The Pleasures of Audiobooks
Or, I love being read to.
I have loved stories for as long as I can remember. From my early encounters with the funny pages in the Sunday paper, to learning to put sounds to letters to form words and then using words to tell stories, to listening to my dad and his brothers tell stories, to sitting down and actually reading book. Stories have always been a part of my life.
A few years ago I discovered audiobooks on cassette, then CD, then audiostream and I was off!
My local library started carrying a few titles, then a few more and then expanded the shelving. If memory serves, it took me about a year to work my way through mysteries, historical novels, humor, fantasy and whatever else was on those shelves. By then, I had moved on to monthly rental on CD and then on to Audible.
During that time I had a subscription to Audiofile magazine – which is a fantastic publication dedicated to all things audio. It is filled with informative reviews and interviews covering every level of audio book; adult, young adult, child, you name it.
Why I Love Audiobooks
Beside the vision issue – mine can’t handle nearly what it used to – there is the pleasure of listening to a good story told by a person who can create and carry multiple characters without leaving the listener behind.
I own the Harry Potter books in paper and audio, then picked up the cloud versions when they were first available on Audible. I wore out the cassettes and my CD player gave up the ghost, but the cloud versions are available not only on my iPod, but through the Audible player that works pretty much everywhere.
The ability to listen to Jim Dale tell Harry’s tale is amazing. I have no idea how many times I’ve listened to the series, but each and every time I learn something new. I discover something that I hadn’t noticed before.
I have a similar situation with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and the side series and short stories.
Distracting or Focusing?
Some folks find audiobooks distracting. They can be. I learned early on that I couldn’t listen to one while doing detail work with data. They can also be focusing. When you listen very carefully, your attention is focused on one or two things only.
Come to think of it, that may be the different side to the same coin. 🙂
I like to listen when I go to bed at night. Yes, I do drop off after a while and the story could continue on, but that gives me a place to rewind to and start again. More layers, more detail.
Of course, there is the problem of starting a Brand New Book and being up half the night because the story is so good I don’t want to drop off to sleep.
I can do handwork, or housework, or drive my car, while listening to a book. This version of multitasking is actually productive. Most of the time. 🙂
Believe it or not, you don’t need a lot of equipment. If you have pretty much any electronic device, you have the opportunity to listen to audiobooks.
I began using a cassette player, moved on to a CD player and then onto an iPod. I currently listen on my Alexa device, but can use Audible’s players – which are free, by the way.
I think that listening to audiobooks is similar to my experience with my first Kindle. My reading world opened up and I began to discover new authors and more topics.
There was a time when I waited for one of my favorite authors to publish – and then waited until the next book came out. I had a few authors that I looked forward to reading in my yearly rotation. I didn’t have time or resources to look for new material. Now, I have the ability to test out books and authors that pique my interest. I find new folks and add new books to my list of potential reading/listening material.
I’ve found readers that handle various author’s works and I enjoying not only listening to the book, but listening to the reader. There are some that are iconic (Jim Dale?) and beloved (DaVina Porter). They are as much a part of the author’s story as the author him/herself.
As Summer revs up and we think about vacation traveling, picnics, car trips, beaches, and pretty much any other time to relax, why not consider a trip to the library to see what they offer in recorded books. You might be surprised.
You won’t be alone!