Hi everyone! I’m back with another discussion post for you this month, which I had intended to post in October, but sadly I just didn’t have the time, so I saved it up for this month instead. One of my resolutions I made for the year, back in January was to read more audiobooks, and though I put off on starting it until July, I’ve really enjoyed my adventure into audio and definitely plan on continuing reading audiobooks for the foreseeable future.
I actually have kind of a strange history with audiobooks, because I did used to love them when I was a kid. This is really going to age me, but when I was a kid, I used to listen to audio books on cassette tape (yes, I know, when I was young cassettes were still a thing), and I really enjoyed them. I remember I used to have the physical book, and the cassette and I’d read along whilst listening and it was something I always used to enjoy, I especially loved listening to the Sophie books by Dick King Smith.
But then I stopped. I can’t even remember when and I don’t know why but I just stopped listening to audiobooks. Maybe because cassettes weren’t really a thing anymore, maybe I didn’t know where to get them from, maybe it was just easier to get my hands on physical books from the library? Honestly I don’t know, but past the age of about 8 or 9, I didn’t really read audiobooks anymore, and the years passed and they kind of fell off my radar.
When I joined Book Twitter in 2015, and in the years since, I noticed that a lot of people were talking about audiobooks, audiobooks that they’d enjoyed, whether audiobooks counted as reading or not (they do) and various other things. I wanted to get involved in the discussions, but at the time, I wasn’t having the greatest reading year & I didn’t really want to try and dive into a whole new format.
Flash forward to four years later and I still hadn’t tried any audiobooks, despite my friend Nicola, and the entirety of Book Twitter talking about how much they enjoy audio as a format. I don’t know if the fact that I like to listen to music whilst reading meant that I put off trying audiobooks, because obviously you can’t listen to two things at once, or if it was just my natural procrastinating instincts, but either way, I still hadn’t tried them. Finally after a post-Christmas meal with some family friends, where someone once again told me how much they enjoy audio, I decided to make it a resolution for this year to try some, and see if I enjoyed them.
I’d already asked Twitter to recommend me some audiobooks, as I had no idea where to start, so armed with my list, I finally took the plunge and subscribed to Audible in June. I wasn’t really sure what to pick as my first book, but thankfully, a Goodreads book group I’m part of (YA Addicted Book Club) were planning to read Priory of The Orange Tree in July, and as I wasn’t entirely sure about lugging the 800+ page hardback around with me, I thought that book would be a great way to kickstart my audio experience.
And it was! The narrator for Priory, Liyah Summers, was great and it definitely helped diving into audio again after such a long time away from it with a book from an author I already knew I liked. Whilst I had always read physical books on public transport, audio actually worked even better for me for this purpose because the chapters are all split into 20-40 minute chunks (some are more, some are less, but generally this seems to be the case), so I could listen to them without having to leave off in the middle of a chapter, because they usually lasted the length of my bus journey.
I’ve also mentioned in these discussion posts that I’m not the most visual reader. Now, reading audiobooks hasn’t meant that I picture things in my head more, but I have found that it has enhanced my reading experience, I feel even more immersed in the worlds, and the characters through hearing the stories as opposed to reading them myself. This is not to say that I don’t still love physical books, because of course I do, but there’s something about listening to the story that just makes it feel even more alive for me. This is particularly true in the case of The Diviners audiobooks, January LaVoy is such a good narrator that you really do feel the creepy, supernatural, 1920’s atmosphere of the books come to life.
I’ve found that I can get through audiobooks a lot quicker than I can read physical books, I’m not entirely sure why that is, maybe the narrators just speak faster than I read, but I can get through a good 3 or 4 chapters on the bus on the way to work listening to the audio, where before, with a very similar commute, I would have only got through one chapter of a physical book.
As I mentioned with Priory, the audio split what was a incredibly large book into much more manageable chunks, so I definitely think for people who are intimidated by large books (like me), audio is a really great option. I’ve done the same thing to finish Kingdom of Ash, I was really struggling with the physical book, because it was just SO LONG, and switching to the audio made it far, far easier to get through.
I think the snobbery around audiobooks is somewhat strange, because in addition to the fact that its ableism, don’t we all start out our lives being read to? Before we learn to read, we are read to, when I was younger one of my favourite things was my dad reading me stories. How are audiobooks really any different? It’s literally just someone reading you a story, the same as many of us experienced when we younger, and it’s been great to come back to that, listening to audiobooks has definitely made me really nostalgic for that!
Audiobooks have also allowed me read books that I might not necessarily have considered buying physical copies of, like You or the Diviners, books that I’ve wanted to try but didn’t necessarily want to sacrifice the shelf space for, and since I obviously have limited shelf space, it just generally is another way for me to read MORE.
Blogging has really helped me in terms of diving into formats that I wouldn’t necessarily have considered before, both with e-books, and now with audiobooks (though I have to say, I actually do prefer audio to e-books, as I’m not a massive fan of reading on a screen, I spend so much time doing that anyway, it’s quite nice to get a break) and this has definitely expanded my reading horizons. I can’t wait to hopefully discover more amazing audiobooks in the near future!
So what do you think? Do you love audiobooks? Do you have any favourite narrators? Did you take a while to fall in love with audio like I did? Let me know in the comments!
I doubt I will have another one of these up this month, given my work schedule, but hopefully I will have another one up next month, talking about the second year of my Bechdel Test reading experiment. In the meantime, my next post will be my regularly scheduled Top Ten Tuesday post.