Saturday, October 6, 2018

Why I Listen to Audiobooks

Many of my readers are also listeners, who greatly enjoy audiobooks.  Although I do like to listen to audiobooks as well, I don't listen to as many as some of my readers and fellow book bloggers.  When I do listen to them, I mostly listen to brief segments in my car during my short commutes around town.  My guest today, Melissa Chan, owner of  Literary Book Gifts, is an avid listener, and she eloquently describes why she listens to audiobooks in this exclusive guest post. 

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Why I Listen to Audiobooks: A Guest Post by Melissa Chan

It is no secret. I love listening to audiobooks. If you see me with headphones on, I'm probably not listening to music, but in some faraway land listening to a story.  From a very young age I discovered a love for audiobooks and have not stopped since.  From Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, to Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar,  I've experienced some of my favorite novels not by reading or watching them on the screen, but through sound, streaming through my headphones directly into my ears.

There are many benefits to listening, over reading paperbacks, hardcovers, or eBooks.  For one I sometimes do chores such as cooking or gardening.  And I've often fallen asleep to the calming tones of my favorite narrator.  I'll have to rewind a few chapters sometimes, but there really is no other way to read in the dark.  On summer days, I bike through parks, safely of course, all the while in the middle of a story.  I even have fond memories of listening to books during family road trips.  While driving through windy canyon roads in and out of national parks, we were also on adventures with Bilbo Baggins, as J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit came through the dashboard speakers of the minivan.

Audio recordings of books have come a long way since then.  From difficult to manage cassettes, to unfortunately scratched CDs, the preferred listening method of books is now as digital files directly on one's smartphone.  I finally decided to to upgrade my beloved click and spin wheel iPod to a smartphone for the library apps that let you use your library card to check out and stream audiobooks.  Technology has come a long way.

I love audiobooks for not only the story, but often the narrator. A bad narrator can make an amazing novel unreadable, but an amazing narrator can't make a bad novel any better.  Not every narrator is fit for every story.  And I appreciate and value the work of all voice narrators.  I believe, like many mediums, that voice narration is an art.  One of my favorite narrators is Christopher Hurt, who has read to me so many of my favorite books including Walker Percy's The Moviegoer.

Is audio book listening the same as reading?  I certainly have had my fair share of criticisms on the subject.  I don't believe one is superior to the other.  However, I would like to make a note that the sharing of stories, whether over the campfire or the dinner table existed long before the written word. I think it really all comes down to the quality of what you are listening to.

But the main reason I listen to audiobooks is because I love doing so.  

Since I love audiobooks so much, I did not want audiobook readers to be without a unique design for themselves. The headphone design (shown below) is vintage but also retro in style.  It is perfect for anyone who enjoys audiobooks, and it is for that reason that it is one of my favorite designs in the collection.

Tote bag
Women's and Men's T-shirts

Do you listen to audiobooks? Share your favorites below!

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Melissa, thank you for your wonderful guest post, which has inspired me to choose a new audiobook for my car rides.  I love the tote bag. It would be an adorable way to carry around audiobooks and related equipment--or really anything else!  The T-shirt is cute, and is available in several colors, for women and men.  Melissa is offering my readers a generous 20% discount on all items from Literary Book Gifts with the promo code: SUKOSNOTEBOOK20.  On a different note, I think that it would be fun to narrate audiobooks.  I'm sure audiobook narration is a lot of work (right, Mr. Hurt?), but it also seems like it would be enjoyable to act out a book for others to listen to (thinks the dormant voice actor in me). 


Many thanks for reading! Please leave a comment and share your thoughts about audiobooks.

16 comments:

  1. I tried listening to audiobooks in 2014 and after 7 books I gave up, they just didn't appeal to me like print did. Then in January of 2017 I tried again and was hooked. This year out of the 36 books I've finished, 31 have been audio.

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    1. Vicki, I've noticed that more of your reviews are for audiobooks. 31 audiobooks is quite a lot! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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  2. I loved listening to audio books when I was still working. I would listen during my commute to work. Now that I'm not working, which I hope is temporary, I only read ebooks.

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  3. Audio books sure do make car trips go by faster but I am picky about narrators.

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  4. I also love audiobooks. I actually think thaf my reading comprehension is better for certain types of novels. I tend to mostly listen to older novels that are now in the public domain. This way I have a digital written copy of the book available in case I want to check it out.

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  5. Nice post.

    I do listen to audio books, but read more than listen.

    They are great for car rides, exercising, working around the house, and while cooking. :)

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  6. Lovely post! I'm a big fan of audio books: on walks, before bed, road trips etc. I agree with the choice of the narrator is so important. There have been many cases when I could't continue reading because of the audio.

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  7. Hi Suko...what a great guest post from Melissa! You know I'm a huge audio book fan...I get a ton done while listening to audio books, from laundry to cleaning my house to mundane tasks like paying bills! I also love to listen to books while exercising - I am not such a big music fan, so I definitely always have a book on the go while out walking! And of course, audio books are a must while in the car :)

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  8. I used to listen to audiobooks and I need to get back into doing so. They were easy to rent from my local library and to upload onto the app on my e-reader and my phone.
    she is right, it's nice to listen while doing other things like doing chores around the house, or for myself, I'd crochet while listening.
    Great post and nice literary bookish gifts too!
    Enjoy your week Susan :)

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  9. I have never listened to an audio book, I think someone like Morgan Freeman could tempt me though, I LOVE his voice xxx

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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  10. Their are those who enjoy printed books, those who enjoy digital, those who enjoy audio and even those who enjoy all three. Each to their own, I must admit to not liking audio books as funnily enough they tend to send me to sleep. at first I thought it might be the book itself, then I considered it might be the narrator but, having tried one of my all-time favourite reads read by someone I knew and liked as an actor and then by someone I didn't know, I came to the conclusion that it was the format itself (the audio book) that I didn't enjoy.

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  11. It's so interesting to read your comments about audiobooks, and to sort through your different ideas about them. Thank you for participating in this online discussion about them.

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  12. I love listening to Short Stories on my IPad. Thanks for this great post.

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  13. I love audiobooks! I'll admit, I was at first disdainful of them, but then about ten years ago my friend Laura Hivala got me to try them out and I was hooked. We also like to listen to them as a family on trips as well. They certainly make my work commute much more exciting!

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  14. I have listened to a few audiobooks and have always enjoyed them. I remember my first audio casettes of Wuthering Heights and absolutely fell in love with the story. I agree the narrator would make a huge difference to how good the audio is.

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  15. Listening while driving my car seems to be the only way that I can listen to books. Or, perhaps while using my colored pencils. But, if I am simply in my living room, I tend to fall asleep. I wish I was a better listener than I am; I have come to rely too heavily on my visual learning rather than auditory.

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