There has been a lot of things going around lately about audiobooks and whether its considered real reading. I am not going to go into a rant about those who claim it is not, but I am going to tell you how to get the most out of reading/listening to audiobooks.
Now I am not going to lie, it does take some getting use to and there are still times I find myself not paying attention and having to rewind it some or re-listen to parts and a lot of times when this happens I will slow the reading speed down a little depending on the task I am doing. But I have been able to complete 28 audiobooks this year, which is about half of the total number of books I read this year.
Before I get into the all the full details I will give a short look at the pros and cons of audiobooks (because they are not for everyone)
- Multitasking • Can’t tell how far in you are/long you have until the end
- Hands free • Cant see illustrations
- Easy to take everywhere • Cant take insta pics with an audiobook
Now that we got that out of the way, below will be some qualities of audiobooks and the how to make to most out of listening to audiobooks!
I use to be a person who do not listen to audiobook and had a real hard time paying attention while I was doing other things and there is some skill and learning to it. When I was starting out I had to listen to them at 1.0x speed and could only listen to them as I was laying in bed before falling asleep. Now I listen to them at 1.75x speed and do a variety of different tasks while listening. I would recommend when you are first starting out to play around with the speed, but to probably start at 1.0x and work your way up. Sometimes it depends on the narrator and their voice as well.
I have also found that the narrator can make or break an audiobook for me. For me personally I cant stand it when a male narrator is trying to make a female voice and visa versa. I seem to pay attention to their voice more than what they are actually saying. I have also found that I cannot stand full cast narrations, but I know that is what tons of people prefer because it helps them follow the characters. I like the option to sample the audiobook so I can see if the narrator is someone I can stand to listen to. Some of my favorite narrators are Phobe Strole, Claire Danes and Jim Dale!
Another thing that can make it or break it for you with an audiobook is the genre. I have found I cannot listen to fantasy books because they usually have so much going on that they are hard to follow along with unless I am solely focusing on the audiobook. I have found listening to non-fiction books as an audiobook helps me get through non-fiction because I normally can only read it for so long. I was also never a big contemporary fan, but have found I enjoy listening to them as audiobooks. They are books I do not like spending money on and with audiobooks they are free! So the main genres I listen to as audiobooks are contemporary, romance, new adult, mystery/thrillers, and nonfiction.
Now I know there are many places you can get audiobooks, but I think the best way is the free way! Many libraries are partnered up with digital/audio lending apps that all you need is your library number and password! I have both Overdrive and Hoopla. Each one has different books available and different stipulations for borrowing books. With Hoopla there is no wait for a book, but you can only borrow 4 a month and get to keep each for 30 days. Overdrive is like a library where you have to wait for the book to be available before you can borrow it and only for 14 days, but there is a much larger limit to wait you can check out. There are also sites like Amazon Unlimited, Audible and Scribd, if you would like to explore those options.
Where To Read
The main reason I started listening to audiobooks is because I struggle with insomnia and having something to focus on as I go to bed was helping me fall asleep. I was able to put aside all the things that happened that day and things I needed to do the rest of the week as I listened to the narrator tell a story! This is still how I fall asleep many nights, but my use of audiobooks grew when I realized I was having to choose more and more between reading, work, chores, the gym etc. So I figured there was so much empty and wasted time that I could fit an audiobook in, instead of listening to music (now dont get me wrong I love music but its nice to switch it up!)
- Gym – I find it harder and harder to convince myself to go to the gym, especially when there are other things I need to and want to do. For awhile when I was going to the gym I would watch Netflix, but when lifting weights that is not something that can happen. So I have started listening to audiobooks while at the gym. It helps the time go by fast and I feel so much more productive when I leave!
- Household Chores– This is another activity I could do without. Dishes, laundry, picking up etc. I was not made for this kind of life. But I hook my phone up to my blue tooth speakers and listen to a book as I complete my chores. Again another way to feel doubly productive.
- Baking/Cooking– Now dont get me wrong I love to cook and bake, but after a long day going to work and gym, coming home to make food and clean up the mess for myself/by myself is not ideal. So listening to an audiobook allows me to unwind and focus my thoughts on something else to distance myself from the day and office. A lot of times when I am baking it is for fun and because I want to with some extra time, but it is always hard when I have to choose whether to bake or read. Audiobooks make that an easy decision!
- Long Drives/Commuting– I am one that has to make some long drives for work and within the past year or two have made quite a few super long drives especially by myself. The radio only works so long because it starts to play the same music over and over again and playlist are only so long. It is nice to switch it up and get some reading in while driving! For me I also get car sick if I try reading as a passenger, so audiobooks are perfect for that as well. This past summer I went to South Dakota with my parents, it was a 9 hour drive and I was stuck in the back seat the whole time. I was able to listen to a full audiobook the drive there and a whole other one on the drive back! I am sure if I had a lot of commuting for work or had to ride public transit I would be listening to even more audiobooks!
- Crafting/Blogging– Now as far as blogging goes it sometimes depends on the book I am listening to, the narrator and pace because trying to write and listen at the same time can get messy. But if I watch tv/movies while doing either blogging or crafting I sometimes find myself just staring at the television and not getting far with what I was working on.
- Getting Ready In The Morning– As previously mentioned the tv tends to distract me a lot. Especially in the morning when I am getting ready for work, I find myself stopping and watching the tv as I am walking around the apartment, getting dressed, making breakfast etc. I will end up sitting down on the couch and forgetting I need to go to work. I have found I have much more luck if I listen to an audiobook instead. If you haven’t noticed I do not do well with the quiet, especially since I live alone, I always have to have other noise going.
If you aren’t an audiobook user and looking to get into it I hope this provided some help!
I would love to hear from others on their thoughts on audiobooks, who their fav narrators are, what they do while listening to audiobooks!