Monday, January 12, 2009

Audiobooks?

I just completed my 2nd book of 2009 -- yippee!! The first was Black, by Ted Dekker. Not my typical read, but I am glad that I persevered and finished it. The 2nd book completed is a small (111 pages) read entitled, The Little Guide to your Well-Read life, by Steve Leveen. This was definitely more my style. I love reading books about books - and this one was no exception. The subtitle to this book is "How to get more books in your life and more life from your books." How to find the time to read more books?? I was determined to discover this little secret so that I could apply it to my own life.

The greatest "secret" that I gleaned from the author is that audiobooks not only allow you to increase reading productivity (you can "read" while in traffic - washing dishes - doing laundry etc), but also help you to more fully appreciate the content. Professional readers (who are very often actors as well) add a dramatic element to the reading - as well as realistic dialect and accents - that silent reading does not afford.

I am intrigued by this statement - and I can truly understand the value. My problem, however, is that I am a VERY visual learner. I have tried audio books in the past (well, 1.5 books to be exact) and I seem to either focus so intently on the spoken word that I lose track of time - and location (drove right past my exit and had to turn around; makes me wonder what else I "tuned out" on that trip to work) OR....I unintentionally translate the spoken voice to written words in my mind so that I can "read" what the narrator is saying. Insane, I know --- and mentally exhausting.

How about you? Have you tried audio books? Do you like them? Does it take a while to acclimate to this style of "reading" (meaning I should give it more time than just 1.5 books) or are audio books for some but not for others? I spend about 20 minutes one way in the car each weekday. I am thinking that is 40 minutes a day x 5 days = 200 minutes (3+ hours!!) I could accomplish a lot of enjoyable reading in that time --- if I could just adjust to the format. Hmmm, I think I have just convinced myself to give it one more attempt. Now the question is....which audiobook should I try first?

14 comments:

Bibliolatrist said...

I've only "read" one book via audiobook (it was Naked by David Sedaris) and I enjoyed the experience. Nevertheless, I haven't tried more audiobooks -- there is simply something about turning the pages in your hand and being able to return to a point in the text and see what happened. If audiobooks came with a printed version, I'd probably be more eager to try them, but they don't. I guess if they did, that would be silly, but it's the lack of the printed page that keeps me from trying more audiobooks.

JoAnn said...

I love audiobooks for the car...and
I enjoyed Steve Leveen's book, too.
There have been a few audiobooks that I've wanted to savor the prose a bit longer and have ended up going to the library for the physical book (The Sea, John Banville) or the names have been unusual and I needed to see them in print (China Road, Rob Gifford or Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali). Right now, I'm listening to Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout and it's fabulous!

DesLily said...

i've only had the experience of audio books twice, at home i enjoyed them.

I think in cars they aren't the best since concentration can be lost listening to the book. The news says they are pushing for making it against the law to be on even hands free phones because of lack of concentration.. this seems similiar to me, the mind is somewhere other than driving and driving can be dangerous.

Beth F said...

I love audiobooks. I listen to many, many a year. I listen in the car, while making dinner, while doing dishes, when taking my daily walk, when in my car, when wandering around the grocery store. I never listen to abridged and I listen to only professional readers. Some of the free audiobooks are read by volunteers, and the narration can be deadly!

bermudaonion said...

I'm just starting to get into audio books and have been enjoying them. My problem is I spend very little time in the car, so I can't listen there. I've tried listening while I walk, but I live in a very chatty neighborhood and have to keep stopping to talk to neighbors.

Liz said...

I've stopped listening in the car, myself, since I find that I find of "miss" the drive if I'm listening and I know I'm distracted. But I LOVE them for housework. They keep me entertained and on track. I find I listen to "fluffier" stuff than I would spend time reading normally and my hands-down favorite books to listen to are the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall-Smith, narrated by Lisette LeCat. McCall-Smith writes several series and there are a couple I don't connect with at all, so if you're interested in checking these out, make sure you've got one from that series. Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are such likable characters and the stories are funny and good-hearted. Anyway, there are my two cents. I used to make fun of my mom for "reading" this way, but the karma comes around and now I love them!

pearlsoftruth said...

I have never heard an audiobook, never! I can't imagine it, but I should give it some thought... trouble is, where we live it is only 5 minutes to wherever we need to go, lol.

I suppose it would be good on an out-of-town trip.

Glad you enjoyed this book. I had started to read a Ted Dekker book once, and didn't get very far. I have devoured a few books by Frank Peretti. I couldn't put them down! But, haven't read any of his for a few years now.

Medical Librarian said...

I recently "found" your site through a comment you left on another book-related blog, and I'm so glad that I did because I'm enjoying reading your entries.

Since I do enjoy your blog so much, I'm giving you the Premio Dardos Award. You can read about it in my blog entry today at http://lifelongbookpassion.blogspot.com/2009/01/blog-award.html

Please don't feel like you have to post the info on your own blog or award this to anyone else, though; just know that I really enjoy reading your blog!

As an aside related to your comment on the other blog, I just wonder if you've ever considered getting a certificate in media science? Seems like a good transition if you do really want to become a librarian. I know there were a lot of teachers making that change when I went to library school. Just a thought. . . .

Kaye said...

Hi Molly, just wanted to say thanks for stopping by and becoming a follower. I have only listened to an audio book once while we were driving from FL to MA. It was good for me because my husband did most of the driving but not sure how much I would get when I am driving and the concentration thing is a little scary. There's nothing like the feel of a book in your hand. I don't have a kindle, but I can't imagine liking it as much as a physical book.

Audio Books said...

I've only "read" one book via audiobook (it was Naked by David Sedaris) and I enjoyed the experience.

Kim said...

Hi Molly--
Interesting thoughts! I have never listened to an audio book and really don't plan on it any time soon. For one, I don't know when I would do it--maybe while making dinner? Nah! My house is too chaotic during that time and I only have a 10 minute max drive to work each day and I am so used to music while I am driving-it calms me.

I guess I wouldn't feel like I was really *reading* the book. I love holding books in my hand and like someone else mentioned, actually turning the pages. There is something very gratifying in all that. For these very reasons I can't stand to read anything of great length on the computer. (plus there is something about the lighting and the screen that just bugs my eyes) At work I have to print out long emails to read and be able to concentrate on them.

Just call me old fashioned I guess!
*smiles*
Kim

Zoe said...

I'm useless with audiobooks! I can only ever listen to them if I'm lying in bed and can't possibly get distracted by anything - and I'm ridiculously picky about who's reading them. I also can't bear anything to be abridged, so for the most part audiobooks and I just don't get on :(

Thanks for dropping by my blog! I used to be an English teacher too, a few years back. If you'd like to correspond I'm more than happy to!

Lorna Barrett said...

I love audiobooks and have many on tape. When I had a tape player in the car, I used to listen to them all the time. It made doing errands a pleasure. But then I got a new car with a CD player. So far, I only have one book on CD. I'm hopelessly out of date when it comes to MP3 -- and I don't have an ipod... I think having my books "performed" would be a real kick. I hope it happens one day.

J. Kaye said...

I think you already know how I feel about them. ;) Totally addicted!

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