On the Merit of Audiobooks

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I imagine that pretty much anyone interested in reading a blog that primarily talks about books is familiar with goodreads. I love goodreads and am on my third reading challenge! I especially love that I can make detailed to read lists and keep a log of what I’m reading, while also seeing what others are interested in. Another fun feature of goodreads is the poll. Which is where this post comes in. I’ve embedded the poll that I just did because I was truly shocked at how few people have any love for the audiobook! (click and see!)

https://www.goodreads.com/poll/widget/112460-what-format-do-you-prefer-to-read-in

So, I wanted to do a quick summary of the reasons I have become a convert to audiobooks.

  1. You can listen to it while commuting to work (or school) (or anywhere really)
  2. You can listen to it in the bath
  3. You can listen to it while doing dishes/ironing/sewing/cleaning.
  4. It adds a certain liveliness to the text
  5. You can borrow from a library – either as CD files or as a file download (I use OverDrive)
  6. Your eyes don’t need to be open

So I’ve realized that most of those options basically boil down to multitasking! But it really does make long trips fly by, housework seem less tedious, and free up all but your ears for being productive or creative!

The reason I avoided audio books for so long was that I simply consider myself bad at listening! I was terrible on listening comprehension tests and I just decided as a result that I’m not good at taking in information that way. But, that was when I was a kid and now, while I might get distracted and have to rewind a few seconds (or minutes) I can sit and absorb and imagine while listening. It’s probably even improving my listening skills! I know my limits though – I can’t listen very well while marking school work or reading anything else really. It has to be a different part of the brain for multitasking!

I’ve been known to sit in my car in the carpark at work or driveway outside my house just to hear one more chapter! I listened to a number of audiobooks while I made a quilt a year or two ago, and the audiobook for Outlander by Diana Gabaldon got me through numerous flights around Europe this summer! Sometimes if I can’t sleep I listen to an audiobook until I nod off.

So, if I have got you in any way intrigued, where should you start?

First off, I’d suggest an audible trial. You use your amazon login and you get two free downloads before you have to start paying. You can listen to little samples to check if you hate their voice or love it (I spend a ridiculous amount of time doing this), and you can get a free swap in if you  don’t like it (although I haven’t yet had to do this). You can listen to this on your phone or a computer.

Secondly, I’d recommend seeing what your library has on offer. Depending on what systems they use, you may need to download an app on your phone to listen, or some may offer listening in your browser. Auckland Libraries uses an app called OverDrive which allows you to browse, download, and listen on your phone – all you need is your library card number!

Thirdly, look for CD audiobooks. These can be bought in most bookshops and some libraries have a nice selection. It’s like the audio equivalent to a hardcopy book and is good for if your car has a CD player. I also think it’s nice to invest in any good ones if you want to have it for your children to put on for themselves without needing their own little computer or smartphone. I know that the Harry Potter Audiobooks narrated by Stephen Fry are often high on recommendation lists! Once a classic, always a classic.

In conclusion, the humble audiobook has a lot to offer you in your busy life. Let the smooth tones of storytellers take your mind away from your reality and don’t feel guilty about indulging in some reading time when you have dishes to do and commutes to endure. What’s stopping you?

If you have any suggestions of why YOU love audiobooks or questions on how to get started please leave a comment!