Let’s get you started on Audiobooks ft. Recommendations

 

Audiobooks

Hello friends!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I was fervently against audiobooks, not for everyone mind you, I just could not get into them and confidently said that they weren’t for me. But earlier this year, in March, I had started a new rotation with a long ass drive to and from the hospital I was assigned to, and I had to kill time so I decided to give them another try. It took one audiobook, the right one, to have me hooked, and now I can’t stop.
Now if you’ve read the title and are here to patronize me about audiobooks not being real reading, just click out…not worth it, friend, just keep on browsing. This is ultimately an argument I’m going to win because:

  1. Your rethoric is nasty and hella pretentious, not all of us have the time, the Energy or the attention span to physically read 20 books a month, and with the amount of stories out in the world that I want to discover, I won’t make a fuss about the way I consume and experience them.
  2. It’s also incredibly ableist, there are a lot of health conditions out there that prevent people from physically reading books and you can’t tell them they’re not *real* readers just because their reading means and experiences are different from yours.
  3. Verbal storytelling is the first and original form of story telling, that’s how stories were passed down from generation to generation for centuries upon centuries. Do you want your ancesters to curse you? No. I thought so.

Anyway, now that my little rant is out of the way let’s get into the actual post:

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You can read whenever, wherever

So you all know by now that I’m a medstudent, which means that between work, studying and all other real life things, blogging and everything related to it, I only have a very limited amount of time to dedicate to actually sitting down and reading. I used to average 6 books a month, 8 if I’m having an incredibly good reading month. But now, I average 12 to 13, that’s…double the stories I get to enjoy in the same amount of time.

I listen to audiobooks while driving everywhere, work, school, the gym, to run errands, etc… and since I do it at x2 speed, I can get through an audiobook and a half or two in a week, depending on the length. I also listen while cooking, working out, cleaning…you got the picture. I literally listen at every chance I get. Every task that doesn’t need my ears is used to listen to audiobooks as well. They’re a multi-tasker’s best friend.

It’s an entirely different experience

Here’s the thing. I’ve been enjoying fictional stories for as long as I can remember and doing so in verbal form is the way I opened my eyes to. When I was a kid, my mom used to read to me before bed every night, without fail, so in a way, audiobooks are a throwback to my childhood. Plus, listening to a story versus reading it is completely different, especially when you find a book with an incredible narrator *cough* Elizabeth Acevedo *cough*, it can be a magical experience. The tone and voice can transport you entirely into the story, and you catch up on things you can miss while reading a book physically and vice versa. This is one reasons I want to listen to all my favourite books. I know my experience will be different, and it’ll be a way of reading them for the first time all over again.

It’ll help your English 

Okay so this might be a little more specific to non-native English speakers, but if you’re like me, you’ve learned a huge chunk of your english vocabulary through reading so umm… the pronunciation might be totally off which is a thing I only realized when I started listening to audiobooks -oops, I used to say a lot of words, that might seem obvious to native speakers, wrong, because they’re not really words used in dialogue, they’re not present in shows and movies so I’d never heard them before until audiobooks happened. So, indirectly, they have been really helpful in improving my spoken english.

You can enjoy stories with loved ones

If you have people around you who like reading as much as you do, audiobooks are the perfect way for you to read together, and flail about books in real time. It can also be a great bonding experience. And on the contrary, if you have a sibling, parent, friend, significant other who is reluctant and doesn’t enjoy reading, audiobooks are a sneaky way to get them hooked on storytelling, at the very least, if it doesn’t make them grab books and physically read them, It’ll make them come back for more audiobooks, and since we’ve established that’s also reading, it’s a win win situation.

They’re a good way of mixing things up

To me, audiobooks are the perfect way to avoid the dreaded slump, because when you’re mixing formats in addition to genres, there are a lot less chances for you to burn yourself out on reading. And this is a very personal one but when I started listening to audiobooks, I made it a rule that I won’t be reviewing them, they’re the stories I consume solely for enjoyment without paying attention to technicalities and I try my best to turn my critical brain off, which…isn’t too hard since I’m usually doing something else that’s taking up the logical part of my brain.

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Audible

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Audible is the most obvious one and probably the most used as well. But I would not personally recommend it since 1/ I don’t use it and have never tried it, and 2/ Audiobooks on there can get very pricey and most of us don’t have the money Audible requires to listen to audiobooks on a regular basis. I know they also have a credits system but I like I said, I haven’t tried for myself so I can’t tell you much about it.

Libby and Overdrive

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Okay so this is a library based services, Overdrive is the website while Libby is the phone app. You actually need a Library card that uses either or both platforms to have access to said library’s collection of audiobooks. If you do, they’re quite simple to use, they work exactly like a library. If your library has the book available then you can borrow it right away and start listening to it in app, within a limit of 21 days after which the Audiobook will automatically be returned (unless you renew your loan). If they have the book, but it’s not available then you have to put it on hold and you get it when your turn comes. And of course, no additional fees to download the app nor to get access to your library’s audiobooks collection.

Scribd and Storytel

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These are both subscription services that for a monthly fee of 8.99$ and 9.99$ respectively, give you unlimited access to their extensive audiobooks and ebooks collections.

I used to have a Scribd membership when I first started listening to audiobooks and it was amazing, I got a month long free trial and could listen on both the website and app. They have an up to date collection to which they’re always adding, new releases and backlists alike. Now, I’ve cancelled my membership for financial reasons a while back but when I wanted to renew it I started seeing an increase of complaints where the unlimited wasn’t…so unlimited anymore. People would listen to one or two audiobooks and then they’d stop having access entirely until the next month, and they only got non-answers when inquiring about it to the Scribd team. So if you’re considering this one, I’d advise asking around and seeing if the issue is fixed before investing in a membership.

Storytel on the other hand gives you a two weeks free trial after which they start charging you, and you can only listen on their app, the website is only to subscribe as well as browse their collection. Their collections is slightly less impressive than that of Scribd but it’s really good and up to date with (most) new releases as well. I have a few friends who use it and they’re very satisfied with their experience.

There are countless other apps you can listen on that you can find with a quick google search, including Kobo, Kindle, Google Play Books, etc… but for the sake of not making this post longer than it already is I’m stopping here.

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is the first one I’ve ever read and it’s still my favourite one. Seriously. The book is incredible but the Audiobook is on a a whole new level of brilliant. And in my opinion if you’re looking for a place to start, this one is a perfect first Audiobook. It’s written in verse, so it’s short, and the story is gripping, raw anf beautiful, it’s also narrated by the author, who also happens to be my favourite narrator. And that adds to the overall experience. Pride by Ibi Zoboi is another one narrated by her. I only finished it yesterday and I loved it so much. It’s a Pride and Prejudice retelling with both Black MCs, and not only is the story great, but Elizabeth’s voice and narration style brings the story to life. I don’t think anyone else would’ve been able to do it justice.

The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde is one I’ve been anticipating since I read her Queens of Geek, and I gotta say, it did not disappoint. It’s wondefully queer and deals with some heavy topics (like alcoholism and emotional abuse in different types of relationships) while managing to be light hearted and funny. Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour is one I think I enjoyed more *because* I llistened to the audiobook, the narrator’s voice is so soothing and she manages to convey the story’s magical vibe.

 

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins is an multigenerational story that tells the story of two sisters, their mom and their kids and it was such an emotional amazing read, with a different narrator for each of the main characters and who managed to capture their essence perfectly. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is…hard to explain, it’s such a messy story but in the best and I recommend going into it without knowing much, all I’m going to say is that the audiobook is wonderful.

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That’s it until next time!

Do you read Audiobooks? What’s your favourite thing about them?

What are some of your favourite Audiobooks?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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19 thoughts on “Let’s get you started on Audiobooks ft. Recommendations

  1. I love audiobooks! I also find them incredibly helpful when venturing out of my comfort zone. Trying new genres etc. it’s easier for me to keep going and get invested when it’s an audiobook. And some narrators are just brilliant!
    My fav audiobook so far is A Monster Calls. Jason Isaacs really captures the emotions and it was just .. amazing!

    Evelyn Hugo is also on my tbr. I’ll probably listen to it when I’m driving home for the holidays (11h!)

    And I absolutely agree with your mini rant. I don’t understand why people even care how other people consume their books?? Like don’t listen to audiobooks if you don’t like to, totally fair, but criticizing others for it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I listened to The Poet X a couple months ago and honestly have not stopped thinking about it, it was incredible!! I’ve been recommending it to everyone. Another great audiobook I read was Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. It’s a similar to The Poet X in the sense that it’s also told in verse and narrated by the author (who is fantastic!!) and it’s also only around 4 hours long. Brown Girl Dreaming is a middle-grade memoir though!

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  3. I definitely agree – audiobooks are a fantastic way to get a lot more reading done. I always used to walk around with my headphones in, listening to music, but now it’s always an audiobook that I’m listening to!

    A recent favourite of mine is The Outsider by Stephen King; the narrator is SO important in any audiobook – if you don’t like their voice or the way they read, you can be put off an entire series. The gravelly, spooky voice in this audiobook perfectly matched up to the book and made it truly haunting – a match made in audiobook heaven.

    Also – the Harry Potter series read by Stephen Fry is absolutely incredible. Whether you’re new to the series, or have already read the books five times, you cannot go wrong with these audiobooks – they really bring something new to the books.

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  4. Thank you so much for this very useful post! I’ve been looking to get into audiobooks, I’m a little nervous not to be able to get into them or really miss chunks of the story for not being too attentive… I don’t know haha. Anyway I’ll have to try, thank you for the recommendations! 😀

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  5. Ah, I love this post! I’m an avid audiobook listener, because I’m allowed to have headphones at work! Also, when I have a migraine but I don’t want to give up and go to sleep, I just turn on my book & lay in the dark!

    A couple of audiobooks that I REALLY enjoy are The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue & Pet Sematary!

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  6. This is such a wonderful post! I used to think audiobooks weren’t for me and now I’m hooked too. It’s amazing how many more books you can get through in a month with them, especially when speeding them up. It’s a game changer! I’ll definitley try some of the ones you mentioned, a good narrator is so important. Thanks for the recommendations! 😊

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  7. I love audiobooks so much!! They’ve been saving my life during this eternal reading slump I’m in. And Elizabeth Acevedo!!! She’s so amazing, I love listening to her narrations!

    (also……….is that a swedish screen shot of storytel I peek 👀👀👀👀 lol)

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  8. Audiobooks aren’t really my thing but we still listen to quite a few around here for many of the reasons you listed. They also can be helpful for English learners or kids who read along with the book.

    I do have one pet peeve though when it comes to audiobooks and book blogging – if a review is based on listening to the audiobook, I would really like to know that in the review. The reason is based on your second why point – it’s an entirely different experience. In particular the narrator and the formatting can make a huge difference, just like how some books either do or don’t translate well to different ebook formats. And some popular books can have multiple audio versions so if the audiobook was great, I’d like to know which version to request.

    Way back when I was also a Scribd user but they have definitely alienated their customer base, in particular putting open copyright materials behind a paywall with no notice to the content creators. Having had horrible experiences with their customer support, I won’t be giving them another chance. Do you ever use some of the free audiobook sites like LibriVox? Of course those mostly have older books, but since you mentioned cost as a consideration, that might be worth checking out.

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  9. I’m currently listening to Sadie on audio, and wow, it’s good. But I was road tripping and it became too intense and I had to switch to some Ed Sheeran to calm down. Also, I knew about the trigger warnings, but as a sexual assault survivor, hearing it out loud and talked about from Sadie’s perspective was just too much. I’ll definitely keep listening, just not when I’m already being stressed by driving around! At one point my car actually did break down, and I was like, okay this it, TOO stressful! (random stranger helped fix my car, so that was good!)

    I also LOVE gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue on audio! It’s hilarious already, and the narration is PERFECT!

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  10. I’m a HUGE audiobook advocate. 😀 I’m a primary Audible user because it was my first access point to them, but I’ve been branching out. Scribd has been okay for me so far. I noticed a couple of restrictions toward the end of my free trial, but it was easy enough to navigate them so it may be around me for a few more months. I’m not sure if it’s available outside of the US, but have you heard of Libro.fm? It’s similar to Audible in most respects, but they work with indie bookstores and some of their profits go directly to your chosen (participating) store. It’s real neat and I’m looking more into it since the price for credits and discounts on extra books is basically what I’m spending on Audible anyway, so why not go the indie route?

    I think my absolute favorite audiobook is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Kate Burton is a good narrator. Jim Dale is another, whether he’s doing the Harry Potter books or The Night Circus.

    I’m listening to Pride now and I’m sorry to say I didn’t realize that was Elizabeth reading! 😮 How cool. You’ve got a lot of good choices on your tbr, a lot of which are also on mine.

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  13. I feel like I’ve not found something I can listen to without accidentally tuning out. I do that with music and with podcasts, and even videos and that’s why I don’t know if audiobooks are for me, but you are definitely making me want to try again because honestly it’d make driving around so much more fun (and also possibly get my toddler even more hooked to stories than she is).

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  15. Loved this post Fadwa! I discovered audiobooks back in 2016 and have been addicted ever since. I listen to about 30-40 audiobooks a year in addition to my regular reading! It has been a game changer.

    I adored The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo via audiobook! It was absolutely gorgeous.

    Have you ever read a Neil Gaiman book? He narrates all of his books himself and is my FAVORITE audiobook narrator. Give one a try, trust me on this!

    I listened to Next Year in Havana via audiobook and it was lovely!

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