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Falling in Love with Audiobooks, One Run at a Time

2013 April 19
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by Flickr user ToddMorris

by Flickr user ToddMorris

I love books. I love everything about books. One of my favorite things growing up was the sound of a library book when you brought it home and opened it. There was nothing else like that crinkling of the book as a new story began. But for as much as I loved reading, I never once as a young adult thought much about audiobooks. I liked to read books, not listen to someone else reading me the books. I liked the solitary activity of it all. Maybe it was residual flashbacks to listening to Shakespeare on tape in high school that caused this skepticism of audiobooks; I’m not sure. But I did start to think of audiobooks as my literary final frontier.

Then one day, a library school professor required me to listen to a young adult audiobook for class. I thought I could outsmart the system by choosing the shortest one I could find, because, yes, even in graduate school you still try to create shortcuts when someone makes you do something you don’t want to do. Joke was on me though because I ended up loving the assignment. It was such a busy time in my life that it was amazing how much fun I was having reading while doing something else at the same time. For the extreme multitasker that I am, this was quite the discovery.

So with that said, if you love young adult novels and multitasking as much as I do, then I’m going to implore you to try out this final frontier of mine with me. It turns out going on these book adventures with friends is fun. And it is always an adventure because I can’t seem to listen to an audiobook while sitting on my couch or at the beach like with a normal book. I need to be doing something with my audiobook, like driving or running. Maybe I’m trying to keep my audiobook friends from being bored. Who knows? But while my other books are at home on the couch, my audiobooks go out on the town with me.

So for you audiobook neophytes like me out there, here are some of my favorites that I’ve discovered in the past year and where on the town they have joined me.

Will Grayson Will GraysonAudiobook: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Location: Work

Who better to get you through data entry then John Green and David Levithan? This one did reqiure a measure of self-control, though, because otherwise my work neighbors might have noticed me laughing out loud to this hilarious tale of two high school students with the same name. This audiobook could give any monotonous activity some flare.

 

Matched by Ally CondieAudiobook: Matched by Ally Condie

Location: My neighborhood and gym while training for a 10-mile race

This is the first in Condie’s series about a girl named Cassia in a dystopian future where everyone in society is matched with their future life partner. The reader to me just sounds like a high school girl struggling with her burning desire to rebel against society and the confusion of which guy is the right guy. The story also started to build right as my daily runs were getting longer. It definitely helped me push through to the end every day.

 

this lullaby sarah dessenAudiobook: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Location: The car

I mean, seriously, who better to enjoy a girls-only road trip with than Sarah Dessen?! Enough said.

These are just the first few titles that made me fall in love with audiobooks and made many activities more fun by carrying me into their stories with them. How about you, readers? What audiobooks first caught your attention? Do you have a favorite time when you like to listen to them, too?

– Katie Shanahan, currently reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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9 Responses
  1. Rebecca Oxley permalink
    April 20, 2013

    I can totally relate to this. That audiobook assignment was the first time I was ever “forced” to self-select an audiobook. I picked “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” because so many people in our class had such high praise for it, and even though an Overdrive fail forced me to carry my laptop around the house I was really surprised by how much I liked the experience. I had never thought about how the format could offer a completely different, or even enhanced, experience versus reading print. When I finally read Harry Potter I listened to the Jim Dale audiobooks – now I can’t imagine reading them any other way. Also, as adults how often do we get the pleasure of being read to, something we enjoyed so much as children? Great article, Katie! Looking forward to more recommendations from you!

  2. Lizzy permalink
    April 20, 2013

    You are so right, Rebecca. Jim Dale is the master.

    I would recommend listening to Scorpio Races. To date, it is my favorite audiobook.

  3. April 21, 2013

    I just got a new job an hour from my house so I jumped back into the audiobook commute. I listened to the Diviners which won an audio award for the YALSA challenge, and it was fantastic! I’m sure that it couldn’t have been better to read the physical book because the reader just added so much to the experience. It did take forever to listen to, but it made driving to my first two weeks of work so much more fun!

    • Katie Shanahan permalink
      April 23, 2013

      It does make driving so much more fun! It’s funny because when I started listening to audiobooks the running time was always intimidating. I’m trying really hard not to let it scare me off anymore. I had to keep reminding myself it’s not like a movie where you are supposed to get through the whole thing in one sitting. It also just makes whatever you are doing (driving, running) that much more fun everytime you come back to it. I would almost look forward to my longer runs because it meant more time with my book. Now that is an accomplishment!

  4. Alison permalink
    April 25, 2013

    Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – read by Libba Bray – is TOTALLY wonderful.

    I mostly listen to audiobooks when I knit or do cross stitch.

  5. Geraldine permalink
    April 25, 2013

    Even though I too am a huge audiobook fan, listening in the car is the only way for me. At home or at work, distractions rule. Driving around the block to finish a riveting section is a common practice of mine.
    Jim Dale is THE narrator to whom all others are compared. But I have found a couple in his club: Sisi Aisha Johnson for “One Crazy Summer”; Bahni Turpin for “The True Meaning of Smekday” and Mandy Williams for “Seraphina”.

  6. jessica goodman permalink
    April 25, 2013

    Love this!
    Highly recommend the Scott Westerfeld Leviathan, Behemoth & Goliath trilogy performed by Alan Cumming. Fabulous voice acting and interesting steampunk story with great female lead character.
    Currently enjoying the Beautiful Creatures books on audio.
    YA lit on audio is the best for commuting, gym, and running!

  7. Kyra Kreinbrook permalink
    April 28, 2013

    I can definitely relate. When I was in my young adult lit. class, many moons ago, I listened to “A Year Down Yonder” by Richard Peck. At first I found the voice of the reader to be annoying, but I grew to love her as I became better acquainted with her character. Interestingly enough, those of us who listened to the book enjoyed it and those who read a paper copy did not. I guess the lesson learned is. “Never judge a book by its cover, or its reader!”

    Thanks for sharing, Katie!

  8. Christie permalink
    April 30, 2013

    I love all the Jim Dale love. Never could get into audiobooks until I listened to the Harry Potter series and I was hooked. I now always have an audiobook in my car. I listen to both YA and adult books. My favorite YA listens (other than Harry Potter) have been Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne and Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I have also found it’s a great way to take in the classics. Those of you who love Jim Dale should definitely check out his recordings of Around the World in 80 days and Peter Pan, both of which have great YA potential. I also recently listened to a full cast recording of Dracula which was just awesome!

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