Audiobooks are one heck of a way to get into reading, to be honest! I love that they make me free to do other household chores. I am often listening to audiobooks while I wash the dishes, water the plants, or take a walk. However, I do understand that audiobooks can be daunting for many of us, especially non-native speakers of English. So today, I’ll be sharing a few tips and recommendations and I hope you will all find them beneficial!
Here are the 8 tips which will probably help you all, just as they helped me when I was starting with audiobooks!!
Begin with a light read – like a poetry collection, or conversely, begin with a fast-paced thriller! For me, it was the fast-paced thriller/literary fiction that did the job – Long Bright River by Liz Moore.
Often as a beginner, listening to an audiobook can distract you if you are doing something that requires you to be actively focused on it, as opposed to doing the job by mere muscle memory. That is why I personally recommend you to first start with doing such muscle-memory jobs while listening to audiobooks.
This tip is especially for non-native English speakers, myself being one such example. Obviously it is difficult to understand someone who is speaking very fast. As such, I would recommend you to perhaps start with 1x and then increase the speed as you grow comfortable. I personally have become accustomed to 2x now.
The way a particular narrator narrates the tale, can make it or break it for the reader. Of course, this is subjective for every reader, and so if you have perhaps heard someone say that a particular audiobook (that you have been meaning to listen to) is not really great, don’t simply give up. Check it out! On the same note, always try to listen to the sample track before buying the audiobook for the same reason. Check it out before you commit to it or before you completely push it aside.
If you are struggling to get into a physical book, then try to read it while also listening to the audiobook. This is a way of active learning, so perhaps you can also do it for college/school/work readings.
Always try to look at it in a positive manner. If you go in, thinking you won’t enjoy listening to audiobooks, chances are, you probably won’t. So keep an open mind!
Do not get discouraged. Since it is your first time delving into an audiobook, chances are there might be a couple of misses before the hook clicks in!
Lastly, check out my Audiobook Playlist on Youtube where there are quite a few audiobooks. Moreover, Librivox.org is a good source to get audiobooks!
Here I am also sharing recommendations of fabulous audiobooks (based on my personal experience, as well as recommendations I have come across!) I hope you all fall in love with audiobooks too! Here’s to a happy journey into a new world!
I finally started reading the graphic novel from 2019 and it honestly has been a great journey so far. In my 5th semester, I decided to pursue a Visual Studies elective. I was lucky enough to have a great teacher under whom I explored this genre and saw what fun it is!
Graphic novel: Pumpkinheads
I recently picked up Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks and it was my first graphic novel of the year. To be very honest, I was suffering from a terrible reading slump and so I wanted to read something fun and not very intense. That is the reason why I decided to pick up Pumpkinheads, about which my bestie Gayatri had been raving about from the time she read it. and I really enjoyed it. It certainly helped me get over my slump.
However, on that very note, it span over the time period of just a few hours. It is not a book with a lot of depth, so if that is what you are expecting it to be, you might be disappointed. I found it be a fun and flirty read. Moreover, it has great LGBT representation and it definitely broke free of the generic stereotypes of boys and girls. Lastly, I was blown away by the amazing art. The predominant colours were that of orange, burnt ochre, and all the autumn colours, which made the book an art piece to feast on. I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. It was a 3.75 star read for me.
Graphic novel: Vyasa
After that I was so in love with pictures that can take over your imagination, that I decided to go after another graphic novel and this time, I picked up Vyasa. This book is on the Indian epic Mahabharata, a personal favourite. The story is by Sibaji Bandyopadhyay and the art is by Sankha Banerjee. The way this book was written was amazing. I loved the recurrent jumps in time and the overall framing structure that combined the stories within the story. However, it was only the first part and I was left dangling.
Now I am eagerly waiting for the sequel to Vyasa: The Beginning. The art in this book is stunning as well and I was spellbound throughout. The fact that I finally have pictures that can accompany the stories I, and we all, grew up with, was a wonder in itself. I absolutely loved this book and I rated it 4.5 star read for me.
Embroidered Life, by Sara Barnes, follows the craft of embroidery as practiced by Sarah K. Benning. And it is the ultimate craft inspo!
Craft of Sarah K. Benning
From beautiful botanicals to bold affirmations, the work of self-taught fiber artist Sarah K. Benning gives any embroidery enthusiast, art lover, or plant fanatic a new appreciation for the craft of needlework.
I absolutely loved the art that is this book in itself. It sheds light on Benning’s embroidery process and her successful business model, while also offering behind-the-scenes insights that really inspired me to pick up the needle and thread after almost a decade.
Aesthetics of this craft
There are also some amazing pictures of the various embroidery works done by Benning and they are so lush and beautiful! A lot of her works feature nature and plants and the colour green overall, and it was no wonder I was so very attracted to it. Following each picture, the author has also included notes to explain the meanings and processes behind the stitches.
How it inspired me
It also obviously pushed me to make my own embroidery piece and so I too ended up embroidering my personal logo. I had a great time making it and I realized that it is a kind of meditation. It just feels so good to sit down in the warm sunshine every morning and do the stitching. I really felt at peace doing it.
Craft for life!
Moreover, the book is so aesthetic, and the addition of the die-cut case with actual stitching on the front cover just amps up the aesthetics! Like the embroidery which is a very physical thing, the inclusion of this stitching on the front too is iconic for emulating that sense of touch.
A smashing book!
I think by now it’s obvious I think it is a 5/5 star book, don’t you?
The Octopus Curse is a poetry collection by Dr. Salma Forook and I have yet to come across a more aesthetic anthology of poetry. Needless to say I loved it!
The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook is a collection of powerful poems, focusing on love, heartbreak, resilience, travel, self-love, feminity and women’s issues, etc. I have read What Your Soul Already Knows by the author last year and I had found it to be the best motivational book there ever was, without sounding too preachy and such. As such, when the author approached me for her second book, of course, I had to say yes!
Like her previous book, the words in this book too continue to be just as meaningful and full of depth. I love how the execution has been made. The words are rhythmic and lyrical and thus very heart warming as well as soothing to the ears. Through these different pieces, the author has inspired the reader to confront their feelings and accept them and most importantly, to be at peace with themselves.
The book is a work of art and a more aesthetic poetry collection, I have yet to come across. I am so glad I got to read this book when I did because this was just the right time for me. Perhaps, if I had read it at some other moment of my life, it wouldn’t have touched me as much as it has. Many thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy.
Here’s one poem that I absolutely loved. Check this one out!
You can also check out the book here: Amazon (the ebook is free upto 5th of November), Goodreads
An extraordinary debut that explores legacies of abuse,
redemption, and the strength of the human spirit–from the Boer Wars in South
Africa to brutal wilderness camps for teenage boys.
South Africa, 1901. It is the height of the second Boer War. Sarah van der Watt
and her six-year-old son Fred are forced from their home on Mulberry Farm. As
the polite invaders welcome them to Bloemfontein Concentration Camp they
promise Sarah and Fred that they will be safe there.
2014. Sixteen-year-old Willem is an outsider. Hoping he will become the man she
wants him to be, his Ma and her boyfriend force Willem to attend the New Dawn
Safari Training Camp where they are proud to make men out of boys. They promise
that he will be safe there.
You Will Be Safe Here is a powerful and urgent novel of two
connected South African stories. Inspired by real events, it uncovers a hidden
colonial history, reveals a dark contemporary secret, and explores the legacy
of violence and our will to survive.
received a review copy for the publishers in return for an honest review.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
absolutely loved reading YOU WILL BE SAFE HERE. This is a poignant story that
really touched my heart and I have changed after reading it. There are 4 parts
in the story.
part is written in an epistolary format – in the form of a diary. The ton of
Sarah van der Watt is so tragic. I found – not overtly so, but in its
undercurrent – I could feel it as I read – Sarah’s knowledge that the need of
her world as she knew it, was near. Things would greatly change and it is as if
she is deliberately and often times forcefully trying to be cheerful – why not
enjoy the last few days before all hell breaks loose?
I liked were –
strangely little to do now but wait.”
period of the second Boer War, the Kaffirs were freed by the English. The
resulting chaos was a great scar on the lives of so many people – both whites
and blacks. I was also pleasantly surprised by the resilience of the people –
specifically Sarah van der Watt and basically everyone else. It also talks about the feminine issues –
both social, and historical – the suppression of women and the masculine power play
over them, their objectification, etc. I
also loved that Samuel, the husband had been such a supportive husband to
Sarah, as we learn from the diary entries. Later on, the entries make you cry –
just reading of the utter inhuman situations that they, along with so many
other people were subjected to. The flashback method was also great and gives
great depth to the story.
that I really enjoyed was the inclusion of the literary references. It made the
text very relatable to the reader, as it surely did for me!
all the different parts, the Southern Cross is a recurring motif. I interpreted
it as an objective correlative for the concepts of hope and strength that it
bestowed on the different characters. The use of regional words at certain
places give a certain authenticity to the text and a sense of reality.
In part 2,
Willem says “They wouldn’t understand, they never understand” which I think
resonates among so many teenagers, when thinking of adults and authority
One of the
major themes that I saw throughout Part 2 is that of toxic masculinity. For
instance, seeing Willem cry in desperation once, Jan had turned away – after
all, boys do not cry. We also see domestic abuse scenario in this part.
Willem is at the camp and Rayna misses him. She understands that at the camp he
would be forced to do what they have wanted him to do always – things that
other boys do generally. “It’s these markers of his willingness to try that
break her heart”.
I really loved Rayna’s character. She is the
epitome of an independent and hardworking woman. When Irma accuses her saying
she could never “keep a man” Rayna says, “I never needed one… Maybe I wanted
one, sometimes but I never needed one. Not like you” and that is such a
powerful sentiment. Rayna is an inspiring woman just as Sarah.
This is one
of the best books I have read in my life, let alone in 2019. I rate it a 5/5
stars and will definitely be picking it up again.
‘Maggie & Me’ is my memoir and ‘You Will Be Safe Here’ is
my first novel (out in April 2019). You can follow me on twitter @damian_barr
and insta @mrdamianbarr. I host my own Literary Salon at the Savoy: www.theliterarysalon.co.uk
‘Maggie & Me’ is my memoir of surviving small-town
Scotland in the Thatcher years. It won Sunday Times Memoir of the Year:
“Full to the brim with poignancy, humour, brutality and energetic and
sometimes shimmering prose, the book confounds one’s assumptions about those
years and drenches the whole era in an emotionally charged comic grandeur. It
is hugely affecting.” BBC Radio 4 made it a Book of the Week. Following
Jeanette Winterson in 2012, Stonewall named me Writer of the Year 2013.
I host my own Literary Salon at the Savoy.
Guests include: Jojo Moyes, Bret Easton Ellis, John Waters, Mary Beard, James
Frey, David Nicholls, Colm Toibin, Taiye Selasi, Susan Calman, David Mitchell
and Rose McGowan. Do enjoy our podcast!
Commended as Columnist of the Year, I’ve also
been a journalist for over a decade writing mostly for The Times but also the
Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times, Guardian, Evening Standard and Granta.
I’m currently a columnist for the Big Issue and High Life. My first book, based
on a Times column, was published by Hodder in 2005. ‘Get It Together: A Guide
to Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis’. I’ve
also co-written two plays for Radio 4 and appeared on PM, Midweek, Broadcasting
House and Today as well as The Verb and presented on Front Row. I live in
Brighton with my partner and our intensely demanding chickens.
Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam,
and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes
her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on
her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast
Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc. She can be contacted at email@example.com .