Lets Talk : Audiobooks

Greetings everyone! Random post time. The DNF post went so wonderfully and I’m hoping this post will have some success as well! This week I’m going to dive into a topic I’ve been developing a growing enthusiasm for- audiobooks.

  1. Audiobooks I’ve Tried
  2. Audiobook Pros & Cons
  3. Sources for Audiobooks
  4. Conclusion
  5. Lets Talk!

1.) Audiobooks I’ve Tried

The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi and voiced by Kate Simses.
I already gushed about this in my Shatter Me book series reviews but just to reiterate- I LOVE Kate Simses work on this series. So much so that I wonder if I would like the Shatter Me series as much if I had read it instead. Her inflections and emotion and witty delivery made every line hit just right. I’ve since read reviews and think pieces of people complaining about certain writing quirks present in Shatter Me, I recall none of those issues. Probably since I’d listened to the audiobook and processed all that info so differently. To my understanding the narrator hasn’t worked on many other YA or adult series, but I will basically instant-listen to anything she does in the future.

Sadie by Courtney Summers is a fabulous audiobook and honestly, I don’t think it should ideally be read in a traditional novel format. Maybe that’s a strong statement but Sadie is modeled after a true crime podcast format, and the audiobook was a herculean effort to bring together a lot of convincing actors. As someone who has listened to some true crime radio shows before (Dear John on Spotify is a good one) this audiobook is astonishingly realistic.

I’ve also listened to these in the past 12 months-

The Swift by Ricky Dragoni
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens (partway, and read the rest.)

2.) Now for a simple pros and cons of my experience with audiobooks.

Pros

  • Audiobooks can really enhance dialogue-heavy novels. As long as the book is being narrated well, the inflections can really assist in making jokes funnier or dramatic moments more emotionally compelling.
  • Convenience factor. You can multi-task while listening, though for me this often didn’t work out. I’d end up automatically tuning out the audiobook and missing many parts. (More about that in the cons list.) But I noticed that once you’ve been listening for a long time and feel more comfortable, multitasking gets easier.
  • Learning pronunciation that you might not be familiar with.
  • I’ve heard of this neat little bookworm hack before from multiple sources. Not a guaranteed thing but listening to an audiobook WHILE reading the physical book can not only increase immersion, but help in conquering a stubborn reading slump. I think it’s worth trying but your mileage may vary!

Cons

  • The zoning out thing is no joke. So I have ADD, which makes many things harder. But it definitely makes listening to audiobooks and paying attention over long stretches much harder than it should be. From what I’ve heard, people without ADD who are new to audiobooks struggle just as much. It can become background noise very easily when you’re new and your brain goes into tune-out mode after a while. Listening in short bursts is best- at least at first.
  • They’re too long. I listen to books at 1.2x or even 1.5x speed and I’ve heard that people who are really into audiobooks can pick up everything at 2x speed or even 3x speed. Nonetheless, audiobooks can run from 8 hours to 20 hours and many of us out here can read pages faster.
  • Super subjective one but sometimes they sound silly. So here is my super weird experience, when I’m listening for a while I don’t notice anything. But when I start listening after taking a noticeable break things can sound.. awkward? Cringy? Especially if there is dramatic acting going on. But after 5-10 minutes or so, that feeling goes away and everything is cool again, go figure.
  • Availability and pricing. If you want to buy and keep audiobooks they cost a lot of money.

3. Sources for Audiobooks

  • Audible has some reasonable monthly prices and sales. Scribd is a pretty incredible rental service for the price. Also note that there are a lot of illegal paid services out there, Audible and Scribd are legitimate, but be careful if you choose to google this topic.
  • My preferred method of obtaining audiobooks is through Overdrive via my local library. I’m fortunate enough to have access to two libraries, my local one and a collaborative one that covers multiple counties throughout Michigan and Indiana. You may want to check your local library’s website to see if they have more information about this.
  • If your library selection is lacking and you’re a US resident, some libraries offer a library card to anyone with a US address for an upfront cost. There’s some blog posts about this topic here and here. I want to make note of Brooklyn Public Library in particular, it has a huge selection. If you google a library’s name plus overdrive you can easily view their selections. A fantastic “deal” for avid consumers of audiobooks and ebooks but for new releases or very popular books there can be wait lines but if you need to read a particular title right now, audiobooks are just not the easiest nor cheapest route. For example I’m itching to read House of Salt and Sorrows but the wait lines are quite long for this new and popular release so I’ll probably end up buying the book soon.
  • You may want to check your own local libraries for their physical audiobook selections too.

4.) Conclusion

I consider myself a fan of audiobooks even though I rarely listen to them. If I hear of a great one that enhances the experience, will totally consider it. But otherwise my reading speed is fast so I’d rather save time by good old-fashioned reading. My next stop on the audiobook train is going to be Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. It has a full cast of actors. Also have the physical book with all of its highly unique approaches to page formatting, combining the two at once should be a doubly unique reading experience.

By the way, here are links to Audible and Scribd if you are curious about trying them, each one has month-long free trials (note: these are affiliate links, so I’d get a small commission or one free month if you do decide to try out either one.)

5.) So, lets talk.

  • Do you listen to audiobooks, why or why not?
  • If you DO, do you have some favorite audiobooks to recommend?
  • Do you know of any audiobooks that have full casts of actors? Very curious to find more like that!
  • Is there an audiobook in particular that you want to listen to? A sort of TBL instead of TBR, if you will. 😀
  • If you have a blog post about audiobooks let me know and I’ll link it back in this post.

As always, I appreciate your thoughts/comments on this topic at any time.

43 thoughts on “Lets Talk : Audiobooks”

  1. You probably won’t believe me – no one would – but I have never listened to an audio book – from the beginning to its end in my life – discounting some radio episodes I could not help but hear. I don’t see any benefit of it for me – 1) I cannot multi-task while I am listening 2) listening while reading at the same time – you are still reading the physical book, so it does not count 3) enhance dialogue-heavy books? Hmm. I will watch a movie adaptation instead. The only thing I agree with is the pronunciation, but you can get it from films and TV, too. So, I have not heard yet of a really positive thing about audiobooks that will make me run and buy them immediately, unless of course there are people who are dyslexic, who enjoy listening and hate physical books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate audiobooks lol! I find them much too passive. I know that loads of other people love them but for me I feel that I miss aspects of the book such as my own interpretation of how the characters should talk, choices about where I place the emphasis in scenes. I think I’m too active a reader. I’m someone who loves to write in books. I like highlighting with my trusty pack of highlighters. Audiobooks just don’t do it for me at all oops!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so right – there is no substitution for voices in one’s head while you are reading – characters become alive through you this way (you are the creator, too, in a way) – and your imagination is so much more active this way, and you can build worlds in your head and imagine scenes the way you want it, as you say, and characters’ intonations. Listening to someone talking is not the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually really like listening to audiobooks. I work in an office by myself so to help the time pass while I work I either listen to audiobooks or music. My personal favorites on audio based on performance and the story would be the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness (love those novels) and Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I don’t listen to Audiobooks a lot since I am very picky about the Audiobooks I listen to. I also try to listen to Audiobooks that are under 15 hours because any longer than that is just too long! I definitely think that Audiobooks can really enhance a book and add more to the story though and I do enjoy most of the Audiobooks that I listen to. Listening to a book while reading it at the same time is in my opinion the best way to really enhance the story but it takes so much longer to read that way!
    Great post! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it! I agree a bunch on wanting audiobooks to be under 15 hours (or at least under that number on 1.5x speed which seems to be my limit right now) also agreed on being picky as the time spent is more versus reading in the traditional way.

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  5. I struggle to follow audio without a visual to go with (so phone conversations with me involve a lot of repetition from the person I’m listening to) which means audio books are perhaps the worse idea ever for me. I get nothing from them other than frustration.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fantastic post! I love audiobooks and seem to be listening to them more than reading at the moment. I love her immersive they are especially if I get a really great narrator. My favourite audiobook from last year was Station Eleven by Emily St Mandel narrated by Jack Hawkins, his voice talents made the book for me. One of my favourite narrators is Imogen Church, she’s brilliant and voices so many different books. I could go on but I won’t, perhaps I should do my own post instead! 😂

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  7. One of my big cons regarding audiobooks are the narrators. They can either make or break a book for me! I have to listen to the samples before buying an audiobook, or I search for those narrated by people I like otherwise I cannot listen to it. One of my favourite books is A Discovery of Witches but I’m so glad I read them physically before trying out the audiobook because I found the narrator really dull and boring.

    Also, anything above 2x speed is garble for me so it takes me ages to listen to an audiobook. Unless it is Illuminae, I can read the book faster in its original format.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed very much on narrators, I’m glad Audible has samples I always intend to check first. Will keep A Discovery of Witches in mind as regular book read-only because pretty sure I’d agree with you. Dull-sounding narration is definitely a dealbreaker. For the time speed I am still between 1.2 to 1.5, I’ve heard of someone doing 3x speed and can’t imagine it lol.

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  8. In the last two years, I have become addicted to audiobooks. I always used to have the television on in the background when I was going things (dishes, baking, laundry etc.) and have switched to audiobooks. When I first started listening to them, I was not impressed. I DNFed so many books when I started. When someone asked me to review an audiobook, I agreed and that forced me to finish it and that was all it took. I listen all the time when I am doing something else that uses my hands. I agree, I read a lot quicker and still love to read books as well. I have Scribd and love it. I am also able to get a lot of Read and Listen books on Kindle Unlimited. I think my favourite this year is Where the Crawdads Sing. It was amazing to listen to, I felt like I was there in the swamps. I am going to try and find Sadie. I have the book on my kindle, but it sounds like it is amazing to listen to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Switching from TV (and in my case, mindless Youtube vids) to Audiobooks as background listening sounds SO much more worthwhile! I’m glad you were able to find the book that pulled you into this format. I’m definitely going to check out Where the Crawdads Sing as it’s already high on the TBR, definitely recommend Sadie it is super impressive. Thanks so much for your informative comment. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I LOVE listening to audiobooks, more than reading eBooks. The business has become outrageously competitive, spawning outstanding talent in narrator selection. I, too, have a wonderful library as a resource so it feeds my addition😏 To date, I’ve listened to more audiobooks than eBooks.

    Some of my international friends have paid library memberships in the US so that option is available for that audience.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I walk a lot (in and out of work, about 1.5hr a day) and audiobooks are a great way to fill that inbetween space, where I can’t physically read or do anything else. I get mine off Audible, because the subscription isn’t too expensive, but it does mean only one audiobook a month. I recently found out there are a lot of audiobooks on Spotify, though!

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  11. I have a coworker who can listen to audiobooks while she is working (we work for a tech company so she is on a computer most of the time) I have no idea how she manages to multitask that well! I can’t listen to audiobooks if there is anything I have to read (like cooking instructions, or code at work) I am really good at listening to audiobooks while cleaning, or driving, or coloring! I also can’t listen to audiobooks if I am doing nothing, I have to be doing something with my hands! (like making a craft or coloring) Great post!! 😀

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    1. Thanks for this detailed comment!! And for mentioning about listening to audiobooks while coloring, that reminds me how I have a few adult coloring books and pencils received as a gift some time ago but never got around to trying them. Doing so while listening to audiobooks sounds perfect. 😀

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