The Case for Audiobooks

SOLSC Day 25

“‘…I discovered the the marvel of audiobooks. Listening to them, I realized that the great writers are meant to be heard.'”

John Bowers as told to Julia Cameron in The Listening Path: The Creative Art of Attention

I’m a slow reader. I take a while to finish a book. I like puttering around the pages, observing the characters, new to me words, conventions, dialogue. When I was a kid, I wound up in remedial reading classes. I don’t know why. I could read. I read a ton. Just not fast like the other kids. I struggled with comprehension because of four answer choices none of them were ever the ones my mind discovered. I wound up with English degree and became and ELA teacher. Take that!

When I enrolled in a children’s and YA multicultural literature course for my library science degree, with its heavy reading list, I turned to audiobooks. The intensive five-week course required me to read at least twenty books. Sure, they’re children’s and YA novels, but finishing four per week was too much. I subscribed to Audible and borrowed what was available from the library.

What I didn’t know is that many authors read their own books. I’m hanging out with the authors and the characters they created. I took them on walks. I took them on road trips. I let them cook with me and we did laundry. I read books I wouldn’t normally pick up and discovered I gravitate toward nonfiction books. I’ve laughed and yelled and cried and rewound sections over and over. I take screenshots of the time for a certain section in case I borrow the book again. I’ll know where my favorite parts live. On my own audiobooks, I bookmark such places. Oh, and I annotate. Annotate!

Over the years, I’ve hung out with Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sherman Alexie, Shonda Rhimes, Malcolm Gladwell, and Matthew McConaughey. Alright, alright, alright. That was a fun read. I’ve read books during the school year instead of saving them for summer break. Yesterday I finished The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I’m not an easy crier, but she sure hit me with this one.

I prefer reading and holding a book. Audiobooks have become welcome alternatives to this book snob who once didn’t consider the other kind of reading world available through the human voice. It’s like having personal tour guide. The reader does the work so I can kick back and enjoy the ride. For books that become particularly meaningful, I make a mental note to get copy of the book so I can, ahem, annotate.

14 thoughts on “The Case for Audiobooks

  1. With the pandemic and long walks, I have also taken to audio books. I love them for all the reasons you outlined. I tend to listen to fiction, but now I think I need to give non-fiction and another go through the headphones. And, my favorite is YA!

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  2. How fun to better get to know you this way! I didn’t know these things about you, Alice. A slice of your life. A slice of what makes you so special. Thanks!

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      1. One downside to getting them from the library is the long wait for a new and popular title. There are plenty of books out there though. If I’m desperate to listen to one, I’ll pay for it, but I usually distract myself and choose something else.

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  3. I’m a slow reader, too, and I can’t imagine trying to read 4 books per week for multiple weeks! Kudos to you for getting the job done! I’ve dabbled a little in audiobooks, but maybe I should do more than just dabble. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂 ~JudyK

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  4. I love this line: ” I like puttering around the pages, observing the characters, new to me words, conventions, dialogue.” Your slice is such a wonderful invitation for others to join you in the audiobook love!

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  5. I have always loved audiobooks! I have my favorite narrators, and I look forward to walks and commutes when I can listen to stories. I, too, loved Matthew McConaughey’s audio memoir. 🙂 It’s especially fun to have the author read his/her/their own book! I’m reading the print version of Four Winds right now – oh my!!

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  6. I am a slow reader…but also strongly visual. My few attempts at audiobooks were a disaster. Without my eyes engaged, I was unfocused; half a chapter would go by and I wouldn’t remember a thing. And my commute is shorter than Don McLean’s “American Pie”…it will have to be print, for me.

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  7. Audiobooks are definitely very handy to have and if you like walking they’re a great companion, but of course a book is a book. I like your description of how you read as a child and how you have used audio books for your course. A great slice.

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