Listen to Audiobooks?

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Photo Credit: What Red Read

Many make the claim that the discussion is only about print vs. ebooks. And I’d tend to agree with that assessment, but audiobooks should at least be mentioned, right?

My experience with audiobooks is quite minimal. My art teacher in elementary school would play audiobooks while we worked. Did I enjoy these? Yes. Did I become fully immersed in the story like I do with print or ebooks? No. At my school we had three different outclasses (I think that’s what they were called). Art, Music, and PE. Which meant we had one every three days. So if I had art on a Wednesday, then I wouldn’t have it again until Monday. Not exactly ideal for getting lost in a story.

With that being said, I can still name a few of the audiobooks she played for us. Let’s see. Several books by Lemony Snicket. Holes by Louis Sachar. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And I’m certain that if I sat down and really thought about it that I could come up with more. One of the reasons that I remember this particular class so well is that there were some audiobooks that EVERYONE in the class would always want to hear over and over. The students didn’t care how often they’d already listened to something, they thoroughly enjoyed them.

Now I can sit back and think of other times in my life in which I could have taken advantage of the convenience of audiobooks and I realize I had the perfect opportunity just a few short years ago. In the fall of 2010 during my first semester in college I made the very stupid decision to take a 4:00-5:15 class. Why did I do this? Because a high school friend just happened to be in the class and we thought it would be in the same class. Well Jessica, it wasn’t (don’t worry, she doesn’t read this). My university was located in downtown Houston. So the normally 20-35 minute drive became almost two hours during rush hour traffic. I was getting home just before 7:00 every Tuesday and Thursday. Why am I telling you this? Because imagine the number of audiobooks I could have listened to throughout that semester. I had more than two hours in the car two of my four class days a week. Eh. Wasn’t meant to be.

So now that you know about when I did listen to audiobooks and when I missed out on the opportunity, tell me about you? Do you listen to them everyday or maybe a few times a month or not at all like me?

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88 thoughts on “Listen to Audiobooks?

  1. I have friends who listen to audio books all of the time. I’ve tried it and it wasn’t for me. I have done Teaching Company CDs and listened to lessons while driving to work – that’s easier for me than a book and it works well in the car because I could never just sit and listen, I would have to be doing something.

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  2. I enjoy listening to certain genres of Audiobooks, like mystery, crime, and horror. A narrator can make it “spookier/edgier” better than I can.
    That said, I did listen to Crime & Punishment and Moby Dick on audio — that was twice as boring.

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  3. I used to listen to then a lot more. Lately, not so much. I like them for when I’m working on something mindless like weeding or painting or doing dishes. It’s an easy distraction and you gain more from an audiobook than you do listening to music or a tv in the background. But if given the choice, I would much rather read than listen to an audiobook.

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  4. I don’t think I ever have listened to a book via audio! The closest I came to listening to an audiobook was in my Spanish class… we had to listen to Spanish phrases and words being said from our language books…it was more like a lullaby that I had to fight to stay awake to.

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  5. I never listened to them much, but I remember when I was in high school I went to a camp with one my friends that was all the way in Ohio (we live in IL). We were probably 14 so while her mom was driving us she put on the Harry Potter audio books. I’d only ever read the first one when I was a kid and after that trip I bought the whole series and went on a Harry Potter binge. Do I prefer actually reading? Yes, but it definitely made the 2 day trip fly by.

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  6. I’m not a good listener unless I’m really deeply engaged. As easily distracted as I am, audio books don’t hold me very long. The voice of the audio book reader drifts into the recesses of my mind and other things take over my conscious thought. By the time I realize I’ve been elsewhere, it’s too late. Still I am tempted to order an audio book.

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  7. I’m definitely not a fan of audiobooks. My sister uses them all the time, but I just can’t. I like to put my own voices to the characters as they’re formed in my imagination. Does that sound weird? If I listen to someone else’s voice, it changes the way I view the characters. So, no. I’m selfish with my reading. I want to use the voices in my own head, thank you very much. πŸ™‚

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  8. I’ve tried audiobooks, but couldn’t really get into them because I’m too easily distracted and miss things. The only ones I love are the Harry Potter ones narrated by Stephen Fry.

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  9. I literally just scheduled a post about audio books and then saw you had posted this πŸ™‚

    I don’t listen to audiobooks. The narrators never read it the way the voice in my head does. And I’ve ever been a good listener. My mind wanders whether it’s an audio book, podcast or lecture. If my eyes don’t have anything to do, my mind finds a job for them.

    I have considered them while driving, but at the moment I don’t drive more than 10 minutes at a time and I also really like listening/singing/dancing to music while I’m driving. If I ever had a long trip I’d consider it though.

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  10. Someone gave me Anne Rice’s “Memnoch The Devil” in audiobook form as a gift once. I tried to listen to it, but it was narrated by Roger Rees (Kirstie Alley’s boyfriend on Cheers) and his accent, while quite eloquent, completely distracted me from the story, itself. Unless you have a different narrator for each character, I don’t see how it wouldn’t be distracting in a fictional novel. I also happen to retain information far better when I read it, rather than listen to it, but I do know a few who learn better via audio. Great post!

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  11. As far as I can remember, I don’t know if I ever listened to an audiobook. To be honest, I think I would probably not focus on the story as much as I would if I was reading the story myself, so even though I’ve never listened to an audiobook, I probably will not–unless I find myself on a long road trip πŸ™‚

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  12. Nope, not for me. It feels like there’s a narrator in my voice telling me what to do. Go tie your shoelaces now, Go eat a cucumber now, Go slap herself across your forehead now, and then it gets violent. Besides, Lulu doesn’t like it πŸ˜‰

    Okay, seriously, my mum used to put audiobooks on for me to sleep to at night. I always remember I used to beg for her to put Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs on but would be absolutely petrified when the Evil Queen got her way, so I’d be huddled under my bed covers. Mum didn’t get it, because I knew the end and listened to it every single night. I guess that’s when she realised I was one of those “special” children.

    Poor Mum.

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  13. “Go slap herself across your forehead now”??? WTF, see what happens when there are 2 people in my head??

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  14. Audiobooks keep me awake while driving, because they engage my mind in a way that music doesn’t. If I ride a train in an urban area, audiobooks keep my mind off the fact that more and more people are crowding in.

    If it wasn’t for audiobooks, I’d probably only read a couple of books a year. With them, I’m going through more than two books per month.

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  15. Pingback: Writing in School | Write me a book, John!

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