Why I love Audiobooks

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 evenaudiobooks 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.

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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. artworks-000157543876-ntnu51-t500x500Firstly, 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

Recent Reads

Since finishing my degree back in June, I’ve been on a bit of a reading spree, only made easier by the fact my parents bought me a Kindle for my birthday in March. I’ve been making a list of books for a long time of what I would read once I was free to choose (I love Oscar Wilde but my god he’s all I read for months and I was desperate for a change), and seen as the list is so long I should probably get back to reading and not spend too long writing this blog, so here’s my thoughts on a handful of my faves:

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My Kindle

We Were Liars and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Both fantastic reads featuring some of my favourite and most realistic characters in young adult literature. The Disreputable History is haled by many as a feminist YA novel;  it is a wonderful depiction of a teenage girl’s growing awareness of the barriers put in front of her by society and the academic world in which she is a part. I’ve seen people criticise the character of Frankie because she’s ‘obsessed with boys’ and ‘only cares about her boyfriend’s approval’, but isn’t that just a realistic teenage character, trying to find out where she fits in? Also, you can be independent AND a feminist AND want boys to like you, believe it or not.

We Were Liars has a twist to die for. That’s all you need to know; read it.

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

I’ve seen and heard so many people raving about this for so long now I couldn’t wait to read it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the story itself surely wasn’t it. I’ve read so many novels based around mental illness in the past few years I’ve tried to stay away from them in recent months, but I’m glad I knew very little about what this book was about so I didn’t give it a miss, because it was a subtle depiction using beautiful language and storytelling.  I loved it.

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

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On the cover of the copy of this that I read there is a quote that says ‘If you liked The Help, you’ll love this!’, and even before I started reading it I found it very patronising and a sweeping statement about two books about race relations in the southern states of America. I do love them both, but they are two very different books with two very different stories. They are also set two decades apart, with The Secret of Magic being set in 1946, and therefore post-war America provides the backdrop to the race hostility presented in this novel, compared with the tensions of the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s which is the setting of The Help. Basically, it seems insulting to compare them in such a way when they explore very different issues and subjects under the broad theme of racism.

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

It goes without saying that, as a huge To Kill a Mockingbird fan, I was insanely excited about this release. Having read a few initial reactions from readers online, I knew that I had to detach this new novel from TKAM in order to enjoy it fully. However, after finishing the novel, I realised it wasn’t entirely necessary, as I feel as that I know the characters better, and they feel more human and fully recognisable. Atticus is not the hero everybody, including Scout, thought he was, and I think that, despite it not being Harper Lee’s intention, it is an indication of Scout and the reader’s mask being lifted. Nobody is perfect, and I feel like we all learned that the hard way through this novel.DSCF1180

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

The main character and narrator is gross. I hate him. He disgusts me. But I read this book almost in one sitting, it was so compelling. DSCF1179

All I Know Now by Carrie Hope FletcherDSCF1172

I’m so proud of Carrie. This book is a wonderful guide to growing up for youngsters and teenagers, and for people who have been through those years of their life and made it out the other side, it is a lovely way to 1) be grateful those years are behind you and 2) empathise and reminisce. Carrie’s writing style really is like you’re having a conversation with her, or watching one of her YouTube videos, making it a personal experience, which just adds to the list of reasons why I wish I was as talented and amazing as Carrie Hope Fletcher.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I’ve literally just finished this book and my gosh did it rip my heart out. From the beginning the twists and turns will have you hooked, and the beautiful language draws you in even further. I read this on my kindle, but the cover is so pretty I’m going to have to get myself a copy…18047651Thanks for reading!