Audiobooks: Are They For You?

HELLO LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!

I’m very old school. When I think of books, I think of the texture of the paper as you flip through the pages, the smell they have from either being new or old, the weight of their presence as you lug them around like precious jewels, or the need for light to be able to read in peace.

However, over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that there’s an encouragingly beautiful number of people who indulge books in a different format. It was not just about picking up paperbacks instead of hardcovers to fit them in our bags. It wasn’t about making them pocket size either! It wasn’t even about turning them into ebooks, a subject for another day, and reading them on an electronic device. We are now talking about going back to the ways of people from ancient times and LISTENING to stories being read to them!

I was always convinced that this could never possibly be a long term alternative for me as my passion for the written word was, and still is, indestructible. It remains to this day too much for my mind to handle the absence of the written word when you listen to stories. Don’t get me wrong. I encourage everyone to take on whatever format they prefer to enjoy stories written by writers around the world. Reading is reading. Or listening.

But like any Man of Science, I had to try it out for myself before I come to any conclusions. There’s no place for preconceptions, stereotypes, and prejudicial comments on something that you don’t even try to understand, right?

Thus began my journey into the world of audiobooks as I started off the experience with something shorter and easier to indulge: a poetry collection titled Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

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The decision bore fruit and offered me a quick and short experience where the author narrated her own poems while reading them in the rhythm that she deemed appropriate. This gave me confidence that there just might be a collection of books I could enjoy as audiobooks and fit them into my schedule without struggling too much. I then reached for something a bit longer, something that wasn’t exactly a typical fiction either: World War Z by Max Brooks.

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The format of the book was indeed exceptional since it was basically a collection of interviews with fictional characters who witnessed the zombie apocalypse. This was another big win for me. But was this due to the fact that this audiobook had an insane cast to play all the different characters? Would it have been a failure if one person decided to narrate the whole book? I’ll never know. It did, however, confirm that non-fiction might be a genre much easier to enjoy as audiobooks. I then tackled I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara.

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Unfortunately, the length of it made it impossible for me to find enough moments throughout a day during the 21 days borrow (I get my audiobooks from my library) to finish it. Finding moments to just LISTEN to stories was much harder than it seemed. I waited nearly a year to finally give audiobooks another try as I recently decided to finally try fiction instead, to see if I can be immersed in a fantasy story through an auditory experience. This is where I gave Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi a shot.

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But, once again, despite renewing it once and giving it 42 days to finish, the moments where I wanted to LISTEN to an audiobook where just too few for me to complete this one and feed a desire to finish it. I also learned from this experience that I had a harder time appreciating a solo-narrator experience.

Here’s what I’ve concluded about my relationship with audiobooks.


GENRE.

I feel like the genre you pick to listen as an audiobook plays a big role on how well the audiobook will work for you. Personally, I think non-fiction is the best for audiobooks just because it feels natural for the format. It’s like listening to a podcast!

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SPEED.

I’ve seen many people recommend switching up the speed to something that feels right for you. Personally, I feel like anything that isn’t normal speed (x1) doesn’t feel natural to me. There’s no way I’m getting immersed in any story at any higher speed!

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TIME.

As you could tell from my experience. Time is key. If you can’t find periods throughout your day to hook yourself to earphones, you’re likely to take forever to finish an audiobook. I think the best way to do audiobooks would be to swap your usual physical-book-reading time with audiobooks on top of listening to it when you’re doing non-cognitive activities (laundry, dishes, etc.)!

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With all that being said, this doesn’t mean that that I look down on people who enjoy audiobooks. No, no, no! In fact, I love seeing how everyone else is able to fit audiobooks into their daily lives and enjoy it without any problem at all. Whether they’re doing laundry or driving to work, I love that they are able to listen to a good book at the same time and be happy of their listening experience! I just find myself at a stage in life where I think audiobooks aren’t (or yet) an alternative that works with my own personality. ๐Ÿ™‚


WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you enjoy audiobooks?

TILL NEXT TIME,

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99 comments

  • I was scheptic at first about listening books, but have to say, it is great โ€œreadingโ€ as i cycle to work everytime as well as listening to a book as i do my rounds in the morning at the zoo.

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  • “Thereโ€™s no place for preconceptions, stereotypes, and prejudicial comments on something that you donโ€™t even try to understand.” I AM STEALING THIS QUOTE. This perfectly fits any kind of argument.

    Your audiobook experiment is such a great way to gauge if it fits your taste. I also agree that reading nonfiction is great for audiobooks! Good thing you haven’t tried one that has only one narrator ๐Ÿ˜‚ a full cast is definitely the ideal way to enjoy it. Reading higher than the normal speed is also not my cup of tea! It’s slow indeed but it’s just uncomfortable to listen which is why I sometimes end up reading the book instead. Great post Lashaan!

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    • Hahahaah absolutely! I find it off that anyone could say anything about something they never gave a chance. It was a slight nod towards the whole Black Lives Matter thing where people think certain things of people they never actually got to know! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      I had to try it in that order just to see what works or not. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I’m not made for audiobooks since maybe the stories I tried were just not right for me too hahaha I’m glad, however, to hear that they do work for you though! Thanks for reading, Divine! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  • OMG Lashaan I have so much to say and I am just reading this while walking my dog meaning: I have to type on my small phone!!! First you made me laugh with you being old school( you are way younger than me!) And being a man of science ( true with your study field). Then you are right about the speed ( I can’t get immersed while rushing either) but you forgot to add the narrators! As you’ve sayd for the one with zombies they play a huge role! That’s why you HAVE to listen to Daisy Jones. The time: I have the solution: when you walk, when you do chores other than vacuuming, when you ride the car!

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    • Hahahaha no problem, Sophie! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know how audiobooks work so well for your nowadays and it makes me happy that you get through so many books thanks to them! Hahahah hey! We can all be old school no matter our age! ๐Ÿ˜› And you’re right! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Since I haven’t listened to many, I feel like it’s so hard to know if the story you want to listen is narrated by someone you want to listen or if you power through just because you WANT to know that story! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I hear you on Daisy Jones. Seems like it indeed fantastic to everyone’s eyes! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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  • I love audiobooks, when done well I fund that they can really suck you in almost as much as reading – even give you a new way of experiencing a story you’ve read previously (for example I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve read ‘Rendezvous with Rama’ and I’ve since listened to the audiobook which has made it feel new all over again). There’s something comforting about it, like you’re sat around a warm campfire as someone tells you a rollicking good story. Audiobooks can even go a step further when you get something like one of Audibles full cast audio dramas. Great post Lashaan!

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    • I love the concept of giving stories you already know a new approach! That’s definitely not how I thought of audiobooks but I can now see myself wanting to re-read something I love by listening it instead. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Thanks for sharing your passion for them, Chris! I didn’t know you actually loved them that much hahaha Are the classics you’re reading actually audiobooks too? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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      • Oh no, I tend to actually read the classics (and the majority of other things) but sometimes just go for an audio book – for example, some of the older Star Trek novels had audiobooks produced and actually read by actors from the films/series so they’re a no-brainer for me!

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  • Much prefer reading to listening but I think, for those books I love and would happily read multiple times, the audiobook is a great way to add something new to the experience. Plus if Iโ€™ve already read the book then it doesnโ€™t matter if my mind wanders (as itโ€™s often prone to do) while Iโ€™m listening…

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    • I absolutely agree with that idea! I haven’t thought of doing that but I think it’s going to be my approach for audiobooks from now on. To experience a book I loved reading through audiobooks to get something else from it. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  • Interesting! I have quite different experiences and preferences here ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t listen to non-fiction much, as I need more attention, and when I read non-fics, I often go back a few sentences or paragraphs to check something, or check Wikipedia for some extra details… that would be hard with audio. Although there are exceptions, I’ve listened to Oriana Fallaci’s interviews lately, great stuff, and the fact there were separate narrators for her voice and for the interviewees made it an even better experience!

    I generally agree about speed, although at the later stages of my tortured WoT reading I got to 1.5 (I think, definitely no less than 1.25).

    Time… I don’t use my regular reading time at all. I listen during commute, when I do chores (my girlfriend complains it takes me ages to vacuum the apartment… maybe, but I’m actually having fun doing that!)
    As my commute is long (or was, pre-lockdown), audiobooks constitute 20-25% of my books read during a year. And since it’s done when I wouldn’t be able to read paper – it’s pure gain!

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    • That’s a really fair point that I clearly never thought of from the low number of non-fictions that I’m able to squeeze into my reading habits hahaha Being able to take notes is another reason why I can’t get into audiobooks right now too! I’m also unable to spot and note down quotes for my reviews too.

      I’ll admit that I’ve noticed that after a certain threshold, increasing the speed seems to be completely normal! Then again, it’s still disturbing to some extent since I can’t seem to find myself immersed into the world at anything higher than 1x speed.

      Hahahaahha I have to say that there’s something wrong about not wanting to finish chores faster for the sake of getting it done even if you’re enjoying an audiobook at the same time! ๐Ÿ˜›

      I absolutely agree there. To use non-regular-reading time to listen to audiobooks is definitely fantastic! I think it’s because I prefer listening to music or watching a show/movie because of how it keeps me actively concentrated while audiobooks give me a bit too much freedom while listening that getting distracted seems to easy hahaha

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  • I only listen to audiobooks when driving – and I prefer fiction, as I take too many notes on my non-fiction books ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I do love some well-narrated audiobooks! ๐Ÿ˜€ And I always listen on normal speed – as you, I find faster speed rather disconcerting.

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    • The note-taking aspect of non-fiction is one that I completely forgot about from my lack of experience in reading them much more regularly than you hahaha But I think listening to them during an activity like driving makes complete sense. Do you have a strategy on how to identify a well-narrated audiobook? Sampling? Knowledge of voice actors/narrators? Luck? ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • I am not a big audiobook listener so I don’t know the narrators too well (though I do have my favorites, especially in Polish) – but if I have a choice and there’s more than one version I usually check out the reviews ๐Ÿ˜‰ My luck’s been fickle in that aspect, and I listened to a few audiobooks where I felt the narrator was detrimental to the experience ๐Ÿ˜‚

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  • Audio books are not for me. I’ve tried enough times with various genres to realize this fact. Maybe if I had a long commute I would force myself to get into them so I wouldn’t have to listen to the radio or have complete dead time, but on my own time, I’m going to read a book over listening to a book every single time.

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  • I had most all the same thoughts and misgivings initially, until I started trying them. I tried non-fiction first, and that worked really well, but I had some issues with fiction. But I kept trying and discovered the narrator made a huge difference to me with fiction. Some I just don’t care to listen to, they distract me. Others had a way of enhancing the experience with such fantastic voices. Right now I’m just finishing the Lord of the Rings in audio format and I absolutelly love Rob Inglis as narrator, and can’t wait to listen to his telling of Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy. I think having multiple narrators can be great for different characters, and I prefer a narrator of the same sex as the main character(s), but I’m growing to appreciate others if I like the voice of the narrator. And I definately still prefer old school paper books, there are just too many benefits to them. But audiobooks are great for me when driving, doing work around the house (and I often don’t use headphones, instead playing over the phones speakers), or times when I really want to read something but I just feel so mentally exhausted I don’t want to make the effort (like after work). They are a step between paper books and movies, in a sense. So I don’t ever see them replacing good old paper books, but I love having the extra format to fit differenet times and moods. Regarding the playback speed, I don’t ever play audiobooks at anything but normal speed. Podcasts I often play at 1.25x, but these I often consume for info, whereas books are most always for entertainment and I don’t want to rush that. Great, thoughful post, Lashaan.

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    • I think I’m also convinced that the narrator plays an incredibly huge role in how much we enjoy audiobooks too. I clearly didn’t look into testing that theory out but everyone whose an aficionado in audiobooks agree that they do!

      I also like how some people use audiobooks as a way to experience some of their favourite stories differently and in a refreshingly new way. I think that’s one reason I would revisit audiobooks in the future myself.

      I agree about same-sex narration. It’s hard to really be convinced by a one-sex narration for all characters, especially when you can’t always tell that the narrator just switched characters…

      Ohhhh the statement about audiobooks being in between paper books and movies is excellent! And I think that explains why I’m having a hard time enjoying that in between since both extremes (paper books and movies) are things that I’ve always wanted to do, if not one, the other, and vice-versa hahaha

      Thanks for reading, Todd! Your recent post about audiobooks did push me into wanting to share my own thoughts on them, especially with my recent attempts to enjoy them, as I’ve probably discussed with you before hahah So, thank you, for allowing me to discuss, share, and enjoy it all with you, sir. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • If Squint Eastwood tells you to listen, you better do it.
    Audio books take so long. I like to listen to old radio dramas. They only take 25 minutes and are wonderful little stories.
    I consider this to be one of the best, ever. Vincent Price in ‘Three Skeleton Key’.

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    • Exactly! You just don’t mess with Sir Eastwood, especially when he’s ready to squint you to death!

      Ohhh thanks for sharing Three Skeleton Key with me (and it’s pretty cool that video links in the comment section show up as videos for everyone too hahaha I didn’t know that was a feature). I think I’m with you there. Short and sweet stories like those are more likely to impress me than full 20-hour audiobooks!

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  • I love audiobooks! Unfortunately I donโ€™t have the time to listen to them now but when I was working in an office, I would listen during my half hour commute and also sometimes while walking during my lunch break. Iโ€™m looking forward to the day I have time to listen to more audiobooks again!

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    • I’m glad to hear more love for audiobooks from you, Nicole! I truly believe that they’re indeed perfect for those kinds of breaks/commutes but otherwise, I find it harder to fit them into my current routine without feeling like I’m substituting physical-book-reading time with audiobooks hahaha

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  • Experience has taught me that audiobooks might not be my cup of tea: strangely enough, I find it difficult to concentrate on a story if I am not holding the actual book – paper or e-book, it makes no difference: for me reading requires the use of my eyes, and listening to a narrating voice leads to distraction unless I *force* myself to concentrate.

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    • I can definitely see how the narrator could play such a huge role on your experience. Despite not having listened to enough audiobooks to conclude it, I can definitely see how a strong cast could benefit the story.

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  • Time is a big factor for me too. I loved listening to audio books back when I was commuting an hour each way, and even a longer audiobook I could usually finish in a couple weeks. I actually really looked forward to listening to them! I preferred non-fiction to fiction, though fiction where the format/context made sense for audio (like World War Z) worked *really* well for me in audio. But now that I’m not commuting I just can’t see myself committing to an audio book. It’s faster and more enjoyable for me to just, well, read it.

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    • I am so glad to not be the only one! It’s insane how KNOWING that there are 20 hours of audiobook before finishing the book make it seem like it’ll take forever to finish too. And with the current crisis and whatnot, it’s even more impossible to really find that “dead” time to listen to audiobooks instead of reading! I agree about those non-fiction/special-fiction too. It just seems much more natural to me.

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  • I love them. I go on a lot of long walks so it’s nice to have those to listen to during. It’s also something that keeps me going during some of the boring house work tasks. I rarely ever listen to music, so the noise I fill my house with tends to be podcasts or audiobooks.

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    • Hahaha yes! After your post on them, there’s no denying that. ๐Ÿ˜€ Your thoughts on audiobooks did bring me to want to share this post sooner rather than later though, so thank you for that, Aaron. And wooow! You don’t listen to music much? That’s actually quite rare nowadays, I find. I’m glad that podcasts/audiobooks allow you to fill that auditory void though hahah! ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • Yea, even though having little to no interest in music is normal for me, I know just how strange it is. To me, a song is over quickly and they are always the same. Where as books take far longer and often have you guessing.

        I love classical music when writing etc … but lyrical music just tires quickly for me. I can learn a song after hearing it a couple times. Maybe that’s the reason?

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  • We’ve talked about this before. I can’t do it.

    I started with Russian classics. Ha! Yes, I like diving straight in. It was absolutely terrible. It was through Librivox and different chapters were often read by different people. It threw me off. It did not help that some of those people didn’t know how to pronounce the Russian words. Some were just terrible readers/had annoying accents. The only time when I could listen was when I was driving from work. There was nothing else for me to do (until I would get annoyed at my fellow drivers). So, as you can imagine, it took forever to finish those lengthy novels. I would forget where I left off quickly.

    Then, when I was abroad, quarantining, I gave audiobooks a try again. I don’t remember the title but it was a great experience. The person who read had great intonation and gave every character a different voice. It all sounded natural. I just sat in bed listening to it and it worked.

    Now that I am back to “normal,” I am done with audiobooks. I can’t “do dishes” and listen. My mind drifts away.

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    • Wow, you’re insane hahaha And to have different narrators for each chapter sounds even more insane! I could totally see how you found yourself in the perfect listening experience to… dismiss audiobooks quickly hahahah

      I’m with you there though. I think a good narrator can make an audiobook a fantastic medium but, otherwise, it would kill the experience. And I’m the same for doing various non-cognitive-demanding tasks while audiobooking. My mind will be pulled away from its initial attempt at concentration hahaha

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  • I haven’t tried any audiobook. the idea never felt right to me. I need words in front of my eyes. I don’t think I can bookmark quotes or page with that but maybe now there are apps that can make it easy. It’s already hard to concentrate reading physical or e-copy with a kid around. I can’t imagine how I can concentrate with audiobooks that, for me, might require more attention than other formats. I have one audiobook, got as tour participant, I’m going to listen next week so I’ll see if it works for me. But I also asked for kindle copy just in case I’m not comfortable listening book and review it. ๐Ÿ˜… Great post!

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    • I too need words in front of me. I find it impossible to remember words without seeing them, which makes it even more impossible to quote things too. And even worse, it makes it impossible to backtrack exactly where you want to! I have no idea if there are actual apps that does what you mention; I actually think that there aren’t but who knows. Ohhhh I’m curious now to see what your first audiobook experience is going to be like! I hope you enjoy the medium, Yesha! Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  • I’ve tried getting into audiobooks over the years, with varying degrees of success. It has always been best when I have a longish commute, because that’s when I concentrate on audio best. Otherwise I tend to get distracted by whatever it is that I’m doing. I’ve also tended to listen to “lighter” fair – usually urban fantasy that’s around 10-12 hours. They tend to be more action-driven and less full of flowery description that will cause my mind to wander (which can happen when it’s presented in an audio format). I’m jealous of those who have the brains that let them listen to audiobooks throughout the day, they just get so much more reading done!

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    • I think the longish commutes are the best moments to take the time to indulge audiobooks. Otherwise, I find myself wanting to use my time for other things than audiobooks, like actual reading or listening to music hahaha Those thoughts on urban fantasy is quite interesting actually! From someone who only read a few of them in my life, it’s interesting that they have a “lighter” quality to them hahaha Same. I too think it would cool to be able to multitask flawlessly. Then again, if I could already read faster, I’d be helllllla happy too! ๐Ÿ˜›

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  • I have to admit, audiobooks have completely taken over my life (at least the literary part of my life). Nowadays, I rarely sit down with a book. On the other hand, I always listen to an audiobook, when I do practical chores in the house, run errands in town or when I am on the plane, train, bus… You get the picture.

    The right narrator can really enhance my reading experience and these days a lot of stories are narrated by very talented actors. Listening to Harry Potter narrated by Stephen Fry is just a match made in heaven. Also, it reminds me of my childhood I suppose to have a story read to me.

    I am not a fan of multiple narrators, I don’t think it always works. Proper dramatisations can be fun, but most often I prefer to stick to the original story. Anyway, I could go on about audiobooks forever, but I probably should stop now. Great post, Lashaan!

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    • I’m actually glad that you’re able to switch books with audiobooks and be completely enthusiastic about the stories you pick up nonetheless. Shows how it’s wonderful to have this option in our lives now! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I actually almost mentioned that too, the fact that I never grew up with books being read to me and I think it plays a little in how much we appreciate audiobooks too! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Hahahah thanks for sharing your love for them with me though! I find audiobooks fantastic for what they are and hopefully, I get to love them more in the future! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  • As many people have already said, the narrator can make a huge difference. I got into audiobooks recently. I listen to one when I’m driving to work or doing some gardening. My current audiobook is Philip Pullman’s ‘The Secret Commonwealth” narrated by Michael Sheen. I’m near the end of it now and Sheen’s narration is brilliant!

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    • I have to read anything by Pullman but he has been on my radar over the past years. But I hear you about the narrator. I can only imagine how many stories out there have the wrong person narrating it. Definitely an element to take into consideration when picking up an audiobook. Thanks for sharing, good sir! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • If you ever get the chance, Phillip Pullman narrated a full cast version of His Dark Materials and it is EXCELLENT. It’s so beautiful to hear an author reading their own work, hearing words pronounced how they intended, inflections where they couldn’t quite put them in print.

      Another notable example is Nick Offerman reading his autobiography Paddle Your Own Canoe, it’s very freeform and at one point he pulls out his phone to fact-check his writing, it’s very charming

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      • Good to hear! I am planning to listen to the first three books. I read them years ago when they first came out. The Secret Commonwealth was a wonderful audiobook!

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  • Great insights! I, like you, have a hard time fitting an audio book into my every day life. I have a short commute (or will, when I start regularly working in an office instead of home). I can’t listen to them while I’m doing work or anything that takes a little bit of thought because I get too distracted. And I like to have the tv on in the background when I read, which I can’t do with audiobooks. I do love them for long trips, though. I think they make the drive go by much faster.

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    • It’s amazing that some people have a routine so perfect for audiobooks that adding them into their schedule seems like the easiest thing in life but man… It’s so not universal hahaha And I can totally see how old habits die hard there! ๐Ÿ˜› I too would have a tough time suddenly changing things up dramatically when I’m used to, for example, TV in the background! Thanks for reading, Stephanie! ๐Ÿ˜€

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  • For me, I start at 1 or 1.25x, and then as I get further in (and get used to the narrator/narrators) I can up the speed incrementally.It depends on the book, narrator, genre, interest level how fast I listen.

    Like you said, I’ve got to start at normal/nearly normal to get into the book. But once I get to cruising altitude (to mix metaphors), I can go crazy.

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    • I actually understand this very well! I tested it out on my last non-completed audiobook in hopes of being able to finish it a bit faster and noted that once I got used to the narrator, I could crank up the speed by a lot without feeling incapable of understanding what’s being said! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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  • I love that there are so many formats for reading, and that they are so accessible now. It’s so great that you can get an audiobook from the library!

    I do find the same thing as you though – it tends to take me a really long time to get through them. Also I have a podcast problem. Especially since I’ve been in lockdown and furloughed from work. It’s gotten bad. So to be honest there is no room in my audio schedule…

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    • I agree! I’m definitely glad that there are more options for everyone, making reading much more accessible too. And yes! Various library-connecting apps offer a collection of ebooks/audiobooks and I find this pretty cool!

      Hahahah I can definitely see how complicated it is to find time for audiobooks. I really think it’s all down to what kind of lifestyle we have in the end.

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  • You raise some excellent points, Lashaan! Audiobooks aren’t really for me for many of the reasons you mentioned. I agree that they don’t completely work for fiction books and it’s hard to find time to disconnect from everything you are doing and just listen. It’s great that you tried out lots of different types of books though! Perhaps I should also try different genres, lengths, speed etc. to make up my mind for sure!

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    • I initially thought that maybe once I tried one, I’d see an easy way to fit them into my regular daily routine but that definitely wasn’t the case hahaha I tried this approach by giving different genres a try to see if anything would stick but, honestly, I always come back to the same conclusion. I just prefer my “reading” to be tangible hahaha

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  • Audiobooks seem to be riding in popularity these days, which makes me happy. I’ve given a couple audiobooks a shot but I’m the type of person that gets easily distracted and completely misses chunks of the story because I was so focused on the other task at hand. I do think audiobooks are a perfect fit for nonfiction titles and maybe it’s just me but I’ve yet to find an audiobook that’s caught my attention for an extended period of time.

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    • I agree. It’s nice that people are loving them and making them a part of their lives but I definitely don’t think I’m it’s number 1 fan at this very moment. I too can sometimes accidentally lose my concentration as my mind wanders off to someplace because of something I see or do too haahah

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  • Great post, Lashaan ๐Ÿ˜ I’ve never tried audiobooks for a few reasons. First, I LOVE the feeling of a book, the smell, the weight, the cover, etc. Second, I don’t have any long time period in a day during which I could listen to audiobooks. Or if I have one, I’d rather listen to some music! And finally, I’m pretty sure I’d be tempted to listen to them in 2x speed and still I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy it ๐Ÿ˜‚
    Though, I think it’s perfect for short non-fiction or poems! Or for people who drive to work for an hour or so every day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Caroline! Hahahaha I can definitely see why they wouldn’t be something you’d WANT to try too. If you had super long commutes then I could maybe recommend them to you, at least to try it out, but otherwise, they’re not really an easy thing to incorporate in our routines hahahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  • Reading this, combined with your review of The Burning White (which instantly became one of my all-time favourite books), made me come to a conclusion I hadn’t before – It’s very strange to have “read” a book that you haven’t physically touched or even seen in real life.

    The Lightbringer series is narrated by Simon Vance, who does a spectacular job of setting the environment (and only very slightly botching the Welsh words that were added), and the whole thing is brought to life. I’m not sure the voice inside my head would have done as good a job were I reading the words myself!

    Before the Lightbringer series I hadn’t listened to an audiobook that I hadn’t already read in paper form, but the only time I really get to consume this kind of content these days is when I’m driving, so audiobooks are the perfect format.

    I’ve found that fictional worlds come to life just as well, if not better, when read by a voice that’s experienced and skilled in the form. Previously I had listened to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, predominantly read by Nigel Planer, who many would know from British sitcoms The Young Ones and Fithy, Rich, and Catflap – the world and words I already knew took on something of a new spark when hearing the characters read from a new voice.

    Ultimately I think audiobooks are their own creature, and they can add a new depth to works one is already familiar with, and provide accessibility to books for people who cannot consume them in the traditional manner

    Thanks for the article!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What are the odds! I’m glad to hear that the audiobook experience of The Burning White is just as fantastic as the novel itself. I am sure to take a mental note of that and visit the Lightbringer series in audiobooks in the future now. Thanks for that!

      I agree. It’s the conclusion I’ve come to as well with what others had to say on audiobooks. I find the idea of revisiting a book/series that you loved in its paper format as an audiobook allows you to enjoy a whole other experience that is new and refreshing!

      That sounds fantastic! It’s nice to hear your confirmation that the experience of the narrator changes the whole game a lot. I haven’t tested that theory out for myself but I think it makes total sense that certain voice actors do it better than others when it comes to narrating!

      Thank you for reading and stopping by! I appreciate it a lot. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Like

  • I have come to love audiobooks in the last couple of years. That is because my life has changed. I now live alone and am retired. I listen to audiobooks while going mundane chores like dishes, laundry, baking, working in the yard, walking etc. I am also having some issues with my eyes (cataracts) and until that is corrected, it is harder to read with my eyes. Audiobooks were not for me prior to that as I was too busy and did not have time to finish an audiobook in a timely manner. I totally get where you are coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your eyes, Carla. I truly appreciate your thoughts on them and strongly believe that your lifestyle is exactly why audiobooks are such a wonderful format to have in our lives, even if it isn’t something we actively seek out right now. I know for sure now that the medium has plenty of perks and that it’s just all about fitting them in our lives when the time is right. Thank you again for sharing, Carla!

      Like

  • I can’t imagine my life without audiobooks now. I make sure I have time for them. Walking the dogs? 4 times a day with my headphone! Somewhere to drive to? More book time! Chores? BOOK! Bath time? More audio! The only time I could but don’t listen to my audio books is when I’m running, I need my superpowerful playlists!

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  • Fantastic post, Lashaan๐Ÿ’œ Iโ€™m a big fan of audiobooks and do feel the readerโ€™s relationship to them are deeply personal. Youโ€™ve covered the top considerations and though our opinions of them vary, youโ€™ve nailed the topics. I donโ€™t enjoy poetry but think that listening to the author narrate her/his own work may reshape my feelings about the genre. I love the way you position the whole listening foundation…โ€ going back to the ways of people from ancient times and LISTENING to stories being read to them!โ€

    Thanks for a unique and thoughtful approach to the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Jonetta! It really is a question of personal taste. I also feel like our lifestyle plays a big role in how easily we can adjust to the integration of audiobooks into our life. I totally agree about poetry and the authors narrating them. Only they can really capture the emotion behind those words after all! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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  • Loved reading about your experiment Lashaan! As I am trying (really) hard to get myself to listen to podcasts, I can understand the struggle of an audiobook. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of being able to “read” a book while doing something else, but I feel like my brain is simply incapable of doing so ๐Ÿ˜‚ Even when I do some things on “autopilot” (dishes, laundry, cooking), my mind will systematically wander and stop paying attention. However, I feel like I’m slowly getting better with podcasts, so maybe 20 years from now I’ll be able to enjoy a whole audiobook ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha thanks for reading, Juliette! I actually should’ve tried getting into podcasts before jumping into full-fledged novels myself hahaha I am totally with you there. I realized that there are times where I accidentally got distracted and realized that I missed out on maybe a minute of storytelling sometimes… And it’s not exactly that much fun to rewind. It sort of breaks the fluidity of it all even more hahaha Let’s hope that we both enjoy audiobooks WAY more in 20 years hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  • This is a really fun way to explore audiobooks. It’s a neat experiment, even! I agree with you in a lot of ways. I only listen to audiobooks when I’m doing something else. A non-cognative activity, as you put it. While I’m baking bread or commuting to work or going for a jog. I don’t ever just want to sit and listen to a book. Prior to COVID-19, I spent about 10 hours a week commuting and another 10 working out or doing basic house chores. It was easy for me to listen to long books in the 21 day library borrowing time. Now? Not so much.

    I also agree with you that non-fiction is much easier for me to consume in audiobook form. I find other genres engaging, too. But non-fiction is hard for me to read. I stop to think about things too much and I make little meaningful progress. Audiobooks force me to keep going and consider the ideas in the context of the text. Then I have space after to explore my own thoughts.

    One thing you didn’t touch on that I believe is ESSENTIALLY important are narrators. You found how awesome a full-cast can be with World War Z. But a bad narrator can ruin a great book. So can poor audio mixing and editing! There’s nothing worse than listening to every breath the narrator is taking or hearing them turn pages or having extra long pauses. If something about the audio bothers me, I’m out. It could be the narrator’s voice or cadence of reading. Doesn’t matter. Out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m hearing that often about audiobooks nowadays from EXPERIENCED folks. Covid sort of killed a lot of those “dead” time where plugging ourselves to an audiobook was easy but now all those low/no-cognitive activities have become much more of a daily routine than ever that listening audiobooks during those activities seems so easy for many and I envy them hahah

      True, true. I haven’t really consumed enough non-fiction throughout a year or even a month to know “how” I consume them (e.g. do I pause and reflect, do I just keep on going, do I take notes, etc.). But I do see myself listening to them and take notes as I listen but this whole idea isn’t exactly thaaaat appealing though hahah

      I definitely overlooked that narrator element but I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I didn’t try to re-listen a book by looking into a different narrator. That would’ve gave me more assurance in the impact of a narrator to an audiobook experience BUUUUUT what you just said about them, which also made me laugh with all the breathing and stuff hahahaha, I can totally see how crucial they are!

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Jackie! I truly appreciate the time you took to do so! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha. You’re right. I’m definitely an “experienced” audiobook connoisseur. But wheen you have 10 hours a week of commuting, and the news of the world is SUPER depressing, well, I turned to audiobooks. I do miss the opportunities to listen to them. Honestly, I don’t know how I had time to do all the things I did in my pre-COVID life. I probably didn’t get as much sleep…

        I’ve found Classics are the only genre where you can find different versions with different narrators. Here’s a great example of an awesome audiobook gone wrong: Dan Stevens (actor; Downton Abby, live-action Beauty and the Beast) does an AMAZING job narrating audiobooks. He recorded a number of Christie’s famous mysteries. However the audio mixing is SO BAD. There are times we had to crank the audio as loud as it would go to hear him and other times we had to turn it way down so our ears wouldn’t bleed. That’s not Stevens’s fault — that’s a mixing and balancing problem. But on the opposite side, I find Will Patton’s nasally voice very diffcult to listen to. Then there’s Blackstone Audio’s Darling is Bernadette Dunne. She has the voice of an older woman – I always picture mid 70’s – and she is constantly narrating books where the protagonist is 16-20. I cannot handle the incongruous nature of this and I now avoid audiobooks narrated by her. But I learned this as I went. It definitely took time to figure all this out when it comes to my audiobook preferences.

        I look forward to hear how future audiobook experiences are for you.

        Like

  • Hi Lashaan! As you’ve mentioned, I think it would be great to listen to audiobooks of poems read by the author himself. So thanks for sharing that, guess I’ll give it a shot next time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, I’ve tried loving audiobooks but I just think they aren’t for me! =)) I mean, after all, I am not a fan of eBooks because I want the “feels” of a real book… You know, how you turn the pages (all with the right lighting and atmosphere around you) and highlight important parts and write comments (gosh yep, I do mess up my books sometimes by writing comments on the pages. ๐Ÿ˜‚ It feels satisfying though afterwards! It’s interesting when you see what you’ve written a few years ago and gage whether you have the same views or not hahaha).

    Recently though, I’ve tried listening to Harry Potter on Spotify. Actually, I just got intrigued because Daniel Radcliffe himself read Chapter 1!!! Hahaha but then again, I wasn’t able to finish it. Guess I got too overwhelmed ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you actually annotate your books! I’ve tried to do that in the past but I was never convinced by how I did it. I’m also not a fan of my own calligraphy either hahah But I’m totally with you there. I’ll always prefer a physical book over ebooks. It’s why you don’t see any ebooks being reviewed by me on my blog hahah

      Ohhhhh!! I heard about Radcliffe reading the first chapter but never got around to it. I would have probably abandoned too based on the described experience I had with audiobooks so far in my life hahahah

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha! Tbh, I’m not a fan of my handwriting either but I do it anyway. =)) I just use 0.2mm pen so it would not look really messed up on the pages ๐Ÿ˜‚ Right, and to be honest, I love your physical book collection, as well as the way you photograph them! Goalz. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ˜‚ They look so professional ๐Ÿ˜Š

        Haha! Me too, I didn’t expect it. Actually thought it might be the key for me to really like audiobooks as a huge Harry Potter fan but… Oh well, perhaps some platforms aren’t just really made for a person. Haha

        Liked by 1 person

  • Audio books are really advantageous and for one, they are convenient. When audiobooks first came out, I considered them being an aid to the blind and others with impairments. Audiobooks have come a long way and their conveniences go beyond being an aid for those who are impaired. Childrenโ€™s books and many non-fiction are so reliant on photos… the downside for audiobooks!๐Ÿค”โ˜•๏ธโ˜•๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely agree! Their convenience is probably their best appeal to a lot of listeners out there and I’m glad that it helps many have a reading habit thanks to it. Definitely not easy for comics or children’s books though. But at least for everything else, people can still pick an audiobook over a paperback! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you so much for reading; I appreciate it a lot. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great post! It’s always interesting seeing what other people think of audiobooks and what their experiences with them/listening habits are. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love a good audiobook when I’m folding/hanging laundry, cleaning/dusting, or when I’m cooking. Such a game changer. Being able to enjoy a great story or learn new things from an interesting non-fiction book makes doing chores sooo much more bearable. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  • Oh! Rupi Kaurโ€™s Milk and Honey – this was quite a sensation in the blogging community when it was released. I still havenโ€™t managed to read/listen to it though!

    I still donโ€™t know though, Lashaan! I mean – really?! Was it as fulfilling an experience as READING an actual book?! But you are right! I better not form pre-conceived notions about it.

    *trying very hard not to.*
    *still trying*
    *failing at it now*

    Yeah, I donโ€™t think it would offer the same satisfaction! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ I just…I….*sigh* I DONโ€™T KNOWWW! Your post has made me doubtful and uncomfortable nowww!! ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahahahaha no worries, Rain. I completely understand. I don’t think it’s there to replace reading a physical book though. You’ll have to see it as another way for some people to read a book and appreciate literature in a different way. It doesn’t particularly work for me though, as you could tell from this post, but I appreciate what it offers everyone else! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ll always personally prefer reading a physical book. To see those letters, words, sentences in front of me, and to feel the paper between my fingers hahahaah ๐Ÿ˜› Thanks for reading, Rain! I appreciate it a lot! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • YESSS! EXACTLY! But I agree with your point of view about them. It must be – as you say – that I think of them as either this or that, which must be the source of my unwillingness to even give them a chance! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

        Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve debated about whether to try an audiobook, but I think I’d be too impatient. It might be good when driving cross country for hours, but not for regular listening at home. I’d want to follow the story at my own pace.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Oh I definitely get what you mean about the genre- for me, my interest in audiobooks started with non fic. It took a while (and the right audiobooks/narrators) before I started to enjoy books in other genres (and I still try samples before I go for the audiobook version). I do like switching up the speed as well- but I get why that wouldn’t work for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It just seems so natural to listen to non-fiction rather than any other genre but I can definitely see the appeal with other genres if you have the right narrators. Sort of like having a parent read a book to their kid. I’m not giving up on audiobooks for now but I think there might be a better moment in the future for me to indulge them better hahaha Thanks for dropping by though. It’s a pleasure to hear from you. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  • I can’t get into audiobooks at all. I can’t somehow stay focused and have to keep listening to the same lines again and again. Sigh, I wish I had a better experience with them.

    Liked by 1 person

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