Bookish Talk: Why I Like Audiobooks

Bookish Talk

I recently started listening to audiobooks on my daily commute to and from work (which roughly equals an hour and twenty minutes in the car every day). I used to be really iffy on audiobooks. Why would I want someone to read to me? That didn’t sound like something I would like. At all. But my new to me car doesn’t have an auxiliary port in it, I absolutely hate the radio, and I was starting to outplay all of my physical CDs. I work in a library and a bunch of my patrons told me how much they love audiobooks, so I thought I might as well try. What could go wrong?

Well, I started with The Dead Fathers Club, which was absolutely amazing. I had a couple of crappy ones in between, which I DNF’ed (see Eat, Pray, Love), but then I listened to The Help (INCREDIBLE), The Labrador Pact, Wonder (enjoyable save for the end), and Shiver, and I realized I actually like other people to read to me. If they have a good voice, of course.

The reason I’m telling you all this is because I had a really awesome/crazy moment while listening to my current audiobook – Doll Bones – yesterday morning on my commute. I got in my car, turned on the radio, and didn’t resurface from under the spell Nick Podehl put on me until I was almost all the way to work. Do any of you listen to audiobooks? It’s such a weird feeling. I didn’t even realize I was driving (I mean, obviously I knew I was driving) or how long my commute was or anything. I was focused on the story.

The part that really tripped me up though was when I realized what was happening. There was a general scene in the book in which a person’s room is being described. I realized as I was driving down the road that a picture was being painted in front of me. I could both see the road and the character’s room.

It’s a completely different feeling compared to reading a book, in which you picture everything in your mind along with the words. You’re stationary. You have something concrete in front of you that you’re holding and reading, but with an audiobook, it’s different. I don’t know if I’m doing it justice, but it is such a cool thing that I would’ve missed out on had I not tried audiobooks.

Basically, the point of this post is to say that you should try audiobooks if you’ve ever been curious about them. 🙂

Do you read audiobooks? Do you get the same feeling as me? Recommend some good ones to me in the comments!

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15 thoughts on “Bookish Talk: Why I Like Audiobooks

  1. I’m a firm believer in audiobooks, especially because I’ve known people who couldn’t find a way to enjoy reading, but love listening to audiobooks. I have one friend in particular who is a mechanical engineer, and her days are spent reading contracts, reading fine print, reading all the not-so-enjoyable stuff, so you can imagine the last thing she wants to do is dissect more words with her eyeballs when she leaves work, BUT she also has a long commute and has taken advantage of that opportunity to listen to books, and she loves it. I guess I feel about it the same way I feel about e-readers. In the words of John Green, “I don’t care how people read, I care that they read,” which I guess could be tailored in this circumstance to say “I don’t care how people experience literature, I care that they experience literature.” I have another friend who is an artist, and while she also could never make herself just sit down and read a book, she loves listening to books while she paints. It’s another way to engage as many of our senses as we can in the experience of literature, and I think the world should be more open-minded about how people want to experience books. We don’t all have the same lifestyle, abilities, personalities, or preferences, so I’m glad we have audiobooks as another option for those who say they “just don’t like to read” to find a medium they can enjoy.

    And as a recommendation, Bossypants by Tina Fey got me through some long and lonely drives to Mississippi. And as for the reluctancy to have someone read to you, having Tina Fey read her book to me instead of reading it myself made it so much more enjoyable to me.

    • What a wonderful response! Thanks for telling me about all of that, Rebekah! I love hearing about people who find alternate ways to read. That John Green quote is so true.
      I want to check out Bossypants! We don’t have it in our library system (which is how I’ve been getting all of the audiobooks so far), but I might have to buy that one. I definitely want to listen to Tina Fey read to me!

  2. I listened to my first audiobook this summer and I think a lot depends on how decent the narrators are- but they are great for long train journeys and also if you enjoy doing crafting projects like knitting- hands free reading! : D

    • I completely agree: it definitely depends on the narrator. A bad narrator can totally ruin a book.
      Oooo! That’s a good idea. I usually only listen to audiobooks in the car, but listening to one while crafting is SUCH a good idea!

      • haha when the penny dropped on that one for me, it was like I had a mini epiphany. I was like OH MY GOD- I CAN READ *AND* KNIT AT ONCE!! (I’m easily amused!)

  3. I used to listen to audiobooks all the time until I was about 15. I’m not sure why I stopped. I have great memories of falling asleep to Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wilson and lying on a sun lounger listening to Harry Potter on my old cassette player. I still listen to my Star Trek ones (surprise, surprise!) but no others. I’ll have to think about starting up again. 🙂

  4. I don’t listen to a lot of audiobooks for myself, I listen to a LOT with my kids (and they listen to even more on their own). When my daughter was tiny, the only way I could read aloud to her was while she was eating (she wouldn’t sit still otherwise), so I started reading aloud to both kids during breakfast. It was great, except they wanted me to read SO much that I didn’t get to eat! So, we switched to audiobooks. 🙂
    Some of our favorite narrators are Jim Dale, Steven Fry, Jeremy Northam, Patrick Stewart, David Tennant, and Colleen Winton. I’ve heard wonderful things about Simon Vance, who narrates a lot of classics.

  5. Some of my favorites are The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker, Blackout and All Clear – Connie Willis, Outlander – Diana Gabaldon, The Peter Grant Series – Ben Aaronovitch. It all depends on the narrator. I’ve found some I can’t deal with. I hate the narrators for the Wheel of Time Series or any of the Brandon Sanderson books. John Goodall for The Golem and the Jinni and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith for the Peter Grant series brings something amazing to the table and ehhances the book.

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