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On Reading Audiobooks

/ 3 min read

I haven’t cracked the spine of an actual book in months and months, but I’ve “read” many books in the mean time.

Well, that’s not actually true. I have read a ton of books, but the only physical books that I’ve read have been non-fiction books. Instead of reading physical novels, I’ve “read” many novels as audiobooks.

I spend a lot of time in my car, and it’s great to listen to audio books while I’m driving. Sometimes I get an hour at a time, but maybe it is only ten minutes. Either way, I’m turning on whatever book I’m listening to. I find that novels lend themselves to listening better than non-fiction books do.

Here are some thoughts that I have about audiobooks:

  • As noted, I “read” (I keep using the quotes because do you actually read an audiobook?”) only novels as audiobooks. I almost always have a non-fiction, physical book going as well.

  • I find that I enjoy a book more when it is read to me. Maybe it hearkens back to my mom, who read to me tirelessly when I was a kid, but the whole experience is just more enjoyable..

  • Who and how the book is narrated is critical. Most of the narrators are good, and some are really good. For instance, the lovely and talented Marin Ireland narrates the Beartown series, and she is brilliant. The books are amazing, but her performance enhances the experience beyond the mere reading of the books.

  • Sometimes the narrator choice is cool. Titus Welliver played Harry Bosch in the TV series for Michael Connelly’s books, and he narrates the audiobooks. I like that.

  • Some books have multiple narrators, which is kind of cool. Often, a book will have different sections, told from differing points of view, and they will choose narrators based on sex and accent.

  • I’m surprised that they don’t dramatize the book more — having a narrator to read the exposition, and different characters do the voices for different people in the book, kind of like a radio show. I suspect that this will happen.
  • Occasionally, I’ll pick a book, and the narrator will be so unappealing that I’ll stop reading and move on.
  • I still occasionally will refer to “books on tape” instead of saying “audiobooks”. I’m old.
  • I get most of my audiobooks from the library via the Libby app. Free is my favorite price. I also use Google Rewards to earn credit to buy books from Google Play Books.
  • Sometimes one the of the things I don’t like is the reader’s effort to do different voices. A good reader does it really well, and it is hardly noticable. But sometimes — and it’s often a man doing female voices — it can be cringeworthy. I’ve stopped listening to a book because of it.

In the end, I have “read” way more books than I otherwise would have as a result of the rise of audiobooks. This makes me happy.