This post is one of three in the Impact of Book Format series I’m starting on the blog. You’ll see how I feel about ebooks, physical books, and audiobooks over the course of three Wednesdays.
As someone who almost always has an audiobook going for the commute, getting ready in the morning, and driving anywhere, I’ve become pretty well-versed in them. I know what I like and don’t like from narrators. I know the best genres to listen to via audio… and the ones that will quickly confuse me or lose my attention. I’ve been perfecting my audiobook listening over the past year or so, after getting off to a rougher start. I shared my experience in a guest post at one point and have wanted to give somewhat of an update with this post too.
Reading ALL the time
The thing I love most about audiobooks is the fact that you can literally listen whenever you want, as long as the task isn’t too distracting. If I lived alone (aka if my boyfriend wasn’t talking to me all the time) I would definitely listen to them 100% of the time I was doing chores around the house. You can listen when you cook, clean, do laundry, drive, get ready for work, take a shower… the list goes on. I even plan to casually reread a few (hopefully) this year while I’m at work, just to refresh my memory during some meaningless tasks I have to complete. For example, I print resumes at work and attach them into our database. It barely requires reading anything or thinking, so it’ll be easy to listen to a book during that time. Regardless of which tasks you choose to read during, you can always have an audiobook going if you wanted!
Rereading books without taking up reading time
I want to reread all the books AND read all the new books, but there is totally not enough time for both. I feel better about “using my time” on a reread when I’m listening to an audiobook. Don’t get me wrong – I do listen to audiobooks for books I haven’t read before, but there’s something nice about listening to an audiobook of a book you’ve already read. I feel like I’m reserving my actual sit-down-and-read time for new stories.
Favorite narrators give me new books to try out
I know Brittany loves Macleod Andrews as an audiobook narrator because
I’m a creepy friend and she has listened to books just because he was the narrator. The book may not have been on her radar at all, but because he narrated it, she listened. I’ve done the same thing before too. (Check out my list of favorite audiobook narrators!) I loved listening to books by Julie Whalen, Katherine Kellgren, Jim Dale (be still my heart), Tim Curry, and Amy Rubinate… among others of course! I know that if their name is on the audiobook, I will definitely push the book up on my TBR. I specifically read The Night Circus to finish off 2016 just because of Jim Dale narrating it. New books end up on my TBR just because of the narrators. I love that!
Bad narrators can ruin the entire book
I can try to separate a bad narrator from the story, but it’s HARD. Sometimes the feelings just end up spilling over without my consent. If there’s a narrator I’m not liking, I start to dislike the story or book itself. I know this has happened on multiple occasions for me. The biggest example is When by Victoria Laurie. I just couldn’t stand the slowness (and speeding up the audio made her voice sound worse). Her voice and the speed made me really dislike the story more than I already did. Along those same lines, I’ve heard narrators whose voices just don’t match the characters. In Losing It by Cora Carmack, the narrator sounded SO young. It was weird and jarring to hear that in a story about losing your virginity. It’s a personal choice when you decide to lose it, but I didn’t like hearing such a young-sounding narrator. It felt icky.
Feels like there’s less action
I don’t know how or why this happens, but I always feel like there’s less action in books when I listen to them. I think because it’s a big difference from when I’m physically reading them. I can see myself turning the pages faster and getting addicted, just as the action and climax start happening in the story. When I’m listening to the story instead, I can’t FEEL the tension as much. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I know this happens to me. I get to my review and I write “not a lot happened in this one” even though I know that’s not possible.
Getting sidetracked and losing focus
This is, for me, the biggest issue with audiobooks. My mind wanders. I’m a fairly stressed person on a regular basis and can feel my brain going in tons of different directions. This happens a lot when listening an audiobook. You can zone out just fine when you’re listening to music because you’re not missing much. With a book, even missing a few minutes can confuse you. I hope to get better with this in the future but I really have no idea how. The biggest thing is to just focus in on it and let yourself get into the story. I think if I’m feeling bored-ish, I just zone out. I need to quit!
Overall, clearly I really enjoy audiobooks… or I wouldn’t listen to multiple of them each month! The benefits definitely outweigh the disadvantages. Listening to a book via audio can enhance the story with a great narrator, but it can be ruined just as easily by one. Focusing in and treating it like you’re physically reading is the only way to be sure you don’t lose focus. Multi-task all the way to your Goodreads goal, friends!