Podcasts, Earl Grey Editing

One of my goals this year was to try audiobooks. They’d never particularly appealed to me; I had podcasts and music for the times my hands were busy and books for the times my hands weren’t busy. However, I ended up with some eyestrain while judging the Aurealis Awards last year. I found the experience very frustrating. Podcasts helped, but I got tired of listening to so many back-to-back. I wanted something I could sink into a bit more.

A few months ago I signed up for Libby, an app which allows me to borrow audiobooks from my local library and listen to them on my phone. I picked out The Scorpio Races, a stand-alone contemporary fantasy by Maggie Stiefvater. Not only was it my first audiobook, but it was also my first book by Stiefvater. I think it was a good choice. The story really hooked me in. The audiobook had dual narrators, which didn’t entirely work for me, though it was skilfully read.

I’m not quite ready to jump on the audiobook bandwagon, though. This is mostly because it competes for time with my podcast playlist. However, I still have trouble with eyestrain from time to time and it’s nice to know that the option is there for when I need it.

Are you an audiobook fan? I’d love to hear your experiences with the format. What are your favourite audiobooks?

8 thoughts on “Audiobooks”

  1. I have to admit fiction audiobooks never worked for me, I’m not sure why, because I quite like non-fiction audio.

    I still don’t listen to very much of either, though (or podcasts). I think it’s because most of the times when I’d usually be listening—at the gym, in the car, walking, etc.—I feel like I “should” be spending plotting/drafting novels in my head instead. Writer guilt is a powerful motivator! u_u

    1. I haven’t yet ventured into audio non-fiction, though this seems like an oversight I should correct.

      Writer guilt is a powerful motivator! And that time spent rehearsing the story in your head can be so useful later on.

  2. As I get older Im finding it difficult to maintain concentration long enough to finish a paperback novel.

    Audiobooks have really helped me out and Ive read more books on the last year than I have in the last decade.

    Only frustration is the more limited range of audiobooks in the UK (compared to the US) and publishers not releasing audio versions of the last book
    In a series (City of Miracles for example).

    1. Oh, wow, how frustrating! I’m guessing whether or not the later books go ahead is based on how well the earlier books sold in audio. Still, it’s a very disappointing outcome when that’s your primary (or only) method of consuming books.

  3. Hi Elizabeth, I’ve become quite the audiobook fan over the past few years. I started off with nonfiction, and only listened to nonfiction for quite some time, but can now listen to both. I listen to one in the car on my rather short commute to work (15 minutes) but I still get through them pretty quickly. I’ve just recently started listening while I’m out walking the dogs, again I get through things pretty quickly then too- although I am currently listening to Moby Dick…. that’s taking a bit longer, but it also represents that I can listen to things that I’d never get through reading- which is another advantage of audio.

    I know audio isn’t for everyone but I’d keep trying. I don’t know what your preferred reading genres are but I’d highly (highly!!!) recommend Magda Szubanski’s Reckoning- Magda reads it herself- the story is compelling and she does the magnificent Scottish and Polish accents of her parents. The other amazing audiobook I listened to this year was Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon. It’s short, only about 3 hours from memory, but gut wrenching. I reviewed and gushed over both on my blog if you’re interested in reading that. Oh and Burial Rites. OMG. The audio helped there with the Icelandic names and places, I would have stumbled over those each time if I had read it, but the audio reader helped me be able to have Agnes Magnusdottir roll off my tongue.

    I hope you try again soon with audio it really does augment my reading pleasure, and helps a slow old reader like me get through more books. Win, win.

    1. As I said, for me it’s less a matter of concentration than it is a matter of finding the time (especially since my dogs are a menace to society and I need my situational awareness while out walking them). But thank you for the recommendations. I haven’t tried non-fiction yet, and Magda Szubanski sounds like a good place to start. I’ve also heard that Cary Elwes’s narration of his memoir As You Wish (about his time filming The Princess Bride) is excellent. I might have to see what I can dig up.

  4. Did you listen at the regular speed? I feel like a lot of voracious readers I know who also read on audio have said that they listen to audiobooks sped up — which would resolve at least one of my reservations about audiobooks, ie their extreme slowness by comparison to reading with my eyes. On the other hand I know my eye doctor would applaud my giving the eyes a rest.

    1. I haven’t yet tried listening at a faster speed, though I think it would definitely be useful to try. Like you, I’m much faster with the visual medium, but it does have an impact.

      If you decide to give audiobooks a go, I’d love to hear your experiences.

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