has narrated a lot of books from popular authors like James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, and John Grisham.  I personally loved her reading of Paula McLain’s LOVE AND RUIN.  This tale of Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, Martha Gelhorn, who was a talented author and journalist in her own right, was fascinating to me, and I couldn’t stop listening.


    11.22 The DrySTEVE SHANAHAN

    Let me start by gushing about Jane Harper, a mystery author who is so good at writing about the Australian Outback as a character that even if you read her work on a cold December day, your mouth will suddenly be parched, and you’ll start checking your skin for sun damage.  Add Steve Shanahan’s excellent narration of Harper’s books to the equation, and you’ll be absolutely transported into the story.  Start with Harper’s first book, THE DRY, or with her most recent stand-alone, THE LOST MAN.


    11.22 Children of Blood and BoneBAHNI TURPIN

    Bahni Turpin has been getting a lot of praise for her amazing reading of the breakaway YA title of 2018, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE. However, Turpin is also a great narrator to keep your eye on if you’re interested in YA books with a social justice theme.  Turpin also narrated the breakout hits THE HATE U GIVE and the young readers edition of HIDDEN FIGURES.


    11.22 EducatedJULIA WHELAN

    Julia Whelan has narrated not one, but two of my favorite books that have come out recently.  Her excellent reading of Tara Westover’s memoir, EDUCATED, about a young woman growing up in a survivalist family in Idaho, is gripping storytelling made even more amazing by the fact that it really happened.  Whelan also narrates FAR FROM THE TREE an award-winning YA novel about three siblings separated by adoption who find each other as teenagers, which I found very touching. Listen to Far from the Tree with tissues handy.

  • narrators

    A few months ago Marcie did a blog post about the importance of picking the right narrator for an audio book. If you missed it, check it out here. As a librarian who listens to more books than read (I read one book to every fifty I listen to), I have tried a variety of narrators and know how they can make or break a story. While just about everyone I know says that Jim Dale, the narrator of the Harry Potter books is their favorite, here is my list of Five Favorite Children’s Narrators.

    GraveyardBookNeil Gaiman
    Book to listen to: THE GRAVEYARD BOOK
    by Neil Gaiman

    As a general rule, authors should not narrate their own works. Writing a book takes a different talent than reading it aloud and they should leave it to the professionals—but Neil Gaiman is the exception.  A must-listen is his reading of The Graveyard Book.

    RuinsofGorlanJohn Keating
    Book to listen to: THE RUINS OF GORLAN
    by John Flanagan

    The is one of my all-time favorite series and Keating does a great job making you feel you have stepped back into time with brave knights defending castles.

    FalsePrinceCharlie McWade
    Book to listen to: THE FALSE PRINCE
    by Jennifer A. Nielsen

    Can you have a crush on a voice? Yes, you can, and for me it is Charlie McWade.  (Okay, I have a couple voice crushes but I’m focusing on Children’s book narrators here.) This book is a great adventure and the narration just brings the book to life.

    heros guide to saving kingdomBronson Pinchot
    by Christopher Healy

    You might know him as Balchie from the 80s TV series Perfect Strangers but he now narrates books. He has the talent to come up with dozens of distinct voices, which comes in handy when he narrates The Hero’s Guide to Saving the Kingdom.

    AmuletofSamarkandSimon Jones
    Book to listen to: THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND
    by Jonathan Stroud

    The Amulet of Samarkand is actually better to listen to than to read—and that’s not just because Jones manages to weave footnotes seamlessly into the story but because he also has the perfect delivery of the sarcastic djinni.  I pretty much listen to anything Simon Jones narrates just to listen to his voice.


  • Always available audiobooks

    I have previously confessed to my somewhat worrisome addiction to audiobooks on Overdrive. I keep a very robust wish list, and as soon as a hold comes in, I place another so that I am never in want of something great to listen to.

    However, there are times when nothing on my wish list is available and my holds are still pending. When this happens, I long for Jedi powers to “encourage” other listeners to hurry up, finish their audiobooks, and return them to Overdrive so I can start listening to them already. When this doesn't work, I am grateful for the 175 audiobooks that are always available on Overdrive.

    Here are the top five titles I’m keeping in my back pocket. Titles I want to listen to and will download when the new stuff is unavailable.

    Angela Hanscom

    I am not a parent. However, I LOVE reading parenting books. It’s weird. And, at this year’s Best Books of 2016 event, one of our other librarians (who isn’t a parent either, just saying) put this book on her list and I’ve wanted to listen to it ever since. In it, a pediatric occupational therapist explains why unrestrained movement and outdoor play are vital for children’s cognitive development. I’m hoping its just a really good argument for playing in mud because that sounds fun.

    Siddhartha Mukherjee

    I am just realizing this has been on my “To Read” list for 6 years! Sigh. Maybe this year I will finally get a chance to listen to it. This is a “biography” of cancer, from its origins to the epic battle to cure, control, and conquer it. Also, it won the Pulitzer Prize, so it is probably well written and full of good things to know.



    Anette Gordon-Reed

    While this book hasn’t been on my official list, it is one that has been on my radar. I love reading history books and last year I read AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie which is about Jefferson’s eldest daughter “Patsy.” I was fascinated by the novel and I am looking forward to learning about the Jeffersons from a different perspective.



    Dan Koeppel

    I keep hearing about how we should enjoy bananas now because their days are numbered. I’d really like to know what that is all about. This book is a gripping biological detective story that uncovers the myth, mystery, and the endangered fate of the world’s most humble fruit. The only downside of listening to this audiobook is that I eat more when I read about food.



    surprised by joy1SURPRISED BY JOY
    C.S. Lewis

    Audiobooks that are read by the authors are some of my favorites. How amazing would it be to have this autobiographical book about C. S. Lewis’s journey from Christianity to atheism and back to Christianity narrated by the author himself? So, that is not possible. But it would be cool and I am still excited to listen to SURPRISED BY JOY which is one of the few C.S. Lewis books I haven’t read yet.


  • Always available audiobooks

    I love audiobooks. They are the only reason I can get through the number of books I do each year. I can listen while exercising, cleaning, driving, or cooking. Also, I love Overdrive. Downloading audiobooks is so much easier than having to swap discs in and out of my laptop and way safer than swapping discs while driving in my car.

    Much of the time, the books I am most excited to listen to are popular choices for other people as well. So, I put myself on hold for them and (mostly) patiently wait my turn. In the meantime, the Utah State Library has 175 wonderful audiobooks available all the time. There is a lot of variety represented here but listed below are five of my favorite titles to enthusiastically recommend.

    Marie Kondo

    If you haven’t heard about Marie Kondo’s book, let me boil it down for you. In THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP you will learn that if something doesn’t bring you joy, you probably don’t need it. Kondo’s ideas really can live up to the title and change your life if you can complete her whole process in your home. I did not manage to do that, but I did really appreciate her thoughts, and I have become much better at letting go of the extra and unnecessary things I have in my home and my life.


    zookeepers wifeTHE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE
    Diane Ackerman

    This book has been out for a while, but a new movie starring Jessica Chastain has made it very popular again. It is the true story of a Warsaw zookeeper’s wife who helped save hundreds of people and animals during World War II. I loved it when I read it years ago and am excited to see the film.



    goose girlGOOSE GIRL
    Shannon Hale

    This was Shannon Hale’s debut novel, and I’m so glad she kept writing. GOOSE GIRL is a wonderful retelling of a German fairy tale and the first novel in the Books of Bayern series. This is a perfect pick for listeners of all ages and is narrated by a full cast.




    Nancy Isenberg

    WHITE TRASH is no fairy tale. It is actually a fairly depressing look at class history in America, from the present back to colonial times. However, taking a good hard look at our collective flaws can often lead the way to change. I learned so much while listening to this audiobook and I hope others will take the time to learn more as well.



    Mary Roach

    I love all of Mary Roach’s books, but this one is my favorite. STIFF brings to light the oddly compelling and often hilarious lives of bodies after death. Cadavers have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings and Roach explores and investigates them all. What I love most is the tone of Mary’s books. She is so fascinated with her topic that readers can’t help but be fascinated right along with her.


  •  scottish mysteries

    It could be because I miss living in Scotland, but I've been drawn to books with Scottish narrators lately, and since I'm a mystery fan, I've found myself listening to Scottish mysteries. Whether you like the cozy stories or tough detectives, there's a series here for every mystery reader.


    5.25 Death of a GossipDEATH OF A GOSSIP
    by M.C. Beaton

    Constable Hamish MacBeth investigates the murder of Lady Jane Hamilton who has a nasty habit of digging up dirt on the residents and guests of Lochdubh. 


    5.25 Raven BlackRAVEN BLACK
    by Ann Cleeves

    When the body of a teenage girl turns up on the Shetland Islands, Inspector Jimmy Perez launches an investigation into the killing, taking him into the heart of sinister secrets from the past. 


    5.25 The Sunday Philosphy ClubTHE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB
    by Alexander McCall Smith

    When Isabel Dalhousie witnesses the death of a young man falling from the balcony of the Edinburgh concert hall, she decides to take it upon herself to solve the murder. 


    5.25 Resurrection MenRESURRECTION MEN
    by Ian Rankin

    Sent to a rehabilitation school after a serious mistake, Inspector John Rebus discovers that his classmates are plotting a drug heist and might be connected to Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke's investigation to an art dealer's murder. 


    5.25 A Wee Murder in My ShopWEE MURDER IN MY SHOP
    by Fran Stewart

    While searching for hidden treasures in the Scottish Highlands, shop owner Peggy Winn purchases an old tartan shawl that unexpectedly comes with the ghost of a 14th-century Scotsman, who, once she returns to Vermont, helps her discover who murdered her ex-boyfriend.

  • Libby

    With the library closed and more of us using electronic resources for reading, here’s some tips for limiting searches on Libby. These filters are especially helpful if you are browsing a subject or one of the many lists that Utah’s Online Library has available. The photos are from an Android device, but these options should be the same on an iOS device as well. 

    Today I want to show you three of Libby’s search filter options.  Preferences, Refine, and more.

    Libby Screenshot 1


    Anything changed under Preferences will save and apply to all future searches as well, until changed again.  This is great if you only want Audiobooks, for example.

    Libby Screenshot 2a


    Something to keep in mind with Preferences however is that changes made here will apply to all future searches. So, if you change Availability to Available Now and get reading a series, if any of the books in that series has a waitlist then you won’t find that book in any of your searches until you change Availability back to Everything. I may or may not be speaking with the voice of experience there.

    Filters added under Refine will only apply to the current search. This is great for narrowing down your search results, especially when those results include thousands of books, all without changing what shows in future searches.

    Libby Screenshot 3


    The Search Within Results is an especially great feature because you can do a search within a search! If you have already put a few filters on your search but still not finding what you want, you can add another search term here without losing your previous filters. 

    Above Preferences and Refine, each search will have a list of genres that appear in the search result. It will list a handful, ending with “and more.” Selecting “and more” shows all of the genres that appear in the search results. This is great if you want a book that falls under two or more genres, such as Mystery and Historical Fiction.

    Libby Screenshot 4


    It also tells you how many books fall under both categories, listed from most to least. In this example of looking at Mystery as the main genre, you can see there are 1,458 books that are also tagged Historical Fiction. Further down the list than what is shown here, you’d see Western with 38 books that fall under both Mystery and Western. 

    Browsing Libby is different than browsing a physical collection of books, but by using the above search filters makes browsing for a good read easier and quicker than trying to browse through all of Libby. Play around with it and see what you can find!

  • funny audiobooks 01

    Find them on Overdrive:




  • funny audiobooks 2 01

    Find them in the catalog:




  • medieval 01

    Find them in the catalog: 




  • kids being kids

     Is there anything better than a story about a child who saves the world from evil? Who doesn’t love reading about a 12-year-old Percy Jackson fighting off the minotaur with no training, or an 11-year-old Hermione Granger being the brains behind a death-defying magical operation during her first year of wizarding life?

    But I will admit that sometimes I get a little tired when yet another character just happens to have memorized the entire internet by age 10, or becomes the best marksman in the kingdom after only a few weeks of practice with a bow.  

    So here’s to all the kids that act like kids and to the authors that know the difference between precocious and PhD. Here’s to characters that have to wait for their muscles to develop before becoming a knight or who care more about their sibling rivalries than the fate of the world. And here are just a few of my favorite characters who are happy being young:   

    11.21 Three Times LuckyMo and Dale from THREE TIMES LUCKY
    By Sheila Turnage

    Mo, orphaned by hurricane Katrina, lives in an eclectic adopted family in Tupelo Landing, NC. She and her bumbling best friend Dale open a “detective agency” when Dale’s no-good father starts causing trouble. Mo’s hilarious southern metaphors, combined with Dale’s constant misunderstanding of sarcasm make them a delightful team. This series is a tribute to small town troubles and the joys of childhood capers. I’d recommend listening to the first book in this series to enjoy a fun rendition of Mo’s southern drawl. (The narrator changes for book two, so read that one.)  


    11.21 CoralineCoraline from CORALINE
    By Neil Gaiman

    Coraline is a bored 11-year-old who feels a little neglected by her work-from-home parents. Since they’ve recently moved to a new house, she puts on her explorer’s cap (literally) and tries to whittle away the hours. It’s not too long before Coraline discovers a little door in the living room that sometimes appears bricked up, but sometimes is a portal to the “other” world. One of the reasons I love this spooky read so much is that Coraline approaches everything with a very childlike perspective. She takes what she can see at face value and, at the end of the day, wants what every kid wants: her mom and dad’s love and attention. This book is also a great listen and quite short.  


    11.21 The War That Saved My LifeAda from THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE 
    By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

    Nine-year-old Ada has been a cripple since birth and is abused by her mother because of it. During World War 2 when many children were shipped out of London, Ada sneaks out of her house against her mother’s wishes and joins her little brother to travel to the countryside. I think Bradley did a wonderful job of showing the fixed determination of a child who’s had very little going for her in life. With the necessary love of the new adult in her life, Ada learns to walk, ride a horse, and deal with the consequences of abuse.


  •  Spanish Audiobooks 628

    I am so excited that we recently obtained thirteen new books on CD in Spanish for Children! This brings our JSPANBCD collection to 42. The majority of these are picture books, including favorites like:

    11.14 Clic Clac MuuCLIC CUAC MUU, VACAS ESCRITORAS (Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type)
    Por Doreen Cronen
    Illustrado por Betsy Lewin


    11.14 Dont Let the PigeonNO DEJES QUE LA PALOMA CONDUZCA EL AUTOBUS (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus)
    Por Mo Willems


    11.14 Chato y su cenaCHATO Y SU CENA (Chato’s Kitchen)
    Por Gary Sato
    Ilustrado por Susan Guevara


    In addition to the picture books, there are also the first five books about Los Chicos del Vagón de Carga  (Box Car Children) and several collections of folk and fairy tales.  These are great for Spanish speakers and Spanish learners of all ages. Why not check out some for your next road trip? 


    Estoy tan feliz que hemos adquirido trece audiolibros nuevos en español para niños. Este lleva nuestra colección JSPANBCD a 42. La mayoría de estos son libros ilustrados incluyendo cuentos favoritos como

    Por Doreen Cronen
    Illustrado por Betsy Lewin


    Por Mo Willems


    11.14 Chato y su cenaCHATO Y SU CENA
    Por Gary Sato
    Ilustrado por Susan Guevara


    Además de los libros ilustrados, también tenemos los primeros cinco libros sobre Los Chicos del Vagón de Carga y varias antologías de cuentos populares y de hadas. Estos son excelentes para hispanohablantes y estudiantes de español de todas las edades. ¿Por qué no sacar algunos para su próximo viaje por coche?

  • suspend holds

    If you’re a frequent library user, you might be familiar with this dilemma: there are tons of books you want to read, but other people want to read them too. So, like the industrious library user you are, you put them all on hold. 

    And then, because the universe doesn’t care about things like how long it takes to read a book, ALL YOUR HOLDS COME IN AT ONCE. And maybe you have more time to read than I do, but between my family, my work, and my need for some semblance of sleep, I haven’t yet been able to get through nine books in three weeks. But it’s painful to return something, knowing that you’ll go to the back of the line and you’ll wait another six weeks (or months!) to get that book again. 

    So what’s an intrepid reader to do? The answer is easy. Suspend your holds! 

    When you suspend a hold, you keep your place in line but allow others to bump in front of you until you’re ready for your hold. This works slightly differently in our catalog and with Libby (digital books), so I’ll walk you through both processes. 


    For materials managed exclusively through our catalog – print books, audiobooks on CD, etc. – the suspend holds feature keeps your place in line until a specific date. If you reach the top of the holds queue while your hold is suspended, other people will jump in front of you until the hold reactivates. 

    To suspend a hold through the library’s catalog, log in to your library account and click the “my holds” tab. Here you can see all of your digital holds. 

    Suspend Holds Pic 1


    Simply select the title you’d like to suspend, and choose a date when you’d like the hold to reactivate. This can be a little bit of a guessing game, but if you know that you’ve got a vacation or something concrete planned you can select a time when you know you’ll be available to give that book all the attention it deserves. If your reading schedule opens up unexpectedly, you can always cancel your hold suspension and you will immediately start working your way up the hold list again. 

    Suspend Holds Pic 2



    If you do some of your reading through Libby by Overdrive (and if you don’t…why not? It’s amazing!), the Libby app has its own hold suspension system. It works similarly; you keep working your way up the hold queue while your hold is suspended, and if you reach the top slot Libby will allow one person at a time ahead of you until your hold is reactivated. To suspend a hold in Libby, go to your shelf and then your holds tab. Click on the red/blue “manage hold” square on the title you’d like to suspend. 

    suspend holds pic 3


    From here you can cancel or suspend your hold. I suggest you suspend.

    suspend holds pic 4


    This is now the step that doesn’t feel intuitive to me. You will be taken to a screen that gives you some information about your hold; click on the button in the lower right corner that says “active”, and then choose how long you’d like to suspend your hold. 

    suspend holds pic 5


    You will then be given a confirmation screen. If you immediately regret your decision, you can click “update hold suspension” and go back and rethink your life choices. 

    suspend holds pic 6


    Suspending holds is still a bit of a guessing game; unless you’re really diligent about knowing your place in every hold queue, there’s still a chance that your best-laid hold suspensions will all activate at the same time and you’ll still need to figure out how you can listen to a 48-hour audiobook in three days and still sleep and interact with other humans (I’m going to go ahead and tell you that you can’t. It’s just impossible. Forego human contact or resign yourself to jumping back into that hold queue.). 

    Still, it’s a tool in your belt. Place holds with abandon, and use the suspend feature wrangle them into a manageable state. Your personal reading queue will thank you. 

  • meet libby 01


    I have a new best friend, and her name is Libby. 

    For a long time, I have loved checking out eBooks and downloadable audiobooks from the library. I love that it's fast! I love that it's free! I don't always love that things automatically get returned at the end of three weeks whether I'm finished or not, but I do love that it's impossible to get late fees on electronic materials. I love our library's selection through OverDrive. 

    But I'm going to be honest for a second: I haven't always loved OverDrive's interface. It often feels like there are a few too many steps to get to a point where I can actually listen on my phone. How do I get to my bookshelf again? As a champion for utilizing these resources, I've always felt like the hurdles were worth it, but I completely understand how new users might get frustrated with the numerous steps it can take to get from finding an eBook to actually reading it. 

    But now Libby is here, and Libby is different.

    Libby by OverDrive is OverDrive's new, streamlined app that eliminates all the things I hated about checking out eBooks and Audiobooks. Libby remembers your library card so you don't have to sign in every time. Libby can remember that you want eBooks sent to your Kindle or iPad but audiobooks downloaded on your phone, and she does it right every time.

    With Libby, you're a search and a click away from reading or listening to the book you want. The steps go like this: 

    1. Install the Libby by OverDrive App on your device. 
    2. Search for your library and sign in with your current library card (Libby can even remember more than one card and toggle between them, if you'd like). You only have to do this step once. 
    3. Search for a title you're interested in. 
    4. If the title is available, tap "borrow." Libby will send the book to your bookshelf according to your preferences. 
    5. Once you've borrowed a title, you can go to your bookshelf to start reading or listening immediately, or you can keep browsing. 

    Libby is still part of the OverDrive family, which means that you'll see the same collection you've always seen in OverDrive, with new titles added all the time. There are few features that don't sync up with OverDrive's old app (like recommending purchases to the library), but if all you're doing in the OverDrive app is reading or listening to books, you're going to love Libby. 

    She's my best friend, but I'm happy to share. Happy reading!

  • As I commute to work I listen to a lot of audiobooks. I can listen to several books back to back, but then I need a palate cleanser of sorts. Sometimes this comes in the form of turning on the radio for a couple of days or listening to a few podcasts before starting a new book. Other times, I can get out of my listening rut by starting a middle grade novel. 

    I have found that middle grade fiction is perfect to listen to in the car because the books are extremely engaging, yet if I miss something while I’m paying attention to the road; it usually it isn’t hard to figure out what I missed. As an added bonus, middle grade novels are often perfect for the whole family to listen to together. 

    Here are seven—it was hard to narrow this list down—of my favorite middle grade audiobooks. Try one out on your next road trip, commute, or errand run! 

    1.30 EchoECHO
    by Pam Munoz Ryan

    This was by far my favorite read of 2016! I sang the praises of this audiobook in this blog post and continue recommending this book to anyone looking for an amazing audiobook.  


    1.30 The Indian in the CupboardTHE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD
    by Lynne Reid Banks

    I remember reading this book in elementary school and feeling captivated by its magical story. I recently listened to the audiobook (read by the author) and again enjoyed this wonderful book. The series has five books in total, so if you like this story, there are plenty more. While I didn’t enjoy the movie quite as much as the book, it’s a pretty good adaptation.  


    1.30 The Wild RobotTHE WILD ROBOT
    by Peter Brown

    I loved the music and sound effects on this audiobook. I’m not usually a fan of too many extra things when listening to a book, but this one was well done. The sound effects added to the story in a very charming way.  


    1.30 Because of Mr. TeruptBECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT
    by Rob Buyea

    I read this book in print form a few years ago and really loved the story. I started listening to the audiobook the other day (maybe so I could make sure this title could be included in this list) and am enjoying the story in audio format as well. I’d recommend this book to those who liked WONDER, since it has a similar feel and both talk about bullying. This is the first book in a trilogy.


    1.30 Gregor the OverlanderGREGOR THE OVERLANDER
    by Suzanne Collins

    I enjoyed HUNGER GAMES and had heard that this book by Suzanne Collins was also very good. I started listening to this series (there are five books total) when I lived in Virginia. I loved every single book in the series and am so glad I gave these books a try.  


    1.30 MatildaMATILDA
    by Roald Dahl

    I loved this movie when it came out in the 90s! This fall I decided that I needed to listen to the book (and then re-watch the movie of course) and it did not disappoint! Kate Winslet does an excellent job narrating, and it’s perfect for all ages. 


    1.30 Mustaches for MaddieMUSTACHES FOR MADDIE
    by Chad Morris

    Add this as another book for WONDER fans. This was a very touching story which had me in tears a few times. Be sure to listen to this one with some tissues at the ready.

  • Ebook Reading

    Everything feels a bit dystopian right now with the closures and cancellations to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Many are working from home and self-isolating, and with schools and businesses closed, there seems to be more time for what is most important. Like reading and listening to audiobooks. With a library card and a PIN you have access to several resources that can be really useful right about now. So, if the Corona virus has you down, here are some resources that you can still use even while the library is closed.


    Download best-selling audiobooks, eBooks, and magazines from Overdrive 24/7 to your computer or laptop at home. The database dashboard can be reached by going to, and then going to the Learn tab. Then you can choose the option of Research Databases from the drop-down menu. This brings up all the library’s online databases and subscriptions. Choose the first option of eBooks and Audiobooks. This gives you access to Overdrive. 

    One of the great things about Overdrive is that they group eBooks and Audiobooks not only by genre but by what is available all of the time. That means no waiting to read or listen! That is going to be a go to list for you. You can browse for eBooks and Audiobooks on other lists too. For example, Overdrive has several lists that coincide with Women’s History month. 


    Libby is Overdrive’s app for listening to audiobooks and reading eBooks on your phone. It is streamlined to be more intuitive and easier to use. Just go to the app store or Google Play and download the app. Once you have it downloaded, you will link your card to your account. It will ask for your library, your library card number, and your four digit PIN. Then you can start downloading. You can set your preferences for just eBooks or just Audiobooks. You can also set it so that you will only see what is available so you don’t have to place any holds for items. 

    Each family member’s card can be added to the app. Then each person can check out up to ten items and put up to seven items on hold on their devices. If you are sharing one device as a family, all of the items downloaded by each family member will be available.

    This is a time of uncertainty. But you can be certain about at least one thing. The Provo City Library is still committed to providing services that will help you and your family get through. 

  • curved shelves

    Though I work at a library, I am not a librarian. I haven’t been a librarian, and probably won’t ever be a librarian. I am, however, a reader, and I love getting recommendations from my librarian friends.  

    Lately, I’ve been reading and listening to more and more of their recommendations, and I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you, so here they are: my recommended recommendations (this post will just be about audiobooks; I’ll share more recommended recommendations in another post!).  

    Mary Roach

    Carla recently recommended this as one of her favorite always-available audiobooks on Overdrive. Because I sometimes get frustrated waiting for a digital hold to come in, the always-available option is great.  

    This book is amazing. You do have to have just a bit of a strong stomach (if sentences like “To see her his way, held open like a Gladstone bag, forces a view of the human torso for what it basically is: a large, sturdy container for guts,” make you queasy, maybe skip this one), but it is fascinating to think about all the ways that cadavers have made our lives better and safer. From medical training to car safety testing, cadavers do more for you than you know! Surprisingly, I don’t usually spend that much time in my day thinking about human decomposition, but it’s been a really interesting listen. Mary Roach is understated and hilarious, and I’m pretty sure I’m going go out and read everything she’s written.


    the war that saved my lifeTHE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE  
    Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

    A few years ago, Joella was on the Odyssey Committee. She listened to hundreds of audiobooks that year, and while she has to keep quiet about all the things the committee listened to as potential winners, she can recommend the award-winners enthusiastically, which is how I heard about THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE.  

    If you can, listen to this book. It’s a good read, but an even better listen. The story of two children relocated out of London during World War II is at times heartbreaking and hopeful, and will make you laugh and cry and have all the feels. It explores the ways that we are broken, and the ways that we are healed. It’s middle-grade, so this would be a great listen for younger readers as well.  


    ready player one

    Ernest Cline

    In my year of helping edit blog content, I’ve seen this one recommended several times, and those recommendations especially commend Will Wheaton as a narrator. I agree with those assessments. Will Wheaton is a great narrator that manages to communicate teenage angst and nerd-ish-ness without ever falling into annoying or whiny territory.  

    Though at times I felt like the book got a little bogged down in the details of explaining its sort of post-apocalyptic video game-obsessed society, it’s all interesting, and once the story picks up it’s a fast-paced and fun listen. I think anyone could enjoy this book, but it’s especially satisfying if you’re a fan of 80’s pop culture and vintage video games. If you can recall playing text-based RPGs on your family’s Commodore 64 with fondness, this one’s for you.  

    So there are my favorite three things I’ve listened to because our librarians told me to; what librarian-recommended books have you loved?  

  • Audiobook

    With so many good books coming out each year, it can be easy to feel pressured to only read the latest releases – after all, there is always a new, buzzy book to read. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still read (or re-read!) the classics. My favorite way to rediscover a classic is by approaching it in a new way – on audio! Luckily, there are tons of new audiobooks coming out each year with *famous* narrators and cool productions. Here are some favorite children’s books with audios worth seeking out.

    5.20 Phantom TollboothTHE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH 
    By Norton Juster
    Narrated by Rainn Wilson

    THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH is the story of Milo, a little boy who is bored by everything. Then one day, a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room and, because there’s nothing else to do, he drives through it and into a world where everything seems different. This contemporary classic, first published in 1961, is a beloved and imaginative novel that is only enriched by Rainn Wilson, best known as Dwight from THE OFFICE, and his captivating narration. This book is a little odd, but in a way that children and adults can admire.


    5.20 CharlotteCHARLOTTE’S WEB 
    By E.B. White
    Narrated by Meryl Streep with a full cast

    Does Charlotte’s Web really need an introduction? This perennial favorite tells the story of Wilbur – a runt pig destined to become the famer’s Christmas dinner. In a bid to save his life, Wilbur’s best friend, a spider named Charlotte, constructs elaborate webs lauding Wilbur’s virtues. This new audiobook is nothing short of magical with a full cast of characters (including local favorite Kirby Heyborne as Wilbur) and narration by the incomparable Meryl Streep. This new version is a perfect way to rediscover this terrific, radiant, humble book.


    By Lewis Carroll
    Narrated by Jim Dale

    I’ve written on this blog before about my love for ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece is an absurd one filled with nonsense and enough humor to make it enjoyable. This classic gets the Jim Dale treatment, who brings the same incredible knack for characterization and magic that he brought to the beloved HARRY POTTER audiobooks. He recounts Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole into a magical world that is unlike anything she’s ever seen. If you’ve never read ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, now is the time – and be sure to start with this book on CD.


    5.20 MatildaMATILDA
    Available on Overdrive 
    By Roald Dahl
    Narrated by Kate Winslet

    Is there any better book than MATILDA? In fact, is there any book character better than Matilda? The incredible Kate Winslet brings them both to life alongside all the other famous characters in this Roald Dahl classic. Never has Miss Honey seemed so sweet or Miss Trunchbull felt so villainous and never has Matilda’s triumph over the terrible adults in her life felt so well-earned. Share this remarkable retelling widely.


    5.20 The Mouse and the MotorcycleTHE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE 
    By Beverly Cleary
    Narrated by B.D. Wong

    Did you forget how much you love Ralph S. Mouse? Now is the time to remind yourself. B.D. Wong, a prolific actor, who I personally know best for his voicework as Li Shang in Disney’s 1998 MULAN, narrates this classic children’s novel about an adventurous mouse who befriends a young boy visiting the hotel where he lives. Wong brings the humorous antics of Ralph S. Mouse to life.

  • sync

     Who doesn’t love a good audiobook? What if I told you that you could download (and keep forever!) two audiobooks a week between April 27th and August 16th?!? SYNC is an audiobook literacy program geared towards teenagers. Their mission is to “develop the audience of teen audiobook listeners by providing free audiobook downloads. Two complete audiobooks—thematically paired—are available each week for listeners.”

    This program has been going on for several years, and there is a great selection again this spring and summer. Most of the titles are young adult fiction, but there are a few nonfiction titles and classics mixed in as well, with a variety of stories being told. Here are a few of the titles I’m most excited about downloading.

    by Donna Jo Napoli

    With the recent release of “Beauty and the Beast” starring Emma Watson, I’m certain this book is going to be a popular download. This novel elaborates on the original by telling the story from the beast’s perspective, only it is set in Persia instead of France.




    The WitchesTHE WITCHES: SALEM, 1692 
    by Stacy Schiff

    The Salem Witch Trials have always been fascinating to me. I visited Salem, Massachusetts a few years ago and loved learning even more about that interesting time in history. This nonfiction title explores the role of women in the events leading up to the Salem Witch Trials and explains how these tragedies came to be.




    by Mark Schatzker

    This book looks like the perfect fit for me! I’ve written a few times about my interest in foodie books on this blog (see here and here). Check it out if you too are interested in books featuring food.

    In this title we’ll learn how, as a nation, we have been led away from nutritious natural foods towards the delicious manufactured flavored chemicals so much of our “food” now contains. Read a review of this book on our Staff Review blog.


    Between Shades of GrayBETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY 
    by Ruta Sepetys

    I read this book in 2014 and gave it 4 stars on my Goodreads review, which means I really liked it! This is the story of 15-year-old Lina, her mother, and her brother as they are thrust out of their Lithuanian home by the Soviets and sent to Siberia. Lina doesn’t know why her father disappeared or why her family is being deported. Her family faces starvation and many other horrors during this time period, yet they also find ways to feel hopeful for their future.

    Although I recall feeling the cold, harsh winter while reading this book and the importance of the story, I don’t remember many of the details. Good thing I can refresh my memory by downloading this title! I know what I’ll be doing the first week in August. Read a review of this book on our Staff Review blog.

    Visit the Teen Corner for the complete schedule. In addition you can go to to listen to a clip of each title. Happy listening!


  • Tips for the Compulsive Audiobook Listener

    It’s the beginning of September and I just finished my 90th book since January 1st. That is a lot of books, if I do say so myself.  I’m asked fairly frequently how I manage to get through so many books and the answer is that I listen to them.  I read physical books occasionally, but I admit to being an almost exclusive audiobook listener.  (Which it totally legitimate!  Don’t let anyone lit-shame you into thinking listening isn’t as valid as reading!  It is!!)

    Below is a list of a few things I do to facilitate my voracious appetite for audiobooks!

    1. Use Overdrive/Libby

    If you don’t already, you should really get to know the Libby app which lets you download audiobooks for free from your library!  It works a lot like Audible, so if you are familiar with that, Libby will be easy (and free)!  Learn more here.

    2. Give Up Bingeing on TV

    There was a time in my life when I watched a lot of television, and I loved it. However, over the past few years I’ve given up binge watching dramas and sitcoms to find time to listen to more books.  I have always been one of those crazy multitaskers and so switching my entertainment distraction from television to audiobooks wasn’t that hard and I have found I really like the trade-off.

    3. Embracing the Chipmunks

    With either the Libby or the Overdrive apps you can speed up the readers! This is really great because if you double-time that speed a 10 hour audiobook only takes 5 hours to actually listen to, which is great.  There are a few drawbacks in that some readers sound like chipmunks when sped up that much and if you are particularly fond of a narrator you can miss out on their delightful cadence or amazing accents.  So, sometimes I slow it down and just revel the experience and sometimes I speed it up and get to move on to the next book that much faster.  And you don’t have to go double time.  You can just speed it up a little, say 1.25 times the speed and you still save a good chunk of time.

    4. Don’t Get Caught Unprepared

    I always keep two audiobooks downloaded to my phone. Nothing is worse than finishing one and not being connected to wifi to start listening to the next one!  Hopefully your phone has enough memory to allow you to do this but the serious book listener should definitely consider getting a phone with enough memory to keep appropriately well-stocked with audiobooks.

    5. Listen Constantly

    This is probably an obvious tip. I listen to audiobooks while driving, while cooking, while cleaning, while feeding my newborn, while unwinding at the end of the day and playing mindless puzzle games on my phone.  I listen whenever I can.  It’s surprising how fast these little chunks of time add up to a whole book!

  • Tips for the Compulsive Audiobook Listener

    Feel like you'll never make it through your to-read list? Audiobooks to the rescue! Along with last week's post, these are my best tips for audibook fans.

    6. Remember Your People

    This is more of a warning than a tip. Although I recommend listening constantly, please do not do so to the expense of the wonderful people in your life.  Stop listening when others join you in a room or use headphones so they don’t have to listen to what you are listening to.  Just remember to be courteous and present…even if you are trying to sate your hunger for literature!

    7. Tuesdays are for Searching

    As you find audiobooks to listen to on Libby or the Overdrive App, you will undoubtedly have to place things on hold and then wait for your turn. The hold lists are seldom as long as they look, so hopefully you aren’t waiting too long, but as an insider’s tip:  New titles are usually added on Tuesday afternoons.  I like to search for new releases on Tuesday afternoon or evening  and hopefully get on hold for things before they anyone else knows they are even available.

    8. Keep “Always Availables” in Your Back Pocket

    Even with a carefully curated hold list, there may be times when everything you are SUPER excited to listen to is on hold and you need something to listen to NOW. This is where the Always Available ( titles come in handy.  These selected audiobooks can be checked out any time and they are great for those days when you need something now.

    9. Don’t forget Books on CD

    As the popularity of downloadable audiobooks increases, we are noticing that our Book on CD collection is not being used quite as heavily. I will sometimes grab a Book on CD to listen to in my car, where I still have a CD player, while listening to something else on my phone when I’m in my home or while walking in the park.  CDs aren’t as convenient as they once were, but they are still a format that can come in handy and may be available faster than the downloadable version.

    10. Try Something New

    Finally, I like to encourage people to listen to genres they may not have enjoyed while reading. I can sometimes get bogged down in a thick nonfiction title, but as an audiobook, it seems to go much faster and I tend to enjoy them a whole lot more.  So, don’t be afraid to download something a little different from your normal fare.  You may just find a whole new category of books to enjoy!

    While your goal may not be to listen to over 100 books each year, using audiobooks to fit reading into your busy schedule is a great strategy.  Happy listening!!

  • When Book Groups Cant Meet 

    Being stuck at home can disrupt a lot of day-to-day life, and book clubs are no exception!  If you need to stay home, but are missing the ability to meet and connect with others (especially to discuss books!), there are a few tools that can help.

    Group Chat and Videoconference Software

    There are a few free products that allow groups to communicate together instantly without the need for long email threads.  Both Slack and Facebook, among others, have instant messaging service that can be used on devices or computers, and instant message groups can be created that can chat together.  There are also several videoconferencing software options, although many of them will only facilitate one-to-one video calls.  Skype can broadcast free video calls to groups of up to 25 individuals, and can also be used for group chats and photo and file sharing.  For multiple video streams, Zoom can pull in up to 50 streams at the same time.  It offers video, audio, and screensharing, as well as group messaging, although there is a time limit for the free version.  Freeconferencecall also provides teleconferencing for up to 24 people, and as an added bonus, calls can be recorded for viewing later on.

    What about reading a book together?

    Getting enough copies of a book can be difficult when supplies and mobility are limited, but thanks to Overdrive's Always Available Audiobooks, everyone in your book club can still access books!  "Always Available" means that there are no waiting lists and no check-out limits on individual titles.  Everyone in your group can check them out and start listening right now!  Overdrive maintains 75 Always Available Audiobooks (the list changes periodically to allow for fresh titles).  Currently, 10 of those titles are books included in the Provo City Library’s book club collection, and following is a list of those titles and links to our discussion guides with questions that can help facilitate your group’s discussion.

    3.18 The Goose GirlTHE GOOSE GIRL
    By Shannon Hale

    The Goose Girl Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Screwtape LettersTHE SCREWTAPE LETTERS
    By C.S. Lewis

    The Screwtape Letters Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Count of Monte CristoTHE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
    By Alexandre Dumas

    The Count of Monte Cristo Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Hiding PlaceTHE HIDING PLACE
    By Corrie Ten Boom

    The Hiding Place Discussion Guide


    3.18 Next Year in HavanaNEXT YEAR IN HAVANA
    By Chanel Cleeton

    Next Year in Havana Discussion Guide


    3.18 Nothing to EnvyNOTHING TO ENVY
    By Barbara Demick

    Nothing to Envy Discussion Guide


    3.18 Little WomenLITTLE WOMEN
    By Louisa May Alcott

    Little Women Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Life changing Magic of Tidying UpTHE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP
    By Marie Kondo

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Discussion Guide


    3.18 The Year of LessTHE YEAR OF LESS
    By Cait Flanders

    The Year of Less Discussion Guide


    3.18 Pride and PrejudicePRIDE AND PREJUDICE
    By Jane Austen

    Pride and Prejudice Discussion Guide