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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.