2020 Reading Challenge: Listen to a Book

In 2020, OPL invites patrons to take part in the reading challenge! For each challenge, OPL offers suggestions for titles to read or listen to. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, opens a new window, Instagram, opens a new window or Facebook, opens a new window to let us know which read you picked up this month!

With this challenge, OPL promotes listening to a book! After all, you don’t read a book with your eyes, ears, or fingers - you read with your brain! Audiobooks help you experience a story differently as a great narrator becomes the character’s voice. They can also be extremely convenient as you can listen while you are doing other things - like walking, cleaning or driving. 

One of the best things about audiobooks is the multitude of formats in which they are currently available. Compact sound discs (classic CDs), Playaway devices, or digital audiobooks downloaded through the Libby app, opens a new window are all handy ways to cruise or walk along and immerse yourself in a quality story or learn something new. A Playaway is a small device that has the whole book stored on it and all you need are headphones (or an auxillary cord to play in your car). The Libby app for downloading digital audiobooks has an interface that is smooth and user-friendly. Stop in your local branch for a quick tutorial!

Before you @ me for putting a children’s book on this list, remember the popularity of classics like “A Wrinkle in Time, opens a new window” by Madeline L’Engle and “The Hate U Give, opens a new window” by Angie Thomas that were geared towards young folks, but had broad appeal for all ages. “New Kid, opens a new window” by Jerry Craft is similar in that anyone can connect to and learn from Jordan’s story. Through this graphic novel in print form, we become part of Jordan’s world as he starts at a new school, forms friendships, and stands up for himself and others. In the audiobook format, the story is transformed and heightened with the addition of a full cast of voice actors, background music, and sound effects. You become fully immersed with sound instead of the visual format. It’s a new, unique experience. 

A third reason for loving audiobooks is the narrator. My goodness, it is amazing to listen to a quality story read to you by a golden voice. Over the years, I have discovered my favorite audiobook narrators - Nick Podehl, Bahni Turpin, and Rebecca Soler, all of whom are Audie Award or Odyssey Award, opens a new window winners or nominees. A good narrator helps keep the listener connected to the story and encourages you to put yourself in the world as they create voices for different characters. Listening to memoirs read by the author, specifically comedians and actors, allows you to hear how they intended their story to be told - another unique experience you don’t get from reading print.

I hope you feel encouraged to put on your headphones or pop that CD in your car or home stereo and immerse yourself in a story by listening to a book!

See this list, opens a new window for more ideas or request a custom “listening” list, opens a new window!

Starting April 1, 2020, once you complete the 2020 Reading Challenge, enter your reading log online or turn in your completed tracking sheet at your nearest OPL branch and pick up your pinback button prize for completion. All submissions will be entered into a drawing for some fun literary-themed merchandise! All completed tracking sheets or online challenge form entries must be received by December 31, 2020, to be entered into the prize drawing.