For the past two weeks I’ve been working on a big painting commission for Spark restaurant in Provo. I may have mentioned it before, but I hate listening to music while I paint…I need something to occupy my brain and keep me interested so I listen to books on CD.

I’ve pretty much worked day and night for the last two weeks, so I’m flying through books like never before (maybe not quite up to Janssen’s standards, but close…).

Just thought I’d share which ones I’ve gone through and a little teeny tiny review.

Matched by Ally Condie — a fun light chick book that was easy to speed through. I’m excited for Crossed to come out in just a few weeks!

The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt — this is maybe Janssen’s favorite book of all time (her words, not mine), so I came in with big expectations. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed at first (don’t hate me, J!)…it reminded me of Ender’s Game with lots of little boy drama and name calling. But once I hit the halfway mark, it suddenly grew up and I loved the rest of it. I even got a little emotional at the end.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan — I didn’t make it all the way through this book, but what I listened to was really interesting. I just prefer books with a plot when painting and this one is more questions and facts. Maybe one day I’ll go back and finish it.

The Giver by Lois Lowry — I’m not sure how I made it through my childhood without ever reading this book, since almost everyone I mentioned it to said they had read it in 5th or 6th grade. I really enjoyed it and I’m glad to have finally read it.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater — Another fun chick book. It kept reminding me of Twilight with the werewolves, but I thought it was slightly less cheesy than Twilight.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater — This is the sequel to Shiver, and I think I liked it better despite the ending that totally leaves you hanging and waiting for #3.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow — I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not when Janssen recommended it and told me it was a “techy” type of book, but I actually really enjoyed it. Yes, there were some parts where it went on for a few minutes about a bunch of computer/hacking lingo that I didn’t understand or care about, but besides that most of the techy stuff was very understandable and interesting, and helped me enjoy the book even more. (If you read this, be warned it does have a decent amount of swearing, which I thought was pretty unnecessary.)

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes — I read this book many years ago but wanted to re-read it since I’d pretty much forgotten the whole thing. Such a great Revolutionary War novel that I can’t wait to read with Peanut someday.

Across The Universe by Beth Revis — Not my favorite book. I felt like it took a really long time to get going. It’s hard to gauge how much you’ve read when you’re listening to it, but I would guess that it was more than half way through when it stopped feeling like the intro. But once we got past that, I did enjoy it more.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — I’m only a chapter or two into this, but enjoying it already.

I’m hoping to get through several more books before these paintings are done. Any great suggestions??



  1. wow, good for you! i've actually been listening to michael pollan's In Defense of Food [they didn't have the actual book available at the library, or else i would have gotten that instead haha] and love love love it. can't wait to see how those paintings turn out! 🙂

  2. The Packards says:

    haha wow! that is qute the list! good luck with the painting 🙂

  3. Emily Kate says:

    So I don't normally love books on tape. I just can't focus on them unless I'm doing something like driving so I don't listen to them much. But last time I was in Utah my sister lent me Georgette Heyer's Venetia on cd and it was SO GOOD! It was only 3 or 4 cds and it's narrated from Richard Armitage (from North and South) which was really fun. It would probably be considered a "regency romance" but really, I thought it was so fun.

  4. Janssen says:

    I just finished Across the Universe yesterday and I thought it was lousy. Bleck.

    The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-Banks.
    Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie
    Okay for Now

  5. RA says:

    Congratulations on the big commission! Seriously, those canvases are huge.

    Audio books have been hit or miss for me lately. I really liked "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie," though.

  6. Brit says:

    You are speeding right through these! I am currently listening to East of Eden and REALLY enjoying it… though it is a 25 hour listen. I've had it for a month now and am only about 3/4 of the way through. It is very thought provoking though – I would definitely recommend it.

  7. Ok, I just looked at what you are painting back there and can I say… AMAZING! I'm so excited to see the finished product!

  8. Steph says:

    I don't know if you can find this on tape, but A Town Like Alice is a book I've read and loved recently. It's slow, but in the "savor-it" kind of way.

    Wuthering Heights might be my all-time favorite…

  9. Olivia says:

    What are you going to do when you get to the bottom of those paintings to keep your little guy from touching them??? I'm impressed that he will let you paint. My painting went by the wayside when I had kids. I had to take too many breaks or they would touch it and mess it up. Hopefully I can pick it up again soon. They look beautiful so far. Great job.

  10. Jill says:

    I just finished The Help. It's really good! And anything by Jodi Piccoult.

  11. Shannon says:

    I think the narrator is so important when it comes to the success of an audiobook. 1) Jim Dale is pretty much fantastic at anything he does. 2)I really liked listening to the Gregor the Overlander series read by Paul Boehmer. The voices take a little getting used to but in the end I flew through the series. 3) The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce read by Trini Alvarado was lovely. I never could get into the books but somehow it captured me on audiobook. 4) Smart phones and computers are also great for accessing free audiobooks on Karen Savage is a SUPER narrator of stories like Pride and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables. I can't stress her greatness! Happy listening!

  12. I've been totally converted to books on CD recently. Seriously why didn't I do this before?! I had read the help before but really enjoyed listening to it on CD – the voices are excellent and I loved it even more the second time.

  13. smalldog says:

    You're the artist behind those?! Too fabulous! Can't wait to see the finished product!

  14. kaila sue says:

    You MUST post some pictures when you are done with those paintings! Thanks for all the book recommendations!

  15. HOLD THE PHONE! I wanna hear and SEE more about this amazing spark commission!!! That's sooo awesome!!!

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