Reading Tips, Uncategorized

Audiobooks – A Busy Reader’s Blessing

I’m a slow reader.

Scratch that.

I’m a reader who likes to take her time. There, that sounds a bit more reassuring.

In today’s society, it’s hard to be a slow reader. Whether you’re a student who’s assigned 12 books a semester, someone who has a job involving heavy research, or just an average Joe trying to get the latest Kardashian updates in the Hollywood Reporter, reading has a pretty important role in life. To slow readers like me, the constant rush of society can be overwhelming, and time can often be seen as our worst enemy.

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But as someone who knows the “taking forever to read a book” feeling a little too well, I may just have a solution:

Eat more blueberry muffins. Seriously, those things are good. Oh, and audiobooks work too.

Right now, I’m listening to Andy Weir’s The Martian on audiobook. Besides it being an incredible story, I found his work in audio format to be extremely beneficial for the following reasons:

  1. I’m able to see exactly how long it will take me to read/hear the entire book (which is great for that semester procrastination cram)
  2. I get to experience a story from another reader’s perspective–as well as mine–by hearing how they perceive the characters to talk and how they deliver the tone of certain chapters
  3. There’s less of a chance that the monotone voice in my head will put me to sleep
  4. Hearing a narrator try to talk in 20 different character voices can be amusing
  5. I’m able to continue on with my life, rather than stress read (you know, when a million things are on your mind but you’re forcing yourself to have some means of enjoyment on this spinning rock)… in other words, MULTI-TASKING!

I’ve always found reading to be one of the greatest ways to experience a story, mostly because the sights, smells, and sounds of a scene are only given to the reader as guidelines. Reading from a book is different than watching a movie because the reader is put in the driver’s seat, having control of how they view the events going on throughout the pages, as opposed to a film where the reader is riding shotgun and watching a director’s version of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love both formats of storytelling, but reading definitely brings something special to the table that a film just can’t deliver.

Audiobooks, on the other hand, are kind of a sweet spot between those two formats. It’s as if you are in the driver’s seat, but have a backseat driver or GPS that is directing you where to go. The audio of audiobooks often creates the sounds for you, whether it be a rumble of thunder or a character sounding a certain way. Nevertheless, you are still able to imagine your own scenery from the spoken text, as well as other things.

I guess I’m telling you all of this because I often hear about audiobooks having a bad stigma. Being someone who is not sight impaired, I sometimes get scoffed at when telling someone that I am listening to an audiobook, as if it is a lesser way to experience a story. As if it’s an easier way out of reading. The lazy way.

It’s not.

Just because someone is told a story in a different way, doesn’t make the story any less incredible. It doesn’t make the recipient any less affected by the impact that the story carries, and it also doesn’t decrease the stimulation of the imagination.

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With that said, as someone who is a painfully slow reader, I find that having the opportunity to listen to someone sharing a story with me in their own words, during any time of day, to be a blessing. I am always interested in how others perceive written works, and hearing someone else’s interpretations of a character’s dialect always intrigues me. It also gives me some company, a feeling that someone else is reading the story with me. If someone is uncomfortable with the solitude that reading often brings, then this could be a possible detour.

As far as class-use goes, audiobooks are a convenient treasure. When I had to read a book for school, I often got the audio version so I could follow along in the book. That way I could track how long each chapter would take, listen to the required reading, and defy my anxiety of time management all at once.

Also, given that many audiobooks offer an adjustable reading pace, I was often able to cut the reading time in half by bumping up the speed. Technology is a wonderful thing.

I feel as though audiobooks don’t get the credit they deserve. I think sometimes they get overlooked because of their price. Audiobooks aren’t cheap, I’m not going to lie. However, there are alternative ways to get your future books onto that mini computer in your hands.

  • Audible — Free 30-day trial! So if you only want one book for this month, you can get for FREE! After that you’ll have to pay for each book, which will be roughly around the same price as the physical copy; but hey, it beats the heck out of ordering a 20 CD set of The Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin off of Barnes & Noble.
  • LibriVox — Hundreds of FREE audio recordings of classics and other awesome novels!
  • Library — Chances are your library has an audiobook section. A simple drive up to your local book cellar can save you $60, and your sanity.
  • Goodwill and other thrift stores–audiobooks are popular in second-hand shops and are relatively cheap, some only costing $5.00!

Audiobooks are great for anyone. So instead of listening to the same Spotify playlist on your way to work tomorrow, listen to some Victor Hugo or Virginia Woolf, whatever floats your boat.

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