Bookish Discussions / On a personal note...

Audiobooks: A Renewed Relationship


What are the two bookish wishes I yammer on and on about? Needing more time to read, which leads to, reading more books. I’ve dabbled in audiobooks here and there but this recent resurgence has me all giddy.

The gushing:

  • Using my time wisely.. I’m in the car a lot these days, shuttling young people around, so I have several audio books lined up all the time on my phone. Outside of the car I can continue listening just about anytime I can’t hold a book.
  • Salve for my tired eyes. At the end of the day my eyes are just plain tired. I can close my eyes and let the narrator whisk me away to another place.
  • The convenience. I’m fortunate to have an amazing library where three app are available filled with quite the collection of digital audiobooks. Hoopla (the app on the phone above), Cloud Library (formerly 3M), and OverDrive (My Media Mall) are all easy to navigate and use. Each have their drawbacks, but also have been a bookish girl’s lifesaver.
  • Immediacy. Not all popular books are available right away but I’m usually late to the hype out there anyway. So, I haven’t had to wait long for a book I am ready to read to become available.
  • The convenience: part 2. No lugging books around. I have enough to lug around already for work.
  • Reading what I have. I’m notorious for not picking up books on hold (since I stopped working at the library) and return unread books I couldn’t get to by the due date. Having books on my phone gives me no excuse since my phone is another appendage these days.
  • The narration. My absolute favorite thing about audiobooks is all of the accents, dialects, and proper pronunciations. I’m partial to Scottish and English but I truly love them all. I can’t say how many times I’ve mispronounced a word, name, author, historical event or place and felt like a complete idiot. Not all narrations work but when they do, it’s freaking fantastic!
  • Reading more. 🙂

The not-so-great:

  • It’s soooo slow! I can read faster than listen to a book and sometimes I want the narrator to speed it up. Yes, I’ve tried changing the speed but it just sounds weird.
  • Digital flaws. If you don’t bookmark regularly it’s a mess. Just one accidental swipe of a finger or thumb and you’re back to chapter 1. Or hear how it ended by accident. That little back button vs. the chapter back button? Too close together!
  • Zoning out. I do this reading paper copies as well but more often with audios. I’ve caught myself going back to hear what I’ve missed. Not having the words to look at, photos to view or family trees to reference (if provided in a book), I can get lost.
  • Not a traditional book. Nothing compares to paper in my hands, the smell of a book, using flags and highlighters, flipping back and forth and rereading lines. Actual books will always be my first love.

To end this on the positive, which was intended, the best way for me to read an audiobook is to have a print copy as well. I know that’s not always possible but the last few books that I’ve read fell into that situation and it was a very rich experience. The best of both worlds.

Do you read books via audio?

What was the last audiobook you really enjoyed?

3 thoughts on “Audiobooks: A Renewed Relationship

  1. I’m with you on most of these pros and cons. Especially the cons. I have listened to lots of audiobooks over the past three years (when I started trying again) and I think a total of three of them have been at regular speed. I’m usually always at 1.25. It gets upped to 1.50 if things are lagging and I’ve been known to go higher than that just to “speed read” through to the end of something. I think you’ll get used to 1.25 if you stick with it. It makes a huge difference for me. Normal speed drives me nuts. 🙂

    If you haven’t listened to Born a Crime, I highly recommend it. One of the three I listened to at normal speed.

  2. Oh, and don’t get me started on apps taking you back to the beginning. OverDrive is horrible that way. I make sure to bookmark every time I stop listening, which I suppose is no big deal, but really. A step that shouldn’t be necessary.

    Wow, I’m in a mood this morning, aren’t I? 🙂

  3. I’m so on board with the audiobooks, for all the reasons (the advantageous ones) you mention! And I’m so glad I’m not the only one who occasionally sets an eAudiobook into weird gyrations by pressing the wrong part of the tiny screen.
    I’m in the middle of a huge audiobook right now, and I’m thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. 11/22/63 by Stephen King is rocking my commute right now.

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