I’ve always been more of a paper person than anything else; I like the feel of a book in my hands, flipping the pages, discovering the story one page at a time. I’ve tried e-books and podcasts, but neither have become a habit, and they are sometimes downright a pain to go through.
A couple of months ago, however, I went and tried an audiobook of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It was slow going at the start, but by the third night, I was lying in bed in the wee hours of the morning, tired beyond belief, and still listening to the damn audiobook. I had to admit, if I was reading a book, I’d have succumbed to sleep a couple of hours before as I would probably have started seeing double by then.
I’ve tried a couple more audiobooks since then: an abridged version of His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, Sabriel and Lirael by Garth Nix (I had to buy it–Tim Curry was narrating!), The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. Right now, I’m listening to The Great Hunt, also by Jordan, because I finished the first while recuperating in the Philippines and couldn’t find the second book there.
I also found that I was “in the moment” more often than when I was reading: it was easier to be swayed by the emotions in the book than usual. Admittedly, this owes a great deal to the talent of the narrator, but I think it’s also caused in part because of the different kind of concentration that I need to do to listen to an audiobook. Certainly, reading a book warrants your full attention: it’s not like watching TV where you can listen in on the background and only spare a couple glances at the screen, but still understand what’s going on. But this is a different kind of attention, one that I’m not used to, so much that it feels like a higher level of concentration, and thus, a higher level of involvement.
An audiobook convert?
Well, not quite. The availability of audiobooks doesn’t replace having the actual book for me. I still buy the books–I read Catching Fire and Mockingjay as books. I still read faster than I listen.
But audiobooks now have a place in my reading life: I’ve decided that audiobooks are good for first-time reading, usually allotted to the first book in a series I was interested in (such as The Hunger Games, His Majesty’s Dragon, and The Eye of the World).
My approach to it is likely tied to the fact that I get an audiobook a month from my subscription at Audible, so it “feels” like I have a free book a month that I can be a little more adventurous. Certainly, the audiobook doesn’t really take up bookshelf space, which is at a premium. *pets bookshelf*
Are you an audiobook fan?