The Great Audible Backlog Project of 2019 Update #1, and Other Words in My Eyeballs

February 09, 2019

Goal #1 of 2019 is a go! I've finished two books in my Audible backlog since mid-January, bringing my unlistened-to total down to 20. My thanks go out to dishes, laundry, and a giant, truly-too-difficult jigsaw puzzle.

First, I listened to The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, narrated by Carly Robin. This was fun and steamy, and Carly Robin did each character justice with only occasional voice-changing corniness. A few things pulled me out of the story, though, and some are hard to talk about them without spoiling. The protagonists kept making out and feeling each other up in front of one of their families. Why? Not trying to clutch pearls too tightly here, but it's family dinner, ya 30-year-old adults. Also, there was a sexual assault scene that... got worse, when I think the author meant for it to get better? I loved hearing the story of a character on the autism spectrum falling in love, written by someone also on the spectrum. However, what felt like endless would they-won't they + the issues I shared above made it a cute meh.

Next up was Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, narrated by a full cast. This was a second try for me. It turned out to be a great audio thriller, high on personal drama with the added bonuses of giant robots, ancient aliens, and the people behind the scenes investigating/covering it all up. Told in dossier format, you get insight into every character's head through personal diaries and one-on-one interviews, and then the occasional news dispatches about how broader society is handling the supposed-to-be-secret giant robot and ancient alien thing. I saw some of the twists coming, but as much as I expected another "meh," the ending left me wanting more. I wanted to buy the other one via Audible immediately, but the library came through with no wait list. I've already blown through the sequel, Waking Gods, and currently have the finale Only Human out from the library. I found Waking Gods even more interesting than the first novel; it built off well-laid character foundations by throwing them into even more morally gray situations. I'm having trouble sinking into the final installment so far, but I have faith it will click with time.

I have had Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction by Maia Svalavitz out from the library since January, but I haven't touched it in a couple weeks. Svalavitz frames substance use disorder as a learning disorder, using scientific evidence and her personal experiences with cocaine and heroin to build her case. My job has me wading into the weeds of opioid use disorder treatment strategies every day, and I often see substance use disorder framed either as moral failing or chronic disease. I've appreciated Svalavitz's willingness to think outside those boxes. The book is fascinating but dense; I started it in the thick of my concentration issues, and I stalled out halfway through. I want to give it another go now that those are subsiding.

ETA: Also entering my eyeballs lately is Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I don't have any coherent thoughts on it yet, but so much of it is speaking directly to my darkest beliefs about myself and others and helping me reconsider them. More soon!

What's on your night stand right now? Any reading goals and/or progress to share?

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