Read in October 2015

The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel by Tea Obreht ~ 3/5 ~ This was an audiobook read, which I think made the prose even more beautiful. I had had this book on my “to read” list for a while and actually totally forgot what it was about when I started it. I was happily surprised to find that it involved medicine, family relationships, and mythology (all some of my favorite things to read about in books). I ALSO was excited to see that it was based in Eastern Europe as I love Balkan history (although there wasn’t much of that at all). I really enjoyed the stories about the deathless man and the tiger’s wife probably more than the actual plot. Overall, I thought it was good but I wasn’t “wowed”, hence the 3/5 rating.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling ~ 4/5 ~ Guys, I want to be Mindy Kaling’s friend so much. She has such a #realtalk sense of humor. I gorged on this via audiobook, and I had similarly done the same with her first book. I really enjoyed hearing about her relationship with BJ Novak (particularly in reference to her mom’s death), how she “came to be” with her own show, and of course her other tidbits/life advice. I hope she’s writing another book because I would love to hear about her experience with Inside Out! Anyway, one of my favorite quotes from this book- “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.” Love.

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay ~ 3/5 ~ I enjoy retellings of fairy tales, which this was, and I thought overall it was well-executed. I liked that Aurora was a badass fighter who was actually “male” for most of the book. I thought that the romance was contrived/forced. I was kind of confused with the turn of events later on in the book, but whatever. Again, it was okay. Probably would have been more on a 2.5 star level but it was pretty fast paced and for that reason, I have to give it a slight bump to 3.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell ~ 5/5 ~ UGH, this book! I went into it knowing nothing except that it was super popular, and I can totally see why. This book threw me straight back to middle school and high school, and not in a bad way either. Yes, there were the awkward moments and you see some of the bullying here (as well as some other Big Issues like domestic violence), but this book was so much more too. Reading this reminded me exactly of what a first love feels like, and it hurt and made me so happy at the same time. The prose is just ridiculous — “Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” and “You look like a protagonist.” and “He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts.” and “But you saved my life, and now I’m yours. The me that’s me right now is yours. Always.

White Cat by Holly Black ~ 4/5 ~ Magical mafia, kitties, boarding school… need I say more?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater ~ 4/5 ~ I’m curious to see where this goes. Blue is such a spunky main character, and her family is hilarious. I really like Gansey… and Adam… and Ronan. I really enjoy the magic in this series.

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Things I Love Thursdays TILT 01

New series?! Let’s see if I can even semi-attempt to maintain this! But hey, more gratitude is always a positive thing. I’m going to try to always pick five things that I am happy/thankful for and loving!

TILT

  1. Coach.me — Discovered this from my favorite Tim Ferriss. Basically, this is a way to track habits that you want to start. I have quite a few goals, some more ambitious than others, and you can set it to send you reminders via email or on your phone app whenever you want. Then you can “check in” when you succeed for that day. For the uber disciplined, I get that you don’t need something like this, but for me, I love the feeling of getting to check off something, and this app totally appeals to that side of me. Some examples of goals I have (ideas to get you started) include: not biting nails (ugh my worst habit), meditating, cooking dinner, cleaning for ~15min, calling my parents.
  2. Anatomy — I’m taking my anatomy elective right now, and guys, I love it. There’s just something so therapeutic about spending time with a cadaver and discovering the mysteries of the human body. I’m currently taking the head and neck course (hmm, can you figure out what I’m specializing in?). My dissection partner is also hilarious.
  3. Cleaning maintenance — A hint of this above in #1, but basically, I’ve been obsessed with trying to clean my apartment (and also looking forward to eventually living on my own because I am about at my wit’s end with messy roommates). I am trying to spend at least some time every day to tidy up SOME area. Usually I clean by DIVING in, but that always takes so long, so I’m working on doing a little bit at a time. So far, I’m loving my results because my room has probably managed to stay the cleanest it’s been for the longest period (same for my kitchen).
  4. Full Metal Alchemist — I finished “House of Cards” last week, so I’ve had a relative “void” in my TV show life as my fall shows are slowly starting back up. Several of my friends have recommended FMA to me for a number of reasons (the mythology, its messages about humanity, and my old roommate LN thinks I look like Lust). Thankfully, this is on Netflix so it’s pretty easy to marathon. I am a closet anime lover, and while I’ve seen less than 10 episodes, this is totally something I am enjoying.
  5. Sunny days — As someone on the east coast, we were “hit” by Hurricane Joaquin last week-ish, and just as I was resigning myself to the cold, the sun came out again! The past few days have been in the 70s, and I am so happy. In the end I am totally a west coast girl, I think! I’m trying to enjoy these last few warm days as much as I can.

That’s it for this week, folks! Over and onward. Quick fourth year update- my specialty has not started sending out interview invites yet, which is frustrating because literally everyone else I know has scheduled at least one interview. It helps that I’ve received a few emails from programs at least TELLING us that we should not expect to hear from them until November.

Goals for M4

This is my last year of med school. Probably the last year of official schooling I will ever do. And from here on out, as I was telling my mom, I will likely have at most one month of vacation every year and work long hours. Thankfully, I will also go into the most rewarding profession.

Still, I can’t help but feel like I will be “missing out” a bit. To that end, here are some of my goals for my last year!

m4goals

Read. A lot. — This one was pretty obvious… my biggest hobby is without a doubt reading! I set a goal of 10 books for 2015, and I’ve already more than doubled that. So who knows how many books I can attempt to conquer in the upcoming months. All I can say is I hope to finish at least one, maybe even two, per month until I graduate, which would put me at ~15 books. It seems daunting right now, but I have confidence in myself.

Travel. — My other big hobby, which is unfortunately more expensive (both in money and time). Still, there’s nothing I love more than immersing myself in some place new. Some goals- my friend ES who went with me to Europe before we started med school and I are already planning a two week trip to Japan prior to graduation. I also peripherally discussed exploring Maine with one of my friends here AG. And my family is working on a trip to Nicaragua this winter. That takes up all of my actual vacation days, but maybe I can squeeze in some smaller trips. I already plan on visiting some friends in NYC and Durham in the upcoming month. Here’s to delicious food, amazing views, learning about people and cultures, and some work for my poor camera that has been sitting in the dust.

Purge. — At the end of this school year, I’ll have to probably make another move. It was easy to move across coasts because I knew I could not bring much. This time, I’ve actually bought more things and thus accrued more. Well, I’m not sure where I’ll end up in a year, but I want to start downsizing a bit.

Become a tourist in my town. — Well, I think I’ve done most of the things that my current city offers, but just in case, I’m going to make a bucket list again like I did when I left my college town, and make sure I hit everything before I go!

Establish and maintain good relationships. — A little more nebulous of a goal but just as important as the others. Who knows where we will all end up in a few months, but I know that the friends I’ve made in medical school are friends I want to keep for life, more than just professional colleagues.

Develop good habits. — Follow this: listening to Tim Ferriss’s podcast –> coach.me –> wanting to make myself better one habit at a time. Well, if he can start flossing daily and get off of alcohol with this app, maybe I can pick up some good habits too. Right now, I have largely unambitious goals like meditating, not biting my nails, calling my parents. If this works out, I might add some larger goals.

Wrap-up everything at my medical school. — Even though my residency application is in and up in the air now, I have a few other commitments I need to honor before I leave. These include things like crafting the yearbook for my graduating class and getting a very cool research project started. I can’t get TOO checked out before I finish these other promises!

Here’s to making the last year of medical school the best! :)

Away Rotations Part 2

Continuation of Part 1… now you’ve finally arrived at your designated away institution! Hopefully by now you have heard from your institution about what to expect for the first day, but if not, I would email the chief resident of service or the secretary about one week prior to your start day to at least figure out where and when to meet the team on day 1. You can get all of the other logistics after that. For my first away, I also spent my first day there (I arrived a day early) to get the lay of the land around where I was staying and where the hospital was. Make sure to set your alarm and get everything ready for your first day.

General Tips

  1. First one in, last one out — this one is probably the most commonly given advice for away students. This is highly variable on what you are doing but you should aim to be the first one on your team who shows up and the last one to leave. Sometimes, that might not happen (some residents will really insist that you leave), but try your best. The point of this is that you should never be late, you should never leave early, and you should never miss anything (AKA try to be present, always). At the start of the day, I would always get there first to print the list for the team and start collecting overnight events/vitals/labs for everyone. If you are fast at prerounding, you won’t really even be showing up THAT much earlier… for me, usually 15min before the intern showed up was what I set myself to. At the end of the day, make sure that everything has been tied up and ready to go — all notes are done, all consults have been seen, nothing pending. This brings me to the next point…
  2. Know everyone on your list, even if you’re not assigned to — I’ve found that starting off, most teams won’t let you do too much because they need to gauge where you are, which is why if you show that you can handle the entire service, you’re already off at a great start. I spent any free moment I had during the day reading about my patients, learning their latest labs/imaging/etc., so that I was the most up-to-date on everyone. You’ll never know when you can throw out a nugget that no one was expecting, and then you’ll just look extra prepared. And before I left everyday, I would do another run through the list just to make sure I knew the latest on everyone and generally what I could expect overnight.
  3. Take call — I’m not sure if every service will assign call, but if you have the chance to, you should offer to take call. With my specialty, call tended to be home call, which meant I usually gave the residents my phone number and they would call me if anything was worth coming in for. Even if you are never actually called, at least you showed effort by volunteering. This includes showing up on the weekend.
  4. Ask “how can I help”, not “is there anything to do?” — Residents always want to say “no” to the last one, so don’t let them! Also, the more you find out how you can help, the better you will get at figuring out yourself what needs to be done, which brings me to the next point…
  5. Anticipate needs and be prepared — This, I think, was what really makes you stand out. You should always be thinking several steps ahead of what’s happening. If you don’t know how to do that, ask first to learn. Have everything you need on hand for rounds. Since I was on a surgical rotation, my pockets were literally full of staple removers, suture removers, gauze, tape of all kinds, baci, steristrips, etc. In the OR, you should at least know the procedure well enough that you can figure out what comes next. Do you need skin hooks or a certain kind of retractor? Do you need scissors? If you can figure out these things before it’s asked of you, it just makes you look extra good.
  6. Make your residents look good AKA be a good team player — It’s not always about making yourself look good, it’s about being in a team. When your resident is operating in front of the attending, do whatever you can to make it stupidly easy for them. Grab things for your resident so they don’t need to waste time getting it. If you know an answer and the resident doesn’t, absolutely DO NOT show off in front of an attending unless asked. Say good things about your residents (if they are honest) if an attending asks.
  7. There is no “free time” — If you find that you have free time on your rotation, you’re doing it wrong. I’m not saying you need to be a machine, except that’s what I’m saying. Even if there’s no work to be done, you should be reading about something – your patients, conditions, surgeries, recent literature, etc. You never know when you’ll be asked about something.
  8. Be professional/polite but also be yourself and try to feel the program — Because away rotations are sometimes considered month-long interviews, you need to be polite to everyone you meet (you never know when something might get back to someone). But at the same time, you should also be yourself and see where you belong in that program. For example, on my second away I was really cautious at first, but I found that by letting myself go a bit, I could still be polite and at the same time made friends with a bunch of the scrub nurses and anesthesiologists so that by the end, they were telling my attendings how much they loved working with me, and honestly, I missed them! It made me feel like I really belonged in that program, and that’s the kind of feeling you want to leave with.

Mid-rotation — At about halfway through your rotation, you should try to get at least an informal evaluation by a resident and an attending (multiples if possible). Ask them to be honest, and most importantly, ask them how you can improve. It never feels good to be told that one is “bad” in any way, but you want to be the best you can be so let them give you pointers NOW while you still have time to show them you can change. For example, on my first rotation I was told that I seemed a little unprepared for surgeries. While that upset me a little bit because I thought I wasn’t, clearly I wasn’t studying enough, so I took the next few weeks to really read up as much as I could for surgeries. By the end of the rotation, that same resident told me I ended with the same knowledge as at least a PGY2 level.

End of rotation

  1. If you have to give a presentation — make sure you pick a topic that at least some of the senior residents, who likely have seen other medical students rotate through, approve of. Usually, I try to pick a topic related to a patient that I’ve seen at some point so that you can have some clinical context. I did not repeat a single talk I gave, which meant I had to research for three; in the end, I’m not too upset about that because it meant that I learned A TON about three areas in my field, score! Pick sources that are in the literature, ideally from big-name journals if you can. Make sure you thoroughly read the articles and understand the experiments. Don’t make your powerpoint all words. Have summary slides. Run your presentation by a resident if possible before presenting to attendings.
  2. Ask for more feedback — When you’re done, you want to gauge how you did. Try to schedule meetings with attendings a week before your last week so you’re not just chasing them down to ask for feedback. This is the time to…
  3. Consider asking for a LOR — If you think you made a good impression, and it should not be hard to figure that out because hopefully you’ve been getting feedback along the way, you can consider asking for a letter. There’s a bunch of stuff out there about who to ask; in the end, I think you should ask whoever knew you the best and would write you the best letter, be that a chairman or not. Make sure that if you do ask for a letter, you have everything ready (personal statement draft at the very least and a CV).
  4. If you have an interview while you are there — Treat this like any other interview. Dress nice and look good. Make sure you’ve prepped before about the basic questions (“tell me about yourself”, “why this specialty”, “why this program”). Practice your answers. Be confident but be yourself. Be polite and professional to everyone you meet.

Whew, that was long and hopefully comprehensive. If you have any questions, leave them down below!

Summer 2015 Wrap-Up

What a summer! After Camp Holiday Trails, I went on my two away rotations, both a sizable distance away from my home and from my home institution. While I hoped to have time to explore the cities, that did not end up panning out. Nevertheless, I had a fantastic time at both rotations!

Highlights

  1. Living in a studio apartment for the first time and loving it! I can’t wait to get my own place next year.
  2. Walking a ton… to, from, and in the hospital, I somehow averaged about 3 miles a day. What?! That’s more than I can even begin to comprehend.
  3. Being treated like a “sub-intern” for real — I was so happy that on both of my away rotations, I truly felt like a member of the team, and I had a ton of responsibility. I’m one of those people who prefers to have a lot expected of her because it pushes me to be my best self. I learned more subject-matter during my first away month than I had in probably a year of medical school, and I learned more about being a clinician on my second away. I’m starting to come down from that high now that I am more than one week out, but man, those were the glorious times. And it honestly makes me look forward to residency! (Glutton for punishment?)
  4. Making new friends. I always love meeting new people in general but I was surprised how much I got along with the residents at both of my away institutions. With the first group, I felt like they were really looking out for me, and with the second group, it was like a big family of friends. I hope that regardless of where I end up, I can maintain those relationships.
  5. Surviving a long drive — I detest driving long distances (and I define long as anything more than 30 minutes… hah). It’s just so boring and feels like a huge waste of my time, and my leg always falls asleep. Thank goodness for discovering cruise control this year (I know, I’m behind). Also thank goodness for AUDIOBOOKS! I actually survived an 8+ hr drive (one direction)!

Purchases


Barrington Gifts bag — OMG, I love this beautiful bag. The print is classic, and I feel like I can use this both as a work bag and as my interview bag (although the colorful part of me really wanted a brighter one… oh well, another time). I decided not to get the ever popular St. Anne tote since it seemed too big and I wanted to have one with a zipper closure on top; I’m so happy with the Savannah! After using my navy large Longchamp Le Pliage for years, I love how there are COMPARTMENTS in this bag. I haven’t moved into it yet since I’m scared of messing it up, but it’s so pretty to look at. :) I definitely want to buy more in the future! I had been eyeing these bags for a while since they popped up all over the blogsphere and instagram, and I finally bit the bullet when there was a sale. And speaking of sales…


The mother of all sales — Lilly Pulitzer’s after party sale was when I bought my first ever LP. This year, I was actually awake when it opened because naturally, I was in the OR. I was overwhelmed trying to shop online on my phone so I gave up. But then later that week, I went to the mall for some reason, and I decided to walk by the Lilly store. They happened to still have things on sale, so I eagerly tried on just about everything. I came away with two beautiful dresses that I can’t WAIT to wear.


wet n wild eyeshadow palette in “Walking on Eggshells” — I stupidly did not pack much makeup for my rotations thinking I wouldn’t have much time to deal with that. I was mostly right since I barely had time to do my brows and mascara on some days, but I completely forgot that I was doing an official interview on one of my aways. I quickly bought this very cheap eyeshadow palette on a whim (and TiffanyD‘s and Ingrid‘s recommendation). I was pleasantly surprised by the pigmentation and how natural and easy this palette is! The browbone shade is my favorite I’ve used thus far, and overall it’s perfect for a neutral classic look (that I’ve been wearing every day since I bought this palette!). Who would’ve expected from wet n wild?

Books Read (I think I did pretty well considering I was working my butt off!)

  1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman — my first NG, and what a powerful piece. It was slow throughout most of the book, which is why I gave it a 4/5, but wow, the ending just threw me for a whirl. I think it is one of the most profound things I’ve read, and I’ll have to go back to it someday.
  2. World After by Susan Ee — book #2 in the Penryn series. Love Raffe, love Penryn, not much to say about this YA book except that I just devoured this entire series.
  3. End of Days by Susan Ee — and book #3.
  4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik — first heard about this book from All the Books!, and it stuck in my mind so much that I had to read it finally. What a great read. It takes this turn you don’t expect, the mythology is just beautiful, and like American Gods, I’m still not quite sure I got it all in the end so this will also require a reread.
  5. House Rules by Jodi Picoult — my first JP in a long while (years) after I got tired of her style for a bit. This one thankfully deviates from her norm in that the ending wasn’t totally predictable. I liked the autism angle, but I thought it was a little too preachy at times. This one I actually read on audiobook, and I really enjoyed all of the readers of the characters. I thought that the reader for Jacob got autism perfectly (based on the autistic people I know).
  6. Emma by Jane Austen — another audiobook from Librivox. I liked seeing the connections to Clueless as I read along. :)
  7. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari — this was a fast and interesting read looking into what romance and dating is like in this modern world with texting, social media, etc. I learned a bunch of stuff in here that I did not expect, and dare I say that I used some of the advice already? … #millennial
  8. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd — OMG. I can’t express enough how awesome this book was. This was the audiobook I listened to on my drive back from my last rotation. The language and story was so beautiful. I think in general my favorite *amazing* books are historical fiction that captures real and sweeping characters and relationships through time (Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese is the other one that comes to mind), and this just blew away all of my expectations. The fact that this was based on REAL LIFE was even more delicious to discover at the end. Sarah and Handful are amazingly authentic protagonists.

Now… back to my ERAS application. :(

Away Rotations Part 1

These days, it seems like a bunch of medical students are doing away rotations. They offer a bunch of benefits (and harms) — exploring a new city, a new hospital, moving closer to a loved one for at least a little while, and sometimes, they can help you match at a residency program. Now I say sometimes, because if you’re planning on going there, you need to be on your A+ game. Having just finished two away rotations fairly successfully (I think), I’m writing this post to offer some advice to those who are interested in doing away rotations.

I’ll be breaking this post up into two parts — first, what to do before you get to your away institution, and then part two will be what to do once you are there.

Should I do an away rotation? This is something for you (and your adviser) to discuss. For most of the uber competitive specialties, it’s almost “required” for you to do an away rotation. For the less competitive fields, many argue that away rotations end up hurting more than helping. If you are dead set on going to a certain program for whatever reasons (e.g. your fiancee has a job in that city), you probably should do an away rotation. Otherwise, I think most people do not need to do an away rotation.

How do I apply? VSAS, affiliated with AAMC, is the site that most institutions use for away rotations. I say most because there are some institutions that have their own application for away rotators (off the top of my head, I know that University of Alabama and Thomas Jefferson University do). You log in with your same ID and password for you AMCAS if you happen to remember that. You can find a variety of different rotations from your typical 4 week sub-internship to more “fun” rotations like medical disaster management. Most institutions open up their applications in May; however, you can look at what they require earlier than that. Almost every school requires its own immunization form (some require titers, others just documentation that you have had a vaccine), and some require combinations of background checks, urine drug screens, LORs, etc. Make sure you have everything prepared as soon as possible since away rotation applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

I’m not sure what the “right” answer is for how many to apply to. I was planning on doing two, and maybe three, so I applied to five institutions. I got accepted at all of them (to my knowledge, it’s not usually “hard” to get accepted at away rotations) and then picked the ones that worked best with my schedule (some institutions overlap their rotations with others, so you need to plan accordingly). Make sure that if you accept an offer or reject an offer that you do so in a timely fashion to be professional (at least 2-3 weeks in advance of start date). It appears that most places get back to you within one month of applying.

I’ve been accepted; now what? My biggest stress prior to going away was finding housing. Oy, what a nightmare. Here are some of my tips:

  1. Rotating room — this website was designed for away rotators. You can trust that most of these places are fairly reliable since you cannot list unless you have a university-affiliated email address. You can search by institution and then by hospital. I used this service to both find a place for me to sublet and to list my own apartment. I had no issues with either of them. I did not think many people would want to stay in my apartment, but I actually got four inquiries, so I can only guess that lots of students use this site!
  2. Craigslist — everyone knows craigslist, right? Unfortunately, one of the places I went to rotate at did not offer much on rotating room, so I was forced to resort to craigslist. You have to be smart on this website is all I have to say. To weed out sketchy people, I look for good grammar/spelling in the post, lots of pictures of the actual room you will be renting, and at least some information about the people who live there (roommates or whoever you’re subletting from).
  3. Use your connections — I ended up not being successful with this but one of my classmates was able to find both of his places through his church network. If you know friends (or friends of friends), ask around and see if anything is available. Residents are also good resources since they come from all over. If your school has an alumni network that you can get in touch with, that is another place you can look for someone to stay with.

Once I found my housing, I tried to figure out logistics. The way I ended up doing payment was I paid half of my rent (through paypal) upfront to “save” my room, and then I paid the remainder once I arrived at the location. I also asked for additional information like laundry, parking, where to buy groceries, etc. We also discussed rules of subletting, how to pick up keys, etc. The last thing you want to worry about on an away rotation is housing, believe me, so try to get this all sorted out before you go up there.

Transportation — at one of my rotations, I was going to be located within walking distance to the hospital, so I opted to fly there. At the other rotation, I would spend time at several institutions, all separated by at least 10 minutes, so I knew I would have to bring a car down. I don’t have much advice on this except plan, plan, plan.

Packing — I have such a love-hate relationship with packing. On the one hand, the planner geek in me goes crazy. On the other… well, the planner geek in me goes crazy. I always start out with looking up the weather for where I’m going to go, and then I try to think of what I expect my rotation to be like. Since I am applying for a surgical specialty, I had a feeling I would spend a majority of my time in scrubs, so I packed less “nice” clothes and packed my trusty Dansko shoes and two clean scrubs (I wasn’t sure if I would be able to wear their hospital scrubs or what so I wanted to be prepared). I packed a couple of what I call “normal people clothes” to wear if I ever had time off, and more on that later but I do not recommend wasting luggage space with this if you can. Do not forget your white coat, obviously, and try to get it as clean as possible. My white coat picked up some nasty stains over third year, so I actually went and bought a new one online to bring to my away rotations. Bring medical supplies as needed — I left my reflex hammer at home since I doubted I would require it (and I did not). And then otherwise, make sure to pack you usual toiletries, medicines, etc. Some places will interview you while you are there — if you can, ask your rotation coordinator about this sneakily, although most tell you upfront. If you are going to interview, make sure you pack interview attire!

Since I rotated over the summer, I knew I wanted to pick warmer weather clothing. I tried to pick colors that would complement, so the palette I ended up going for was roughly black, camel, pink, cobalt blue, yellow, and kelly green. For shoes, I brought flip flops for casual wear, clogs for the OR, and then two pairs of comfortable shoes that I could wear both for the clinic and outside the hospital (I went with brown loafer flats and black flats).

IMG_0565IMG_0564

Feel free to ask any other questions below about aways! Part 2 will go into the meat of rotating away, so stay tuned.

Audiobooks

I’ve mentioned previously that I love listening to things, especially books. My first foray into audiobooks was via librivox, which I discovered because it was free and I didn’t feel ready to delve into audible yet or anything else that required paying. The first one I “read” was Elizabeth Klett’s recording of Jane Eyre. I’m not even sure how it showed up on my iTunes podcast list, but it did, and I fell down the rabbit hole. Since then, I’ve listened to a bunch of other books to make a dent in my “classics” book list. My favorite readers have been Elizabeth Klett and Karen Savage. So I’m a typical American… I enjoy hearing a female Brit speak, and I’m shameless about that.

Librivox is awesome because it’s free, there are a gajillion readers, and you can enjoy a HUGE collection of books. I totally recommend it!

Once I jumped into the audiobook world, I of course had to sign up for Audible. I got my first book free from one of those sponsor links that basically everyone has (it shouldn’t be hard for you to find one). I like that I can set the speeds to finer calibrations than that of the Apple Podcast app that I have to use for everything else. Yes, I listen to everything sped up. Yes, that probably “ruins” the reading, but I am an impatient gal, and after years of studying to at least 2x recordings for school, I just can’t stand the normal pace a person talks at. I’m currently listening to The Count of Monte Cristo, which is a massive endeavor (my app says there are 52 hours of recordings, yikes!). I’ve started and not finished this book so many times, and it’s my mom’s favorite book, so I always keep giving it another go unsuccessfully. Well, on my uber long road trip down to Florida for my current away rotation, I figured that this was the time.