I’ve been wanting to put together a post for a while now talking about audiobooks, though I’m the first to admit that I’m really not adding much substance to the conversation, I’m just chiming in with my two cents.
My sister was actually really into audiobooks a while before they were on my radar, which makes sense since she drives to work. I, however, have always walked or taken the subway, so I never felt much need for them. It wasn’t until I started getting more involved in the online bookish community and hearing more about people’s passion for audiobooks that I finally decided to give them a try.
A lot of people recommend starting with a book you’re already familiar with or a comedian’s memoir, and I think that’s great advice, but I still struggled with them a bit. There can definitely be a learning curve when it comes to audiobooks. And to be completely honest, I still kind of struggle with them. But they’re just such a great way to sneak in extra reading that I push through anyways.
I tend to listen to audiobooks when I run at the gym, though I will admit I’ll pick TV over an audiobook on most days. It keeps my attention more when I run on the treadmill, though sometimes I’m too into an audiobook to stop or I just really want to be reading instead of running.
It’s taken some practice to get used to listening to audiobooks while running, and I still have a hard time finding the right time to stop the audiobook so I can easily pick it up again next time (you can’t see page breaks in an audiobook), but overall I’d say I’ve gotten more used to it. Listening to something interesting and engaging definitely helps.
I know a lot of people like speeding up the narrators on audiobooks, but I actually really don’t like doing that. I find it tempting to get through books faster, especially since audiobooks are a significantly slower method of absorbing a book than reading, but I think audiobooks have their own artistic merit that’s missed when speeding through them. The narrators bring a lot of pacing and nuance to their performances that I don’t think can be properly absorbed at a faster pace. That’s my personal opinion, though, and I’d love to hear what other people think about listening to audiobooks at faster speeds. And I have to admit I do it occasionally when a narrator is just way too slow. Will Wheaton’s narration of Ready Player One by Ernest Kline and Jen Tullock’s narration of Modern Lovers by Emma Straub come to mind, for example.
Also, I still struggle with what verb to use when referring to audiobooks! Like, you’re engaging with the content of the book, but you’re not technically reading it. So do you say you read a book, or do you clarify that you listened to the audiobook? Does it really matter? Either way you’re qualified to speak about the content of the book. But it’s just a little thing that trips me up every once in a while.
Anyways, my favorite types of books to listen to on audio are definitely memoirs narrated by the authors, like Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. While it’s not a memoir, listening to Aziz Ansari narrate Modern Romance was a lot of fun, too. And I’m currently listening to You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson and definitely recommend the audiobook if you’re interested in this book.
I actually have a whole list of memoirs that I want to listen to on audio, including:
- I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart
- Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
- We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union
- The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
- Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
I’ve also listened to some other nonfiction on audio. I really liked Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and narrated by Edward Herrmann (aka Richard Gilmore). It’s an amazing book and he did an excellent job with the narration, and I would totally listen to anything else he narrates. My sister really enjoys his narration too and recommends listening to Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, which Herrmann also narrates. I actually read the physical copy and really enjoyed it, so I’m sure the audiobook is excellent too.
Because I don’t listen to a ton of audiobooks, I think I have enough memoirs and nonfiction books to keep me busy, so I haven’t really gotten in to listening to fiction on audiobook. I’ve heard amazing things about the audiobooks of the Illuminae series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, though, and I really want to listen to them, but I’m planning to read the physical copies first and then listen to them since the print version has a lot of drawings and unique formatting that I’d like to experience first. But I’m pretty excited for the audiobooks.
I’ve also heard great things about the Harry Potter and His Dark Materials audiobooks, and I’d like to listen to those at some point too. Part of the problem is that they’re such popular books at the library; because I only listen to a few hours a week, I struggle to finish listening to them before my three-week loan expires. Oh, and I have a copy of Pride and Prejudice narrated by Rosamund Pike that I’d like to listen to because her accent is divine. Maybe when I have a driving commute I’ll finally ramp up my audiobook consumption.
One thing I’m not sure I want to listen to on audio is romance novels. As you probably know, I love a good romance novel, but I’m not sure how I feel about having someone read it to me. I’m sure a good narrator could get the tension between the hero and heroine right, but I really can’t imagine listening to the sex scenes being read aloud…I’ve heard good things from some of my book club members, though, especially if you find a narrator with an awesome accent. Let me know if there are any romance audiobooks that you recommend checking out!
So yeah, I kind of dip my toes into the world of audiobooks, but with my current lifestyle, I haven’t felt the need to completely dive in. I think it’s great that they’re becoming more prominent, though. The audiobook teams are doing some really interesting things with audiobooks these days now that the demand for them is growing, and I hear from a lot of people how necessary audiobooks are to their lifestyle, especially if they struggle with physically reading books, and I’m so glad good audiobooks are an option for them.
If you want tips and tricks on listening to audiobooks, Kendra Winchester did a great video that I highly recommend checking out. I also recommend looking into Trina at Between Chapters’ series of audiobook reviews if you want more ideas for fiction audiobooks. I actually pass along a lot of her recommendations to my sister, who has been pretty pleased with most of them so far.
Do you listen to audiobooks? What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!