Learning styles (and challenging my own with audiobooks)

This is more-or-less part of my slow-updating Newly-Minted Adult series. Technically it’s just another way for me to talk about books, but it still counts. It does!

I am not an auditory learner.

Not even in the slightest. I used to feel lacking, or lazy, or disrespectful when I had so much trouble paying attention to lectures, sermons, lessons—you name it, I struggled with focusing in it.

It helped when I began understanding it about myself. I realized that it probably explains my being a better student in high school than in college (in addition to the general lack of time for studying after running around Chicago every evening). I no longer feel guilty that I don’t get a ton from sermons, or feel bad at how many chapels I slept through in college, and I can allow myself to feel fine about needing to not yet even consider going back to school.

And if I want to work on any of those things, that’s fine–but I finally let myself off the hook for being how I am in the first place (most of the time). Maybe that’s part of  adulting: learning to work on your flaws, but in healthy ways that don’t involve beating yourself up for them. (Or maybe I just wanted to say adulting again.)


Not being an auditory learner also means that I’ve never really cared to be read to (although if I ever did as a small child, I just don’t remember.) And that means I’ve never considered audiobooks as desireable, or even an option.

Which is exactly why I finally decided to give them a shot.

(Well, that, and all the other cool book-blogging kids are listening to them!)


Maybe it won’t actually work this way, but I realized that probably the only sensible way to improve my auditory learning would be to, well, use it.  And since listening to lecture recordings or even a lot of podcasts sounds like a surefire way to make me not bother, audio books are clearly the superior option.

And I’m not sure which came first: the idea of audiobooks as a way to train my sucky auditory learning skills, or the need to read books in all of the ways books can be read.

& I also felt left out when reading blog posts about audiobooks. Let me in the club!

So I am just  trying it all out now. Sometime in the last year I started trying to do library audio books, but I didn’t like the feel of the Overdrive app, or having a limited check out period (something that doesn’t bother me as much with Kindle books).


Sometime before Christmas, Isaac pointed me to a fantastic trial-period deal on Audible (because if a deal exists, he will find it).

I’m often hesitant to go for trials because I am awful at cancelling things. I had a credit score checking subscription for about 9 months longer than I wanted it because their process for canceling was horrible… not that I’m much better when the process isn’t horrible.

Anyways. The trial offer was for three months at their gold level: 1 credit each month. And since it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I missed canceling in time and hit a fourth month at 1 credit for $14, I signed up and downloaded Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please. 

Which is a fabulous book so far.
Which I have only listened to 5% of in three months.

Clearly I needed to start somewhere more basic (for me) than non-fiction.

Enter my obsessive marathoning of Veronica Mars and the subsequent movie. After finishing I discovered the results of one very obsessive fandom: There’s a book too?!?!!

It was a good move: I’m much more interested in opening my audible app when it’s fiction. I’m more likely to be thinking ahead to times I can take advantage of my headphones when it’s a story I’m really interested in (and has great narration!). I’ve even opened it to listen before going to sleep a few times.

It’s still slow, it’s still not instinct in the slightest to want to listen to a story, but that’s hardly a surprise. The surprise is that it’s tentatively working, no matter how slowly.

The other day I bought Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warnings because I though he might narrate it himself (he does, and it’s great) and that short stories would be a curious thing to try listening to. I like short stories, but I tend to forget I’m reading a collection of them—so if listening to them turns out to be a bust, it’s not a great loss.

And Neil Gaiman is fantastic, and I was going to have to read it in some format eventually. (Seriously. Go read something by Gaiman.)


I’m starting to “get” the appeal. I can listen on the bus if I don’t feel like reading (or need both my hands for stability) or walking around. It’s not like I’m not willing to read my kindle while walking, but this is probably safer.

And while I don’t drive often and can’t multifocus well enough to listen while doing chores, I totally get how perfectly suited Audible would be for both.

So I’m not quite sold yet, but when I finish 8 hours of Kristen Bell narrating her very own Veronica Mars, I might be.

Reading, Lately [September]

The list below gives evidence of A) September simply being an inexplicably good month of reading; and B) my nerdish desire to make my Goodreads reading challenge in exactly 3/4 of the year, once I realized it was a viable possibility.

(And I did, in fact, pick the shortish novella A Tangled Web on September 30th to achieve that. Yes, that’s almost cheating. No, I don’t care.)


Fortunately, the Milk  
Neil Gaiman

Sometimes I think that Neil Gaiman is my favorite genre. This kids book isn’t really in any way relevant to that thought—because it’s necessarily very different from his non-kids books—but this remarkably clever story makes me think it anyways.

I gave this as a gift to a friend who loves children’s books long before even reading it, because I knew it would be good. And now that I’ve listened to it on audio book (read by Gaiman, even better!), I’m trying to come up with an excuse to put my hands on a hard copy again, because apparently the illustrations are lovely.

Rules of Civility  Amor Towles
I think it was lovely. It was lovely, right? Perhaps it was mostly lovely. I got bored a few times, and that doesn’t lend itself to the description, but when I was enjoying it, which was much of the time, it was. Lovely, that is. And I finished much of the second third or so quickly, as I was just into it quite a bit more by then.


Big Little Lies  Liane Moriarty

Big issues, light book. It feels like reading chick-li, and I suppose it is, but Moriarty is good here are packing the best kind of fluff right around the tougher things. I don’t know much much sense that actually makes, but anyways, I enjoyed this one all the way through.



Left Neglected  Lisa Genova

This one has been sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for me to do this silly self-challenge to read the poor books waiting for me on my bookshelves. I picked it up from the used bookstore, even though I’d been wanting to read another book by Genova more — but this one was there! It wasn’t anything special, but I liked engaging in the story, and all of everything in here about left neglect was fascinating.


The Geography of You and Me  Jennifer E. Smith

Silly, fun YA… but also a bit of a downer for some of it? This was another one where I did enjoy the reading, and I was more or less motivated to finish the story, but it didn’t wow me in the slightest. Maybe it was the improbability of a teenage romance lasting too much past the last page, but I’ve read plenty of books where I didn’t mind that.


A Tangled Web  Mercedes Lackey

Short 90-page adventure through Lackey’s vision of what Greek Mythology looks like in her 500 Kingdoms world. Picked for my need to finish a book that day– and it was perfect for that. Not as good as the first two or three books in the 500 Kingdoms series, but significantly better than the final three.




Bird by Bird Anne Lamott

I devoured the first few chapters of this right when I bought it several months ago, but once it became more focused on fiction it became a bit-by-bit book for me, since I don’t really write fiction. It took ages to finish, but was completely worth it: even the things that didn’t apply much to me were good. But if you’re also not a fiction writer, and don’t much care to read about it, the beginning and end are particularly great.


How To Be a Woman Caitlin Moran

I have absolutely no idea how to review this. The first who chapters feel quite a bit crass, but only so much in that we don’t really like talking about going through puberty all that much! It might not be for everyone, especially in my usual circles, but it was so worth it for me, particularly the later bits more specifically on feminism. Perhaps the most true thing I can tell you is that I carried this around at all times and finished it in under two days.



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