Thursday Thoughts: Audiobooks

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Thursday Thoughts is a weekly meme hosted by Ahsley of Ok, Let’s Read! I highly recommend you go and check out other bloggers’ links because they always post interesting things. :)

This week’s topic is Audiobooks. Ashley’s prompt is pretty straightforward: Do I listen to audiobooks? Do I enjoy them? Are there certain genres that I prefer when listening to them?

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I listen to quite a lot of audiobooks. I’ve got my trusty old iPod (I’m not sure how much you audio know about iPod models but this Nano is almost 4 years old and I’m amazed it’s still functional) and I listen to them:

  • on the bus – public transport in Ljubljana is abysmal and it takes a while to get anywhere by bus
  • when cooking – I enjoy cooking very much and it’s even more enjoyable when combined with literature
  • when doing chores – I don’t enjoy these as much, but they are better with books
  • when my eyes feel to tired for reading – sometimes I fall asleep with my iPod on and have to go back and listen to half the chapter again because I’ve slept through it.

I *never* listen to audiobooks when driving – they’d distract me too much and I’d lose track of where I’m going / have an accident for sure.

I sometimes laugh out loud or nearly cry when listening to books I like, so I’ve gotten some pretty weird looks from fellow bus passengers and random pedestrians. I probably look slightly demented, staring into the distance with unfocused eyes, sniggering occasionally, but I comfort myself that I’ll never see these people again (hopefully).

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I listen to lots of different things in audiobook form. I find them particularly useful if I want to re-read a book but don’t have the time or will to read the hard copy. It’s usually just a matter of wanting to meet old friends again (I re-read a lot), but sometimes I want to refresh my memory when a new instalment of a series comes out and I’m not too sure about the plot of the previous parts or something.

There are some books that I can’t manage in audiobook form, though. I tried to listen to The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, for example, and it was just too complex for me because I haven’t read it yet in paper form. I think that books which require constant attention are better suited to “traditional” reading, at least at first, because it’s easy to get lost if you miss a bit of the narration becuase of a sudden noise in the background or something.

Much depends on how good the narrator is. I don’t care how brilliant the book is – I’ll drop it immediately if the narration is too affected or if I don’t like the narrator’s voice. I’ve reviewed the Cruel Beauty audiobook here on the blog and I mentioned this, as well.

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What are your thoughts on audiobooks? Do you listen to them? Do you have narrator/genre preferences?

I’d love to hear your opinions (and read your TT posts if you have them), so comment away! :)

  • Hey Kaja!
    This was a great post – I’m definitely going to participate in Thursday Thoughts as well!
    I’ve never listened to an Audiobook but I’ve been meaning to for ages… I just can’t decide which book to buy on audio and feel like I should at least read all the ones I’ve bought on my Kindle before I purchase an audiobook but hey, today might be the day that I finally buy one ;)
    Whenever I’m on the underground here I can’t read (I have to change lines and there’s always too many people etc), so I think an audio book would be so good for that. Plus, sometimes I get really bored listening to my music! Haha. And listening to an audiobook and cooking sounds like one of the most therapeutic things possible – I’m DEFINITELY going to try that (glass of wine, cooking, audio book… what more do I need in life?).
    I agree with you though that if I don’t like a narrator there’s no way I could listen, but some audiobooks have choices of different narrator’s, don’t they? I’m going to look into it and see what book will be my first audiobook! :D

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Kaja

      Hey, Anna, thanks for the cool reply :)
      Listening to audiobooks on public transportation definitely makes the journey more bearable, I can tell you that!
      I don’t know about different narrators for one book – maybe for the most popular ones and the classics?
      There are some lists of best narrators/best narrated books out there, maybe you could google them and see whoch ones come recommended. I definitely can’t listen to ALL books on audio, but some are great!
      You shoud definitely participate in Thursday Thoughts, Ashley gives such cool prompts!

  • I find them particularly useful if I want to re-read a book but don’t have the time or will to read the hard copy. It’s usually just a matter of wanting to meet old friends again (I re-read a lot), but sometimes I want to refresh my memory when a new instalment of a series comes out and I’m not too sure about the plot of the previous parts or something.

    Aaah, me too! Or just for wanting something familiar and comforting. When I had an operation and was really disorientated and panicked on waking up from the anaesthetic, my mother actually put on a radioplay of one of my favourite books, and that calmed me down because it was something I could concentrate on, and something familiar. I should’ve mentioned that in my post! It pretty much saved my life, because my blood oxygen was horribly low until my mother had that idea.

    I also really need to set up my phone or ipod to play audiobooks, like you. It’d be so useful on my trips to the clinic where I volunteer — I get travel sick on the bus if I read, so I usually have to sit there with no entertainment.

    • Kaja

      Oh, my, that operation sounds serious! But kudos to your mum for thinking of audiobooks.
      I get car/bus sick as well, so “portable” audiobooks work perfectly for me.

      • It wasn’t too serious — keyhole surgery to take out my gallbladder — but I get panic attacks, and anaesthesia is always disorientating, so I freaaaaaked out.

        • Kaja

          Still, it’s surgery :/ I haven’t had anaesthesia since I was 5 and they removed my tonsils, but I can imagine it’s hugely weird when you don’t have full control over your mind/body.

  • I definitely have to say, I do not think audiobooks are for me, I always get distracted when listening to them, or just do not take in at all what the narrator is saying. I do think they are a really good idea, but they just do not seem to work for me, which is a shame, because I wish I liked them more! Great post.

    • Kaja

      Yeah, I know how you feel – as I’ve said, there are definitely books I can’t handle in audio form! It’s an acquired taste, I guess :)
      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  • I love audiobooks! Since my commute is so long, they are just the best thing ever :) Lately, they’re the most common way I read books heh.

    • Kaja

      Hi, Julie, thanks for stopping by :)
      I love listening to audiobooks on the bus, they make me feel like I’m doing something useful while I’m just standing there :)

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