Audiobooks and I haven’t always had such a good relationship. When I first downloaded Audible (yes, with a discount code from a Youtuber; I can’t even remember which one it was now there’s so many), I used the free book I downloaded to help me go to sleep, which was a great help, but it was pretty hard to keep up with the story because I couldn’t keep up with what was happening in the story from one night to the next.
But, I persevered with it, and eventually got to the end of my first audiobook – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It might have taken me a while – what with having to
keep going back a chapter to find the last bit I remembered and everything – but it was totally worth it.
And now, I’m hooked.
Listening to audiobooks means I can actually have two books on the go at once; something I could never do before, because it was too confusing for my wee brain. The experience is so different that I can keep up with both stories more easily; and I have a better chance of reaching my goal of reading thirty books this year!
Another plus is that now I have a new job which is a forty-ish minute walk away, I can use that time wisely by listening to a book on my way. Sometimes I might look a bit crazy walking along laughing to myself or holding back tears, but that’s a very minor downside I can definitely live with.
Audiobooks also allow for reading when travelling without causing travel sickness; particularly on Virgin trains between Manchester and London which always make me feel queasy whether I’m reading or not.
Those are some of the practical reasons why I’ve grown to love them, but there are also reasons to do with the listening experience itself. One of these is that with the likes of Neverwhere, narrated by Neil Gaiman himself, you get to hear how he intended the words to sound,and how they are meant to make you feel; and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, also ready by the author, Maya Angelou, is especially interesting as it is a semi-autobiographical novel, and therefore hearing it in Angelou’s voice makes it all the more gripping.
I have also listened to books that have been on my to-read list for years: Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Firstly, the narrators in both of these audios were fantastic. They took Jonathan’s language and made the whole experience so immersive, it’s probably lucky I don’t have too many busy roads to cross on my way home! One particular part of Extremely Loud that struck me was when Oskar is telling ‘the renter’ about his dad’s phone messages; we hear ‘are you there?’ thirteen times (forgive me if that’s wrong, I think it’s thirteen) complete with the long pauses, and I thought about how if I had been reading those repeated questions, it wouldn’t have had nearly the same kind of powerful effect.
If you haven’t given audiobooks a go yet, I strongly recommend giving them a go, even if you don’t think it’ll be your thing.
P.S. I wish this was sponsored by audible, but sadly, it’s not 😉
P.P.S. Images not my own