Audiobooks Recommendations

Chaz wrote:

Turns out my local library has a really extensive collection of audiobooks. Most are WMA, so I'll be putting them on my ipod for the car. How are those about actually expiring? The lending period on audiobooks is only 7 days, which definitely won't be long enough for a lot of the books on my list. Will the files stay playable on an ipod after the period, or will I have to renew and re-download or something?

If your library uses Overdrive like most do, most of them have a drop down when you check out that might give you longer checkout options, so when you get one, see if you can go 14 or 21 days.

I'm not sure the .wma files will play on the ipod directly, but some books will now allow you to convert them for transfer to the iOS devices. That's a publisher decision to allow that IIRC, so it might not always apply.

The mp3 files are obviously not going to expire. The .wma files seem to expire on the computer and can't be transferred to a device after the date expires on them. However, if they're on a device, they seem to live forever and not expire. At least on my Sansa Clips.

So what I do it get in the queue for stuff I'm interested in and download them and transfer them to my Clip player within the checkout window, then listen to them whenever I get to them. Once they're on the device they'll just play and won't expire.

If you have trouble with iOS stuff not allowing you to do similar things or transfer properly, I'd advice getting one of these little Sansas. They are excellent audiobook players, with very nice bookmarking functionality, good battery life, small size, micro SD expandability, and low price.

The Clip Zip is the current model, but I have both the original Clip and the Clip+. Here's what Amazon has.

I suspect most phones would not be good players for this, because they have to not only support .wma, they also have to support the Playready DRM. Most probably don't license that.

I like having this tiny players for my books that is separate from my phone and it's battery But I can understanding not wanting more devices.

For the cost of one expensive audiobook at retail, though, you have at least that option if you get frustrated.

Just finished listening to Devil in the White City (non-fiction) and I really enjoyed it. I know very little about the game, but while listening, I kept thinking about the upcoming Dishonored, mostly the concept art. Something about the time period (1890's) and the subject matter brings these grand, baroque, but sinister images to my mind.

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Tom Cruise's name was associatted with the role of H. H. Holmes in the upcoming movie and he would have been perfect, absolutely perfect for it. I think it is going to go to Dicaprio, which disappoints me knowing T.C. was rumored to play the role. I honestly think he is the only talented actor charismatic enough to really pull it off.

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Also reminicent of:

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Just finished both books in the Kingkiller series. Hella long (second one was about 40 hours), and interesting considering both are supposed to be transcriptions of the character telling the story, with each book being told in one day. He must talk fast. They were excellent, and I'm sad I have to wait for the third one.

Started Ready Player One right after, and turns out Wil Wheaton is reading it. Neat! On deck are Cloud Atlas, and the first in the Iron Druid series. Might try Neil Stephenson after, though the library doesn't have Snow Crash, and I'm hesitant to start with Cryptonomicon, since I've never read anything by him before. Also sad to find out that they haven't made audiobooks of any of the Malazan books either.

A Wise Man's Fear on audiobook! I would probably die. Rothfuss writes fantastic stuff that I need to read at a ravenous pace. He also pens pages on pages of pitiful introspections, shallow descriptions, and Pokemon Blue inspired sex scenes that I need to skim like a professional pool boy.

You're a stronger human than I am Chaz.

Chaz wrote:

Might try Neil Stephenson after, though the library doesn't have Snow Crash, and I'm hesitant to start with Cryptonomicon, since I've never read anything by him before. Also sad to find out that they haven't made audiobooks of any of the Malazan books either.

Snow Crash has nothing really to do with Cryptonomicon. There's some lose ties in families between Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle books, though.

Cryptonomicon is great. I actually just listened to the book a couple of months ago after reading it years ago. It has some tech stuff that isn't current, but overall I still really liked it.

I think Snow Crash is probably more influential, but I didn't enjoy it as much. The Baroque stuff is heavy (literally in book form, which is how I read them), but I am glad I went through them because I got a lot of enjoyment out of them.

I'd say go ahead and do Cryptonomicon.

Stephenson is kind of like GRRM a bit in how all of his stuff includes a lot of detail that probably doesn't really add a lot to the true story, and a lot of other books would have edited out. You may like that or be frustrated depending on your tastes.

I think I started Wise Man's Fear before I realized the third one wasn't done yet. The rest of your post is confusing and scary. I didn't see any Pokemans, and if there were sex scenes in the games, I should re-think not playing them. I did like the line "I tried to use the Thousand Hands on her, but she had little patience, so it ended up being more like Seventy-Three Hands."

The only reason I'm hesitant to start with Cryptonomicon is that I read in some other thread somewhere that Snow Crash is the easier of his books to get into, so I figured I'd start there.

The pokemon reference is that he creates some sexual "special moves", and he says the name of the move as he conducts them. Much like anyone who uses Leech Seed.

I didn't realize that was a Pokemon thing. I do that, and I've never even watched Pokemon. How else will she know what special move you just used?!

Chaz wrote:

I didn't realize that was a Pokemon thing. I do that, and I've never even watched Pokemon. How else will she know what special move you just used?!

Chaz uses Wang Thrust. It's super-effective!

Tanglebones wrote:
Chaz wrote:

I didn't realize that was a Pokemon thing. I do that, and I've never even watched Pokemon. How else will she know what special move you just used?!

Chaz uses Wang Thrust. It's super-effective!

That's why she's marrying me!

Chaz wrote:

The only reason I'm hesitant to start with Cryptonomicon is that I read in some other thread somewhere that Snow Crash is the easier of his books to get into, so I figured I'd start there.

I don't agree with that. I started with Cryptonomicon and enjoyed it more than Snow Crash. I guess it's different for different people.

Arise! I'm about to finish off Cryptonomicon. Overall, I liked it, but man, that book is the definition of "sprawling". He really likes to go off on tangents about everything. Like the whole scene with the aunt's possessions in the parking lot. It adds some background to the family, but I don't know that we needed a detailed explanation of the mathematical formulas behind distributing the goods.

Really wish the library had Snow Crash though. His writing actually works really well for going on long runs. Most of the time, I don't have to pay super-close attention, because anything that's going to happen is probably going to take a while to develop. It's almost languid.

Cryptonomicon sounds perfect for my long commute. I've been running out of ideas for new books from Audible. At 43 hours of audio, that should last me a few weeks.

Edit: Another good one that takes a long time to develop plots is Wolf Hall. Not exactly cyberpunk, I know, but still really good.

bighoppa wrote:

Cryptonomicon sounds perfect for my long commute. I've been running out of ideas for new books from Audible. At 43 hours of audio, that should last me a few weeks.

Edit: Another good one that takes a long time to develop plots is Wolf Hall. Not exactly cyberpunk, I know, but still really good.

Takes a long time and goes into a lot of detailed tangents, with the added benefit of being extremely well done in audio: George R. R. Martin

MannishBoy wrote:
bighoppa wrote:

Cryptonomicon sounds perfect for my long commute. I've been running out of ideas for new books from Audible. At 43 hours of audio, that should last me a few weeks.

Edit: Another good one that takes a long time to develop plots is Wolf Hall. Not exactly cyberpunk, I know, but still really good.

Takes a long time and goes into a lot of detailed tangents, with the added benefit of being extremely well done in audio: George R. R. Martin

I did the full run of the Martin books in the spring. The first three are excellent. The fourth one is read by someone who reads everything in a hammy, over-dramatic style that's awful to listen to. The fifth one brings back the original reader, but he appears to have forgotten all the character's excellent voices he used to use, and many of the new ones are not good.

Combine bad narration with the last two books being generally too meandering and full of obviously pointless detail, and I was really unhappy with them. Stick with the first three only for a good time.

Chaz wrote:

I did the full run of the Martin books in the spring. The first three are excellent. The fourth one is read by someone who reads everything in a hammy, over-dramatic style that's awful to listen to. The fifth one brings back the original reader, but he appears to have forgotten all the character's excellent voices he used to use, and many of the new ones are not good.

They rerecorded that one with Roy Doltrice, who did the others. It was originally done by the guy that did the male parts of the Wheel of Time books, IIRC.

Too bad my library didn't have the Dotrice version of book 4. Of course, if his performance is along the lines of book 5, I'm not sure it makes much difference.

And good to know I can skip the WoT audiobooks. I really cute stand that guy.

Chaz wrote:

Too bad my library didn't have the Dotrice version of book 4. Of course, if his performance is along the lines of book 5, I'm not sure it makes much difference.

And good to know I can skip the WoT audiobooks. I really cute stand that guy.

I was wrong, it's John Lee that did Feast originally. He does a lot of stuff, but not the WoT books. That was Michael Kramer (male parts of books).

Both those guys do a ton of books in fantasy and sci fi, and I got them confused.

A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918. A wonderful book about a horrific war.
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I don't know if you move them if they'll keep your place.

The way to put them in the right place from Overdrive when you initially transfer: Start the transfer, after you pick the device, hit the "Advanced" button, then editing the transfer path. Just replace "Music" with "Audiobooks".

As for the car, I suspect you'll need to connect it to AUX vs USB. IIRC, when I've hooked one up to a Ford Sync system in a rental, that's how I had to do it. You lose your car controls, but you keep your bookmarks, etc.

I finally got sick of my ipod having issues with transitioning to the next track correctly when playing WMA Overdrive books, so I picked up a Sansa Clip. Cuz I've got questions.

The main thing is that the audiobook plays fine with headphones. However, when I hook it up to my car ('11 Fiesta with Sync) via USB, it seems to find the player, but says there's no media files. My suspicion is that the car doesn't like the copy protection on the WMA files (which is what I've got on there) for whatever reason. I just put a regular .mp3 file on it, and that should tell me if it's not reading any files off it, or if it's just not recognizing the .WMA ones.

The other thing is that the Overdrive transfer tool stuck all the books in the Music folder. If I move them over to the Audiobook folder, will it then remember where I was if I switch to something else?

Edit: I know it's iffy to ask, but is there a clean way to convert the overdrive .wma files to mp3? The Overdrive software does this natively, but apparently not well, since files converted this way don't always transition between tracks correctly, like ending track 8 and skipping directly to 10. Books native to mp3 don't do this, so I suspect it's the conversion and not the player.

MannishBoy wrote:

I don't know if you move them if they'll keep your place.

The way to put them in the right place from Overdrive when you initially transfer: Start the transfer, after you pick the device, hit the "Advanced" button, then editing the transfer path. Just replace "Music" with "Audiobooks".

As for the car, I suspect you'll need to connect it to AUX vs USB. IIRC, when I've hooked one up to a Ford Sync system in a rental, that's how I had to do it. You lose your car controls, but you keep your bookmarks, etc.

Yeah, I've got it hooked up via USB, but it can't seem to see the files. I'm less worried about keeping my place (I don't skip around much), I just want them to play continuously from track to track. I have a little more experimenting to do, but it's frustrating that getting even basic playback working correctly is being such a pain. Yay DRM?

Chaz wrote:

Yeah, I've got it hooked up via USB, but it can't seem to see the files. I'm less worried about keeping my place (I don't skip around much), I just want them to play continuously from track to track. I have a little more experimenting to do, but it's frustrating that getting even basic playback working correctly is being such a pain. Yay DRM?

If you're on AUX and the books are in the right place, they'll play track to track. They'll also auto-bookmark, so that when you leave a book to go to another, podcast, or music, when you come back to the original book, it will ask if you want to resume. Accept, and you'll be right where you left it.

I don't know that that will work via USB. I know a lot of aftermarket head units that support .wmas specifically point out they only work with non-DRM'd files.

Over the years, I've tried a lot of .wma capable players as my audiobook players. The Sansa family really is about the best once you learn a couple of the quirks like putting things in the right folder. I've probably listened hundreds of books on mine over the last few years, going back to the original unexpandable Clip (I own a 4GB Clip, an 8GB Clip, and an 8GB Clip+).

Supposedly Sync supports wma, and being from MS, it should. At this point, there's two issues:

1) Sansa connected to car via USB can't see files. I just discovered that there's two USB modes available. Looks like when plugged into a computer, it reads as a media player. I'm betting that when plugged into the car, it reads as a mass storage device. Apparently files placed in one mode are invisible when in the other. I'm currently moving the book files over in mass storage mode. This may introduce DRM issues, but if I can at least get it to find the files, I can re-transfer them in the storage mode when I get home.

2) When I'm using the ipod, it frequently skips tracks when transitioning. It does this whether or not it's connected to the car, and doesn't do it with books that downloaded in mp3 format, so probably the conversion is to blame. If I get issue 1 resolved, then this doesn't matter.

Technology! I hate having tech issues when I can't actively try and troubleshoot. It bugs the hell out of me.

Chaz wrote:

Supposedly Sync supports wma, and being from MS, it should. At this point, there's two issues:

1) Sansa connected to car via USB can't see files. I just discovered that there's two USB modes available. Looks like when plugged into a computer, it reads as a media player. I'm betting that when plugged into the car, it reads as a mass storage device. Apparently files placed in one mode are invisible when in the other. I'm currently moving the book files over in mass storage mode. This may introduce DRM issues, but if I can at least get it to find the files, I can re-transfer them in the storage mode when I get home.

2) When I'm using the ipod, it frequently skips tracks when transitioning. It does this whether or not it's connected to the car, and doesn't do it with books that downloaded in mp3 format, so probably the conversion is to blame. If I get issue 1 resolved, then this doesn't matter.

Technology! I hate having tech issues when I can't actively try and troubleshoot. It bugs the hell out of me.

Yeah, there's MSC and MTP. I think the default is MTP. I think I've gone back and forth, and MTP is what I settled on. And you're right, it's like there are two partitions between the two.

Not sure if you can put the files on with MSC through the Overdrive process or not. Can't remember. If you can't use Overdrive to transfer, and get into a drag and drop situation, I'm not sure the DRM will allow the file to play. You'll just have to test.

Well, knowing that switch is there is helpful. It may be as simple as setting the player to one or the other. I've only tried it in the car with Autodetect selected, since it's the default. At least I've got something I can try out.

Something I've discoverd recently which I'm loving is Doug Bradley's Spinechillers. Classic horror and ghost stories from the old masters (M R James, Lovecraft, Poe, etc) read by Doug Bradley (chap who played Pinhead in Hellraiser) and apparently later sets have stories read by Robert Englund and Jeff Combs (in his case, "Herbert West - Reanimator", appropriately enough )

I'm up to volume 4 of 10... absolutely perfect for long dark winter nights walking home from work

I've also got a collection of Lovecraft's stories that I need to rip into Itunes at some point as well.

A quick experiment at lunch, and I think I'm boned with regards to using the Clip with my car. It looks like the car is only willing to work with the player when the player's set to MSC mode (files are found, but not playable because DRM).

However, some more research suggests that the Overdrive software will only allow you to put the files on the device when it's in MTP mode. I'll test tonight, but if that's the case, then I don't think there's a way for me to get the files onto the player in a way that my car will read them, short of just using a 3.5 jack to the line in. If that's the case, then I'm just going to return the Clip, since it really won't be doing me much good.

Yay DRM.

Chaz wrote:

A quick experiment at lunch, and I think I'm boned with regards to using the Clip with my car. It looks like the car is only willing to work with the player when the player's set to MSC mode (files are found, but not playable because DRM).

However, some more research suggests that the Overdrive software will only allow you to put the files on the device when it's in MTP mode. I'll test tonight, but if that's the case, then I don't think there's a way for me to get the files onto the player in a way that my car will read them, short of just using a 3.5 jack to the line in. If that's the case, then I'm just going to return the Clip, since it really won't be doing me much good.

Yay DRM.

What's so bad about using the AUX port? It's not like it doesn't have analog controls that you can manipulate without looking once you learn them. And you're not really messing with controls much on an audiobook, anyway.

Everybody has different needs, obviously. Just trying to get my head around it. Yeah, it's not as nice, but I've done it for years.