Listening Woes Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Audiobooks

Five years ago, I had my first real exposure to an audiobook.

I was on a 6.5 hour ride from the main summer camp I worked at the time to the smaller sister camp in northern California/almost Oregon that two of my coworkers and I were going to work at for two weeks. Instead of music, my coworker who was driving decided to put on an audiobook version of The Chronicles of Narnia.

I don’t know whether it was the scenery, my sleepiness from waking up early and packing to leave after sub-counseling eight kids the day before, or the company in the car, but I could not listen to it. Even though we had started with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I had read before, I couldn’t focus on it. I decided that probably meant that audiobooks were not for me.

However, here I am five years later, with an Audible account and anxiously waiting for my next credit so I can listen to another audiobook.

It started with being read Harry Potter aloud in the car to me while I was driving. Having something else to do while I listened helped me to focus. I had also begun listening to podcasts from Book Riot, and was intrigued at how much I enjoyed listening to them, considering I’ve never been one to listen to radio shows. Finally, Book Riot offers a free credit through Audible to start an account. It couldn’t hurt to try it out.

I had a hard time deciding what book to listen to first, and decided on Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Within two days of driving to work while giggling at Beth and Jennifer, I was pretty positive I was hooked. When I purchased The Martian by Andy Weir a few weeks later to listen to while driving to my parents’ for the weekend, I knew it was all over.

Here’s the thing about audiobooks. You don’t have to look at it. I know that’s fairly obvious, but I can’t believe how long it took me to actually get that, and there are so many things I can get done while listening to an audiobook. I washed dishes, folded and hung laundry, organized my closet, drove to and from work, set up a day bed in my living room, and even played video games while listening to a book. It was invigorating how freeing it was to not be chained to my chair, bed, or even floor with book in hand instead of up doing other things while still getting the stories I crave into my headspace. It’s so freeing that I’ve actually been having a hard time sitting down with a print book – but that’s an entirely different story.

I’ve also found that listening to a book on audio gives me a little more time to envision what’s going on, the characters and their thoughts, and oddly, wonder how things are spelled(That last one gets me running to research that as soon as I finish the book).

I’m very excited that I started listening to audiobooks, and I can’t believe I deprived myself until now. Do you listen to audiobooks? What made you try them?

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4 thoughts on “Listening Woes Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Audiobooks

  1. I can’t do it. Yeah, you can do all sorts of stuff while listening to an audiobook… but for me, that just means I’m not focusing on the audiobook. The thing that really drove home the fact that audiobooks aren’t for me was when it came up in conversation that I don’t read just to find out what happens, I read so I can lose myself in the story. I wasn’t even talking about audiobooks at the time, but I thought about it later and I made the connection… that just can’t happen if I’m listening while doing other things.

    • I think with this discovery I’ve learned that I’m more of an auditory learner than I realized – I would be one of those people enthralled in radio shows when they were popular. I should have known, considering listening to lectures were as effective if not more than reading it for myself. I’ve become a little addicted to audiobooks, because they lend themselves to more time to do it than print or ebooks do now. But they aren’t for everyone, that’s true. I have to be doing something mindless that I don’t have to focus on mentally.

      • The only mindless activity I do regularly is exercise, and I’d really rather listen to music than a book. I could see giving audiobooks more of a chance if I ever drove for longer than 10 minutes.

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