I wish I could be reading constantly. I really don’t think I’m the only one that feels this way. Audiobooks have helped me out with this a lot. Three years ago, I associated audiobooks with being forced to listen to a boring biography of Walt Disney on a road trip that took about 200 hours, not to mention about 200 cassette tapes. But, when I started grad school I drove forty-five minutes one way for school and thirty-five minutes the other way for work, and it was putting a serious dent in my reading time. When I rediscovered audiobooks, my number of books read per year easily doubled and I was hooked. Now I will talk about audiobooks with anyone who will listen (pun intended). If audiobooks strike fear in your heart too, keep reading, and you might want to give them another chance.
- Fiction: Audiobooks are outdated and expensive.
Fact: Audiobooks are up and coming and affordable (or free!)While it is true that purchasing audiobooks on CD can still set you back around fifty dollars, digital audiobook downloads usually cost about the same as a digital music CD download. And of course, most libraries circulate audiobooks on CD and for downloading straight to your smartphone for free.
- Fiction: You do not have time for audiobooks.
Fact: You wouldn’t believe the time you have for audiobooks!Very rarely do I sit down on my couch, crank up the audiobook, and stare into space awkwardly (maybe if I’m really sleepy). Usually I listen to my audiobook when I’m driving, cleaning, cooking, knitting, crafting, standing in line, etc. etc. If you are a really avid reader, I think it’s safe to say that you have been cleaning your bathroom and wishing you could be reading instead. Or maybe you love crafting but find that your crafting hobby is seriously cutting into your reading time. Perhaps your local librarian has given you a talking-to about not taking new hardbacks into the bubble bath with you. Just download the book on your phone, and set it atop the toilet!
- Fiction: Audiobooks are ONLY books.
Fact: Audiobooks have special features!Kind of like DVDs, some audiobooks come with extras that you can’t find in the print book. For example, at the end of the audio version of Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty, the author gives an interview about the process of writing her other novel, Beauty Queens. Maggie Stiefvater composes and performs music to pair with her audiobooks. Sometimes a song might feature prominently in book. For example, in Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures, a song called â€œSixteen Moonsâ€ mysteriously appears on the main character’s iPod. Audiobook listeners hear the song instead of just reading it. Actually hearing the haunting music makes the story all the more intriguing.
- Fiction: Audiobooks will come between you and the characters.
Fact: A good narrator will bring you closer to the characters.Sometimes, as readers, we feel possessive of the way we imagine characters. While it is true that a bad audio narrator may keep you from liking a character, a good audio narrator can show you their essence. Good narrators who have made a real effort to understand their character, to consider their past and their current circumstances, and, most importantly to empathize with their joys and sorrows can make a character come to life. This can make you feel as if the character is speaking directly to you as a confidante, as if you are important enough to hear all their secrets. If you don’t believe me listen to Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra read the title roles in Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park (2014 Odyssey Honor).
- Fiction: Audiobooks are not “real reading.”
Fact: â€œReal readingâ€ lies in the eyes and ears of the reader.It is 2014. Readers are exceedingly fortunate to have access to various formats. Just as there are different learning styles, there are also different reading styles. Those that respect the right to read should also respect the right to read what and how the reader chooses.
With that in mind, go forth and listen! Here are some recommendations to get you started:
- If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan, read by Negin Farsad (2014 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, read by MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podhel (2011 Odyssey Honor)
- The Host by Stephenie Meyer, read by Kate Reading
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton
- Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, read by Jorjeana Marie
-Emily Childress-Campbell, currently listening to Wildlife by Fiona Wood