Going All In on Audiobooks

For the majority of my life, I probably would have said reading was my primary hobby. There have been a few notable gaps – sometimes just a handful of months, once or twice a couple years – where I read very little, but for the most part, I’ve been a devourer of all sorts of books. Moving my library to digital a dozen or so years ago was a weird adjustment, but in the end, worth it for the amount of physical space it filled up – I tended to collect books I’d maybe like to read someday, and it had gotten out of control.

However, I never gave a lot of thought to audiobooks. Sure, when I was making frequent long road trips, I had a few dozen on well-worn cassettes I’d revisit on a regular basis, but for the most part, they didn’t hold a lot of interest for me. I’m a fast reader – I can finish a book in about half the time it’d take for it to be read to me, so I never saw the appeal of listening when I could just read instead.

Other than a brief flirtation with audiobooks when Kindle Unlimited started offering them as part of the subscription price, I hadn’t thought much about audiobooks in years. Then two things happened around the same time during the summer of 2020. Firstly, my husband expressed an interest in picking up a few audiobooks to listen to while painting, and The Sandman adaptation released as an Audible exclusive.

So we got an Audible subscription. If I’m going to be frank, it hasn’t been a great value for us – I find the “perk” of the plus catalog rather limited as far as titles that interest me, and he’s been off of listening to books for awhile now. Sure, we have a credit to spend every month, but – at least for me – I tend to read things and never give them a second thought, so credits tend to build up in our account for months at a time because I don’t want to commit to owning anything. Last spring, I paused my subscription for several months since we weren’t really using it, which was a great feature. However, Audible only allows you to pause for up to three months once a year, and cancelling your account means losing your accumulated credits. This makes the whole subscription a poor fit for the way I prefer to use it.

This year, I decided that I either needed to figure out how to spend all my credits and get out, or really commit to getting value out of my subscription. It’s been several months since I was spending a lot of time with books, so the combination of those two factors made it seem like a good time to really try this out. To top it off, I’m committed to a lot of cross-stitching projects over the year, so I figured it was a good match.

The good news is, I’m really taking to audiobooks as a companion to crafting, but I still wasn’t loving Audible. I thought I’d poke around a bit and see what other offerings were out there, and I stumbled across Scribd. Unlike Audible, you can’t purchase audiobooks via Scribd – it’s a rental only service – but it includes ebooks as well as audio. It’s priced the same as Kindle Unlimited ($9.99 a month), and I’ve been absolutely delighted with the selection of available titles in both categories.

I’m currently taking advantage of a two month trial, but I’m already fairly certain that I’m going to cancel both of Amazon’s offerings in favor of Scribd. I’m not using my Kindle Unlimited anyway – I read a couple books towards the end of fall, but nothing previous to that in over a year, and I’ve been dissatisfied but feeling trapped by Audible for several months now. I’m sure I’ll have saved enough in $15 a month subscription fees just to purchase the third volume of The Sandman when it releases at full price.

I’ve found Scribd to be a far better source for both big name authors, and the fun popcorn fiction I gravitate towards, and I foresee an awful lot of evenings spent stitching while listening to a book.

Relatedly – I feel vaguely guilty counting audio novellas towards my “books read” count for my GoodReads challenge this year, and I’m not sure why. In the past, I’ve had no qualms about adding short books, or even graphic novels to my count, but I’m finding myself feeling conflicted about novellas and where they fit into the concept of “books read”.

Nerd Girl Goals – August 2020


Since we’ve already done a daily post-a-thon once this year, Blaugust is looking a little bit different. I’m intrigued by the idea of a Promptapalooza, and I’m looking forward to reading all the interesting stuff that comes from it, even though I am hesitant to commit to completing too many prompts myself. You can find the intro post and first prompt over on Tales of the Aggronaut.

Nerd Girl Thoughts will be responsible for the prompt on August 10th.

#FightingGameMonth is the theme of August for the Community Game Along, and it’s the third month in a row that I’m going to be stepping outside my genre comfort zone in order to participate.

And again, because I’m not 100% on the genre definitions, I’m going to rely on the not-so-reliable Steam tag system. Going over my library, I think the main game I’m going to try out is Injustice: Gods Among Us, although I’m hoping to also sneak in a post about a super fun, free fighting game before the month is out.

Steam also told me that the Batman Arkham games count as fighting games, which while I’m thinking that’s a stretch, made me think this might be a good time to start my replay of the series.

Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

I still have a few outstanding game-related stuff I’d like to finish up over the next few weeks, but there’s plenty of stuff I haven’t already talked about I’d like to add onto my plate this month.

I want to talk about SMITE for a minute, here. There are now 110 playable gods in the game, each with unique abilities, passives, and synergies. While I understand that it’s possible for someone to know how to play every single character, I have a Pokemon-brain that only lets me maintain competency at about a dozen or so at a time.

Because of that, I really want to buckle down and learn that handful of characters cold. In the “main mode” there are five roles, and I’d really like to have four characters per role, but I’m going to set my goal for three, because, well, Pokemon-brain. I want to make sure I have build paths on lock as well as managing the actual in-game button pushing.

I expect my biggest struggle to be the assassin class / jungle role, and I am grateful to have a patient group to play with who don’t get overly bent out of shape over losing.

Otherwise, I plan to turn my attention to some shorter and more story-focused games. While I’m missing my strategy games, I find I rarely have the patience for them, and diving into a huge RPG just doesn’t even appeal right now. With how much I have on my plate outside of gaming this month, I just won’t be able to get deeply involved for days a time, so I need to keep my focus more, well, focused.


I’ve just started on Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff ahead of the release later this month of the series on HBO. I’ve been a fan of Matt Ruff since stumbling across the weirdly wonderful Sewer, Gas, and Electric years ago in a used bookstore. I grabbed this one via Kindle Unlimited back in December, and honestly, forgotten all about it until I started seeing ads for the show.

E.A. Copen also recently released the first two books in a new series, and I have Shadows Over Hemlock up next to read. I’d been taking a break from urban fantasy for a bit, so I was delighted to discover her new series was more of a horror story.


Although there’s still a lot of TV I’d like to finish up (I have a nasty habit of not wanting shows to end so I just … stop watching them?), I expect most of my TV time this month will be spent keeping up with the Smite Pro League games. Even though I space them out throughout the week by watching the VODs on YouTube, watching six sets every week is quite a commitment in and of itself.

All in all, I think I’ve planned an ambitious month, considering I’m also committed to a lot of garden work, as well as several projects around the house that need to be finished up before we can get the professionals in to get us settled before winter. It feels weird to even be thinking of winter in August, but the one major thing I’ve learned since owning a house is that everything takes twice as long as you expect it to.

October Reading – Haunted House Stories

In this house, we don’t just celebrate Halloween, we pretty much celebrate Hallotober. Usually, that mainly takes the form of watching a lot – and I do mean a lot – of horror movies. This year, I feel like it’s been slightly slimmer pickings to stream, and since we’ve also been dealing with a bit of a cold snap, I’ve been indulging in a bit of warm-in-bed reading.

Somewhere, in the boxes we have yet to unpack after moving several years ago, I have an old, beaten-to-hell copy of Peter Straub’s Ghost Story – a book I would absolutely list near the top of an all time favorites list. It’s usually the first book I think of when I’m craving a good old-fashioned haunted tale. But this year, instead of falling into the trap of forever re-reading, I decided to avail myself of some of Kindle Unlimited’s haunted house selections.

I am absolutely giddy at how much the face of publishing has changed, and I love that it’s easier than ever for an aspiring author to get their work into the hands of readers. However – as with all good things – there’s a cost, and that cost comes here in a crazy influx of poor editing and not-so-great stories. Craven Manor by Darcy Coates was neither of those things, and I devoured it in a single sitting.

While Craven Manor doesn’t tip the traditional haunted mansion trope on its head, it definitely makes it wobble a little bit. What it lacks in creepy, it makes up for in a protagonist you can’t help rooting for. I’ll definitely be reading more of Darcy Coates’s books in the future.

While browsing through some other available ghost stories, I came across a 14 book series by a handful of different authors. I figured I’d go through and read them in order, although it doesn’t seem to be necessary as their only connection is that they’re all about haunted houses.

The Haunting of Bechdel Mansion was a solid enough story, but would have greatly benefited from at least one more pass by an editor before publication. Because of this, it doesn’t make the best impression as a first in a series, but that didn’t deter me from moving on to the second book!

I totally get why some folks struggle to move on from authors that they are already familiar with, but – despite the fact that I can sometimes go months without picking up a book – I really believe that Kindle Unlimited is a great value just because it allows readers to try things outside of their comfort zones risk-free. Maybe that seems like a bit of a hot take from someone who struggled against the concept of giving up paper books for an e-reader several years ago, but I really am delighted by the current accessibility of books in general – both for readers and authors.

Happy Hallotober, y’all, and may all your reads be spooky!