Rewarding Reading – Awards and a Foray into Historical Fiction

For American movies, we have the Oscar awards for the best films and the Emmy Awards for television. In Canada, there’s the Canadian Screen Awards that also covers Canadian television.  In the U.K, they have the BAFTA awards and in France, a movie can win the César.

Music wins Grammy awards in the USA and  Junos in Canada, the unimaginatively named Brit awards in the UK.

Books have awards as well. Each year, there are various award prizes that shave the nominees down to a long list and then a short list before awarding a winner. There are a lot of different prizes. A LOT. Even the “big” prizes are plentiful. There are local and regional prizes all over the place but the best known national and international competitions are:

Nobel Prize (International)
Pulitzer Prize (America, various media and literary categories)
Man Booker Prize (Fiction, published in the UK, also an International prize, translated from any language to English)

Other well known awards are:

Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction (Fiction, by women, published in the UK in English)
Scotiabank Giller Prize (Fiction, Canada)
The Walter Scott Prize (Historical fiction, UK, Ireland, Commonwealth)
The RBC Taylor prize (Canada, non-fiction)
National Book Awards (America, various categories)
The Edgar Allen Poe award (mystery)
The Governor General’s Literary Award (various categories, Canada only)
Irish Book Awards (Fiction, Ireland, various categories)
Hugo (Science Fiction/Fantasy, International) and Nebula (same, but for the USA)

Those are the ones I’m most familiar with. Wikipedia has quite a long list of competitions here, from all over the world. There are several dozen awards for debut novels which is something every new writer would love to win.  Most or all of these award cash prizes and they are all prestigious.

I follow the Bookers, the Gillers and glance in at the Governor General’s awards and the Irish Book awards. I will obviously back any Canadian writers in the Booker prize which is open to any book published in the UK in English. The next two (Giller and GG) are Canadian awards and I am a fan of some Irish writers. One thing I like about these various awards is their long list of nominees. If I want to try something by an author new to me, I can spend hours perusing the lists of current and past years’ awards looking at book descriptions. I have found some excellent books in this manner.

I planned to write here about the Historical Fiction book awards, from the Walter Scott prize, but it’s already gotten away from me! Historical fiction is probably my top favourite reading category. I love history and always have. I was lucky to have a very good history teacher in junior high school who made it really interesting.

For historical fiction, I’m not referring to the so-called “bodice ripper” books, the historical romances with a standard issue story, full of cliches and turgid euphemisms for the “act” and various body parts. I’m referring to stories that take place anywhere from 50 to hundreds of years ago. It may depict real historical figures or it may not and there may be romance involved but this isn’t always the case. I don’t mind a romance, if it’s written well, with good characters, plausible plot points and the occasional spicy scene. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is a perfect example of how to do it.

Unfortunately, it’s not straightforward finding the past long lists at their website.  You have to spend time going through the news archives for announcements rather than having the past winners and lists easily accessible. Thank heavens for Wikipedia!

Another favourite HF author of mine is Sharon Kay Penman who has written about various British and Welsh periods in the past. She has a trio of books on the last Welsh kings and princes during the 13th century, the conflict between King Edward 1 and Wales. She has a series on the Plantagenets and on the Wars of the Roses and has also written some medieval mysteries which are quite good. One of those was a finalist for an Edgar award, too.

The first of hers that I ever read was When Christ and His Saints Slept. This tells the story of the English civil war between King Stephen and Queen Matilda who was the mother of the man who would be Henry II, the first of the Plantagenet kings. What a great book! Her The Sunne in Splendour, her first novel, about the end of the Wars of the Roses, focusing on Richard III is also one of my favourites as are the ones she wrote on Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. She’s very good at including the point of view of various women in her medieval novels, recognizing that they were strong and had much to contribute even though history tends to push the accomplishments and contributions of women to the background.

I’m not sure I have a favourite era for historical fiction though I do tend to lean towards books set in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland for location. I’m not sure of the strict definition of what is included in historical fiction, but lately I’ve counted anything written from the 1970s backwards.  If a book is written now and is about a period of time 40+ years ago, that sounds perfectly reasonable to me. If I read a book that was actually written *in* the 1970s or 1920s or in the 19th century, I don’t count it as HF because it was current fiction when it was written. So if I read Dickens, or Jane Austen, I’d classify the novel as “classic fiction” instead or just fiction, depending on what I thought at the time.

As always, an award winning book doesn’t always appeal to me. Sometimes I feel it’s over-hyped but one book that cleaned up a lot of awards last year was Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeliene Thien. It’s historic fiction taking place in China during the cultural revolution, following three students and their families up to the Tianamen Square confrontations in 1989. It won the Giller and Governor-General and was shortlisted for the Booker., Bailey’s Women’s prize and a few others. That’s most definitely one book that deserved the awards it won. My Goodreads review is here though I don’t think my review does it justice.  I’ve spent so much of my reading on the UK past, that it was fascinating to read something from a much more exotic country. Pachinko was also very good and delved into the story of a Korean family that moved to Japan in the early 20th century. It was a bestseller though I don’t think it won any major awards.

Next month, the Scotiabank Giller prize will be awarded in a ceremony in Toronto. I’ve already read one of the shortlisted books, Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill (my review) and have just started I am a Truck by Michelle Winters. I’ve also got Minds of Winter by Ed O’Loughlin to read before the announcement. I have a feeling that none of these three will win. Transit seems to be more of a deep, full-of-themes type novel and that often swings the jury. For me, often, books like that have more theme exploration than actual story and are too slow and philosophical for my taste.

But that’s the beauty of reading. Everyone can find something that appeals to them.

As I like to say: Keep calm and read more books!

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Tis the season for free short stories


Heads up, readers.

Do you love short stories? I’m not an avid fan but I do like them now and then. Penguin Randomhouse has a great program where you can receive free short stories in your inbox in installments. Stories in the past have been written by a number of different authors, some very well known like Mona Awad, Yaa Gyasi, Jay McInerny and even Margaret Atwood. Each time they offer this, the stories are taken from books of stories by that author. It’s a sample and I suppose they hope you might buy the whole book.

The short story is divided into four parts and you will receive one part each day from Tuesday to Friday for three months. I did this last year. Some of them I liked though one or two weren’t to my taste. Everyone’s different, right? If you think you might like this, go to the website and sign up. You can read a little bit each day or save the four parts for the weekend and read the whole story at once. 

Book podcasts

I won’t say I’m not a fan of podcasts, I just don’t seem to get round to them. I used to subscribe to a history podcast from the BBC History magazine (which is called something else now, History Extra, I think) and while they were interesting, I never seemed to keep up with them and I would end up with dozens of un-listened-to shows.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth listening to. Podcasts are like radio but without the advertising breaks. I do listen to a fab ‘cast for my favourite television show, Coronation Street. It’s called Conversation Street and if you watch the show, you’ll enjoy it. (It’s a UK broadcast up to date with their episodes). That’s one podcast I never miss but it’s got nothing to do with books or reading.

I saw a link to a website today that has a very good book podcast hosted by an owner of an independent bookstore in Connecticut. Just the Right Book is hosted by Roxanne Coady.  It’s about a year old, there are 38 podcast episodes to date and they can all be listened to from the website or subscribed to on iTunes. You can also download them and play them on non-Apple devices.

From there, I jumped to Books on the Nightstand, which is no longer publishing new podcasts but does have nearly 400 back episodes you can stream or download. Episode #387 also has a list of other podcasts that a reader might find interesting.

BookRiot, a book blogging site, also has some podcasts, found here. Their main one has over 200 episodes. The others on the list of podcasts only have a handful of eps each. They can be subscribed on iTunes and also Google Play.

Now that I’ve started to look into this, I keep hearing the phrase “this way madness lies” and I can see I could get overwhelmed pretty quickly trying out all these podcasts. Just do a web search for “book podcasts” and look at the results!  The Guardian newspaper has a list of 10 “best” and BookRiot also comes up with a list of 25 “best”. This list, frankly, has some podcasts listed that intrigue me. Just the names alone are worth investigating, such as “Dear Bitches, Smart Authors” which is about the romance genre, “Drunk Booksellers“, “Lore” for horror fans (note to self, tell husband about this one), “Mugglecast” for Harry Potter fans,  and “So Many Damn Books” ( a pretty appropriate title!).  Both lists include a podcast from the Guardian, the New York Times Book Review and the New Yorker.

To bring this back to Canada, CBC has a radio show called The Next Chapter with host Shelagh Rogers and you can listen online to current and back episodes here. CBC also has Writers and Company with Eleanor Wachtel, with current and back episodes here. Canlit.ca has a Canadian perspective and “Write Reads” is a book club podcast out of Edmonton, Alberta though their streams don’t seem to be downloadable.

Many of those sites can be connected via iTunes and it looks like at least some of them allow downloading of the MP3 file of the ‘cast right off the website. That’s likely what I would do since I am not an Apple device person. But knowing me, I likely won’t keep up with any or many of them as interesting as some of them look. I’ve already downloaded a sampling and via this blog post, I can find them again via the links.

Someone that likes audiobooks will likely really enjoy podcasts and podcasts have their own dedicated fans as well. There are podcasts around the internet for any subject you can name, obviously, but since this is a blog for readers, that’s what you get from me today!

 

As If I Needed More Books To Read

Free books. We need them, we want them. How to get them? Well there are a number of websites that have free books, though they tend to be older out of copyright “classics”. Nothing wrong with that. I like to read a few classics each year. There are other websites where people self publish and offer their books for a review and some sites where publishers offer a small number of copies of books, both paper and eBook for review.

LibraryThing was the first one of those that I found. You can catalogue your books, join forums, and submit your user id for a chance to win a free copy of an early release. There are publisher releases and member releases and those are often self-published. You do have to filter the publisher releases by country because they don’t always send copies to non-American members. That often eliminates the best books but what can you do?  I’ve found a few gems at the early reviewers section, from the publishers and the self-publishers lists, and a few stinkers, too. I was cataloguing my books until I hit a wall of 200. Apparently, though I didn’t realize it when I joined, LT has a limit of 200 books for free members. As I wasn’t willing to spring for a paid membership, I’ve drifted away from LibraryThing though I do look at the Early Reviewers list now and then.

Now I’m on Goodreads which was bought by Amazon a few years ago, I think. I originally joined a group focused on Canadian authors via a CBC Books which has now been removed from GR but someone from that group then started up another independent group and many of the former members gravitated there. We post what we’re reading on Friday, we have monthly group reads, monthly challenges and a year long Bingo Challenge that regular readers here will have seen me mention (four more squares to go!) I’ve discovered some really talented Canadian authors and writers from other countries too. Our group members read a wide variety of things though we do like to encourage support for Canadian talent. Again, I’ve found some superb gems through investigating what other people recommend.

Goodreads also has giveaways from publishers and authors and I’ve won a handful or two of free books through that aspect of the site. They’ve always been hard copies, paper or hard cover versions that they mail to you in exchange, they hope, for an honest review. For a long time I didn’t win too many but this year, I’ve been quite lucky. Free books! What’s not to like!

Professional ReaderI’ve also seen people’s reviews that mention NetGalley ARCs. (Advanced Reader Copy) Today I decided to investigate NetGalley. They primarily aim for professional readers in the industry, or librarians etc but if you have a blog or if you publish your book reviews somewhere like Goodreads or Amazon, you can still join for free. You build a profile and make a list of the types of books you like and go browsing. I thought it was all request submissions but that seems to be mainly for pre-publication books. I found a couple that looked interesting that have been on NetGalley for a little bit and requested them and lo and behold, I now have another free book on an app on my phone with another waiting!

NetGalley is all digital, no hard copies. They will send to Kindle or you can download using Adobe Digital Editions. I did see that the copy of the one I have expires in 55 days. That’s more than enough time to read it but I will have to remember not to leave a book on my “shelf” too long before downloading. Another thing I discovered is that the app they recommend for Android is Aldiko. You can create a login or log in with Facebook or Google+ and it automatically authorizes that device for the DRM locked copy of the book. Digital Rights Management. That locks the eBook to you and your device so you can’t share it or send it to anyone else. Purchased books from Kindle or Kobo have that as well, most of the time. It’s a copyright thing. Occasionally, an author or publisher releases their book DRM-free.

Anyway, I was about to download the book to Aldiko but was also given the choice to download to Overdrive which I also have for borrowing eBooks from the library. Oh, well then, I’ll use that since I like it and am familiar with using it. It worked and opened the book cleanly. I tried to download the second book into Overdrive but it’s a PDF and Overdrive didn’t like that so I had it sent to Kindle which I can read on my phone through the Kindle app.

My first book is The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle. It’s historical fiction set in World War II. The other book is Gone Astray by Michelle Davies.

So there you are. You can request new releases from LibraryThing, Goodreads or Netgalley and the free books you can get are all based on the country where you live as well. It doesn’t mean, for instance, that the only books I will be able to request are those from Canadian publishers, just publishers that also release in Canada. Penguin, for instance, is global.

Of course the ultimate in free books is your local library but that’s a given. Also keep an eye out for a Little Free Library.

Happy Reading!

Book Lists

I make lists, especially when I travel. Endless lists. I like lists. I like book lists, too, because I’m always looking for that next great book to read even if I still have a stash of hundreds of ebooks that I haven’t read yet. Seriously. I have a mini library of ebooks I’ve accumulated from various sources over the years and yet, I still want more and often will buy a new book when I could have read one of the older ones for free. Such is temptation.

I blame book lists in part. I look through the book lists and read the summary of the story and add it to my wish list, my TBR (To Be Read) list. Goodreads is great for keeping track of books you want to read or have read. So is 50BookPledge. There are apps for that, and other websites, too. And you can keep a wishlist on Amazon or, in Canada, Indigo,  where you can then purchase the book. Kobo hasn’t caught up to that yet.  I keep a wish list on my local library e-site. I really should use that more often, it would save me a lot of money. More and more, newly published books are getting picked up by libraries which is a good thing.

Most of those sites above will have lists that you can check out for ideas and recommendations. Goodreads even generates a recommendation list based on books you’ve tagged as ones you’ve read or want to read. I’ve discovered some good books that way.

CBC Books, a division of Canada’s Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)’s website (Canada’s national radio and television stations) has some good lists too, obviously Canlit based. Here’s the 100 Novels That Make You Proud to be a Canadian. I’ve read just under 30 I think and there are some excellent books on that list. In a related list, they also have 100 YA books. The contents of both lists cover fiction and non fiction and even graphic novels and short stories. While we finish off with CBC, check out their general book lists for quite a few different lists, long and short including best sellers by the week and books mentioned on a couple of their literary radio programs The Next Chapter and Writers and Company, and you can listen to both of them online.

A couple of other lists I’ve seen lately:

50 Amazing New Books You Need To Read This summer  from a blog called Parchment Girl. There are some interesting books on that list, and a wide variety of sources with about 50/50 fiction and non fiction split.

50 Books Written by 50 Canadian Women of Colour on a website called Room Magazine. I applaud putting the focus on authors that don’t always get the mainstream attention. I have read a small number of books on this list but I’ve tagged quite a few more for the TBR list.

Then we get into things like the literary prize long list and short lists, Scotiabank Giller prize, Man Booker, Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction), the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Awards, American Book Awards, Hugo Awards (Science fiction), and so many more. Wikipedia has quite a good list of literary prizes by country and region which could keep you busy for days, browsing. All of those websites have the current year’s list as well as prior year lists.

That’ll do for now. I plan to keep a list of good sites like this for future posts! Or just, you know, make a note of them somewhere!

Buying Books

Bookmark, Halifax, NS

Traditionally, to buy a book, you’d go to a bookstore. Bookstores are great, aren’t they? Aisles, shelves, stacks, filled with books. The smell of the paper, leather, binding, it’s intoxicating. The bright covers. The smooth leather with gilded impressed titles. The words on white paper. So many stories. So many places books can take you. Bookstores that sell second hand books are even better. You never know what treasures you will find.

Books can be bought many places, of course. Even the corner gas station often has a rack of paperback books. The airport and train station both certainly always have several, so that travelers can wile away the hours waiting for and sitting on their journeys. Books are a staple of second hand stores and charity shops. Department stores, grocery stores, “big box” retailers like Costco all have book sections.

And the internet, that world wide web of possibilities, is where readers have an endless and nearly infinite choice. I think Amazon was the first big internet book retailer (I may be mistaken but that’s how I remember it) and boy, did it take off! There are now Amazon sites all over the world. It’s really quite mind-boggling. Amazon also now carries a wide variety of items and independent companies also sell things through Amazon. There are other book retailers, companies that have “real life” bookstores that then extended their business to the virtual world (Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Waterstone’s, just to name a few of the English retailers.)

Amazon was one of if not the first to sell eBooks with their reader, Kindle. Apple and Google both have their own e-book sites but I think Kindle is still King. While I don’t have a Kindle, I do use the Kindle app on my smartphone because sometimes you can get a really good sale on a book from Amazon. I use a Kobo ereader that is less restrictive and in some cases, will even allow me to read a Kindle-format book. Best of both worlds!

Recently, I discovered two online book retailers. These are for real books, not electronic books. The first is BookOutlet (that link is for .ca (Canada) but I believe they also have a .com site, too). BookOutlet sells discounted books and the deals there are amazingly attractive. They also carry “scratch and dent” sales, selling slightly damaged books for an even deeper discount. Their bog-standard shipping costs are reasonable, with the price for shipping rising depending on how urgently you want delivery. (but orders over $100 are automatically shipped by UPS and require a signature) I warn you, though, you can get sucked in and spend a lot of money, even with/because of the discounts. You can also build a wishlist if you want to reign yourself in and spread out the cost so you don’t bend that credit card too much in one go.

While the prices, if you’re in Canada, do show in Canadian dollars, they are an approximation based on the current exchange rate if the original book only has an American price. I think they are actually a Canadian company and there is an actual store in Southern Ontario. They also take Paypal in addition to the standard credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express).

The other is Book Depository. That one is based in the UK.  You can see the prices in your home country’s currency. You do get some discount but it’s not as radical as BookOutlet. However, they ship internationally for free! That can be quite a saving if you’ve bought a lot. I find that the selection is more extensive here as well and I’ve seen books and authors here that I don’t see on Canadian sites. For instance, on BookOutlet, I saw books 4 and 5 of a Fantasy series called Throne of Glass. On Book Depository, I can get the whole series from the start. I was looking for adult colouring books today and, as you can see from this picture here, I found one that reproduces Norman Rockwell posters! How cool is that?

Why? Because, according to their website, BookOutlet sells new books that were returned to the publishers as excess inventory or returns in addition to the slightly damaged books. They aren’t like a regular site or bookstore that has everything from a publisher.  Does it matter? Not in the least but you might not find what you’re looking for. If you do, you’ll save money. Book Depository might be where you want to go to find it. It doesn’t hurt to compare, though. Check against Amazon or other online booksellers for sales, especially the ones that have free shipping over a minimum purchase.  Comparison shopping online is just as important as on the street.

Book Depository accepts Visa, Mastercard, Visa debit,  Paypal, American Express, Delta and  Maestro for payment. For me, I’d check BookOutlet first and then Book Depository if what I wanted wasn’t available. I have to say I rarely buy a book in a bookstore anymore, though I do still love to browse in one. I get ideas on what’s newly released and I like the gift sections.  I mainly buy ebooks for reading but there are other gems I can only buy as “hard” copies, such as colouring books, children’s books, travel guides (because I love the colour pictures and they’re easier to flip back and forth and put sticky notes in or use highlighters to mark pages), and any kind of book with illustrations or maps.  If a book is on sale or if it’s a kind of book that does not lend itself well to an eReader, then I will buy a hard copy.

A quick shout out to some local bookstores here in the Halifax region:

The main “big box” retailer is Chapters. (owned by Indigo). My mother and I enjoy browsing and we, along with my niece, always go after Christmas to spend our gift cards. There are several good second hand book stores, with John Doull’s being very good. He’s moved his shop to Main Street in Dartmouth where he’s got a lot more room than he had on the old Barrington Street, Halifax location. I’m not sure if Back Pages is still open. I think perhaps it isn’t. There is also Bookmarks on Spring Garden Road, a lovely independent seller of new books. They carry some great titles and have some good sales.

An excellent children’s book store is Woozles, on Birmingham Street, off Spring Garden. It’s Canada’s oldest children’s bookstore, apparently. I notice they have a home delivery service one evening a week. That’s convenient.  Schooner Books on Inglis Street in Halifax is another long time independent retailer of rare books specializing in Canadian, Atlantic Canada, history and rarities. Read about them here.

The Military and History Bookshop, Sidney, BC

One more mention, this on the west coast of Canada in the town of Sidney on the Sea, Vancouver Island. There are a number of unique bookstores here, most in the general area of Beacon Street or just off it on a couple of side streets, including one I’ve been in, The Haunted Bookshop (second hand, antiquarian). There’s a website and you can see a bit about each shop. I’ve got Sidney on my list for an upcoming trip to Victoria this November. One of the bookshops specializes in Military and History books. I may not have mentioned that history is one of my interests!

Tell me about your favourite local bookstore or online book seller.

Audio Books, Yea or Nay?

I love to read. I read quite quickly, too, so I will find myself skimming pages at times which is a shame when it’s a lovely well-written book. I will often make myself go back and reread something to get more detail and enjoy the flow of the words but if I make myself read slowly in the first place, I only end up reading the same paragraph over and over.

Some people really enjoy listening to audio books which have been around quite some time. They’re really an extension of the days when plays and books were read on the radio but audio or “spoken word” or “talking” books have been around since the 1930s. Initially, it was mainly plays and poetry and often only available in schools or in libraries. Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and he saw it as a way to bring books to the blind. In fact, the first thing Edison did with his new phonograph was record himself reading “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. But the cylinders and early disks weren’t very practical because they couldn’t hold a lot of recorded time. By the 1930s, record disks could hold more and recorded speaking books started to be produced.

A company in the 1950s, Caedmon Records, decided to start selling recorded books on records to the general public. By now, LP (Long Play) records were on the market making it more feasible even though the first works were still shorter works of fiction, short stories, plays and poetry. Still, it was a start. Over the decades, technology improved and little by little recorded books turned to cassette tapes and then CDs when it really took off in the 1980s like a shot. Big companies like Time Warner and Literary Guild were offering audiobooks as choices in Book of the Month Club. There was no going back, now.

Now, of course, there are downloadable digital audio books and website streaming and they are becoming even more popular. People listen to books as they drive, work at home or relax on the beach or wherever they can find a comfortable spot. Just like eBooks, you can get most of the classics for free or buy audiobooks from various on or offline sellers. You can borrow audio books from the library via an app on your phone or computer or stream them from the library website.

Me? I’ve never really got into audio books but I’m going to try a couple over the next few months. I know from past experience trying to listen to the occasional radio play that my attention wanders, I get distracted, and I miss chunks of the storyline. That’s mainly why I haven’t taken the plunge. I’d probably have the best luck with it if I sat with my adult colouring book and listened. There would be less distraction. For me, when driving, the radio is background noise and I think an audio book would be as well. I wouldn’t get anything out of it even if I was only the passenger.

I did actually try a few chapters a month or so ago with Quantum Nights by Robert J Sawyer, but the male reader of the story would change his voice to sound feminine for the female characters and the way he did it grated on my nerves. I then tried streaming an abridged (condensed) version of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and when that narrator did something similar, it was ok. Many people that love audio books do say that the quality of the reader is very important to your enjoyment of the book.  A few days ago, I went to a couple of sites that have free audio books to download. These are mainly classic books that are in the public domain. I like to try to read a classic or two every year anyway so why not try one in this format?

Terminology to know: Abridged vs Unabridged. Unabridged is the whole book recorded where Abridged is a condensed version without all the detail. The Underground Railroad that I listened to off the BBC Radio website was most definitely abridged and I would have preferred the full meal deal, I think.

If you are interested in trying an audiobook, check out your local library’s digital catalog. You can borrow one for free. If you want to download one, this website has a few options for the best sites to try.  You might also have a look at Open Culture, Librivox and Playster. You can also get free audio books through Amazon and iTunes (iBooks) and Google books.

You can also pay for audio book services like Audible, which seems to be one of the most popular. You pay a monthly fee and get one book for free each month and then can buy loads more at good discounts and listen offline. Audiobooks is a similar service.  Spotify does online streaming of music and books. You can join there for free but there are restrictions and you may have ads in the stream. I think all three do have free books as well, classics and perhaps some self published works.

For me, since I can’t see audiobooks being a major part of my reading world, I will experiment with free books, either by download or through the library using the Overdrive app on my phone and go from there. It’s all about trying new things. At least then I can’t say I’ve never tried it.