There’s a lot of fun audiobook discussion happening on Devourer of Books for audiobook week, and since my Mom and I spend a significant amount of time on the phone with each other discussing audiobooks, I figured I should get in on the conversation.
Today’s prompt is:
“How do you decide what you’ll listen to? Do you mostly listen, or split time between listening and reading? Particularly if you split time, how do you decide what you’ll consume in audio and what in print?”
I am always reading at least one book in print and listening to an audiobook. I love both for different reasons: reading a print book is about detaching from the world and immersing yourself completely in the act of reading. Audiobooks feel like someone is telling you a story, or having a conversation with you. They also help make boring tasks much more fun. I don’t mind doing the dishes or cleaning my apartment when I’m captivated by an audiobook. I also love that audiobooks help me “read” more books overall.
I mainly listen to non-fiction audiobooks. I’m not sure why, but I find it harder to follow fiction or novels on audio. I love listening to history, memoirs, biography, and psychology / social sciences. I will also often re-read some of my favorite books by listening to the audiobook – it makes me feel less guilty about ignoring the giant stacks of unread books I have all over the place. And the Harry Potter books are a major exception to my non-fiction centric listening choices – Jim Dale is phenomenal and listening to the series on audio is so fun and stress-relieving.
I also listen to a lot of books I probably wouldn’t get to in print. I love Valerie Harper and Dick Van Dyke, but likely would not have gotten to their memoirs above the piles of fiction I want to read in print. I love that they narrate the books themselves too – it’s like getting to spend time with them as they read you their live stories.
When I am antsy to read a new non-fiction book, I usually need to make the decision of whether to read it in print or listen to the audiobook. I always listen to the preview on Audible.com (I love my Audible membership, by the way) to make sure I like the narrator. If I don’t, I buy the print copy and read it instead. That recently happened with Lean In – very excited to read it, but didn’t like the audiobook narrator, so I bought it in print and read it. Sometimes I’ll buy a book in print even after buying the audiobook, because I want to own a hard copy as well. Wild by Cheryl Strayed is a fantastic audiobook (narrated by Bernadette Dunne), and one I loved so much I needed to own in print.
It’s always a bummer when an audiobook version isn’t available. I saw a book at BookCourt this weekend that looked like a great one to listen to – it’s called One and Only, and it’s a case for having and / or being an only child. It looked fascinating, and the type of book I prefer to listen to. But alas, an audiobook version isn’t available, at least not yet .
How about you? Do you listen to audiobooks? How do you choose which ones? Join in the conversation!
As an epilogue, here are the best audiobooks I’ve listened to this year:
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy, narrated by Rob Inglis
- The Psychopath Test, narrated by the author Jon Ronson
- Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, narrated by the author David Sedaris
- A Moveable Feast, narrated by James Naughton
And right now, I am listening to The Joker by Andrew Hudgins, narrated by Jeff Cummings.