Monthly Archives: August 2015

8 Reasons to Love Audiobooks (or at Least Give Them a Try)

Ever notice how your list of books to read never seems to get any shorter? For every title I cross off my list, it seems I add three more, and at this rate it’ll take me at least 20 years to completely finish (I know because I’ve calculated it). Most of us don’t have enough time/energy to read as often as we’d like, in between all the other stuff we have to do like commuting or folding laundry – but those are perfect opportunities to whittle down your list by popping in an audiobook.

1) Multitask like a boss. Mopping is a drag (har dee har har), but why not make it fun? Start up an audiobook, and I promise chores will be so much more enjoyable! You can spend an afternoon reorganizing your closets while also tackling titles on your to-read list, like Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair read by Colin Firth. Word of warning: you may find yourself actually making up chores so you can continue listening!

2) Cut your screen time. After a long workday in front of a computer screen, do you really want to veg out in front of a TV/phone/laptop screen? Genre books like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series (A is for Alibi, then B is for Burglar, C is for Corpse…), make for wonderfully brainless background noise, without the sleep-disrupting qualities of blue screens.

3) A good narrator enhances your experience of the book. Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? was very funny to read on the page, but hearing her read the book aloud is hilarious. An adept narrator knows how to enhance humor, drama, and other emotions in ways that you just can’t replicate when your eyes are zooming across the page. Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped tore me apart when I read the book, and I’m terrified that the Audie award-winning audio version will reduce me to a quivering ball of tears for hours on end.

4) Long drives seem shorter. It’s tough to stay alert when you’re driving alone and/or at night and/or the road is super boring (I’m thinking of you, New Jersey interstate). Picking up something long like The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak will keep your brain engaged and will make any long drive more endurable. Similarly, long workouts on the treadmill are less arduous when you have a plot to engage your mind.

5) Audiobooks are interactive. Have you been on the waitlist for the print copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo? You can download it right now through Hoopla and experience the magic by listening to the audio – while simultaneously tidying up!

6) Long, difficult books can be less daunting in audio. Everyone has that “I’d like to read it, but I probably will never get around to it” list of books. I recently converted a friend of mine to audiobooks, who after years of false starts, is finally making her way through Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

7) You will have at least one moment where you realize you’ve been pronouncing a word wrong your entire life. Interminable. Prerogative. Indefatigable. Cache. Aluminum has five syllables?! Wait, nevermind, the narrator is British.

8) You might retain more (at least, you won’t retain less). There’s a theory that you retain more information when listening because your brain doesn’t have to work as hard at creating imagery (looking at images of words supposedly interferes). I used to think I wouldn’t retain audio – then I remembered all the times I’d looked up from a book and realized I didn’t remember any of the last six pages. it just happens, no matter how you’re ingesting a book.

Now, CD or digital audiobooks? We have a bunch of books on CD, but I prefer downloading audiobooks with the OverDrive app on my smartphone. I use a cable to hook up my phone to my car stereo and listen while driving (almost every car nowadays has a way to connect to your media devices), and I can keep listening as I do cook dinner, scrub the bathtub, and walk the dog, all with minimal hassle. Another upside to downloading: no fees. OverDrive items disappear automatically when they expire, and you can’t scratch them or lose them under your car seat.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Do you currently listen to audio books? If not, do you think you’ll give them a try?