January 10, 2011

To listen or not to listen

So, audio. That's what I've been thinking about the last few days, ever since I listened to the episode of Books on the Nightstand where they talked up audio. (Side note: everyone should be listening to Books on the Nightstand, period. It's awesome.)

I've never listened to an audiobook. Mostly this has to do with the speed. I read pretty darn quickly, and so listening to an audiobook always makes me feel as though I'm being held back. My first college roommate loves audiobooks (she used to listen to them to fall asleep), but I never quite got that. However, Ann brought up some interesting points on the podcast that made me stop and think about it. Specifically, Ann wants to use audiobooks to help her stay motivated at the gym.

I thought that made perfect sense -- that audiobooks could potentially take the place of music in terms of what to listen to while walking, jogging, running, etc. (I suppose that they would be good to listen to in the car, although I don't have one, so it doesn't really concern me.) So I thought to myself, why not give this audiobook thing a try? You never know until you try, right? (This is in keeping with my philosophy about books -- that I pretty much give everything a fair shot.)

Anyway, I started looking around at audiobooks, and, because I have never looked up audiobooks before, I was struck by a severe case of sticker shock. $30+??!? And that's normal?!?? Well. Maybe I won't be getting into audiobooks as quickly as I wanted (although I probably will be looking into what my local library has to offer), but the desire remains to give them a try. So, my friends -- what's your take on audiobooks? Awesome? Not quite as awesome? Any favorites that I should start with? (I presume that, like translations, the narrator makes a huge difference in the quality of the finished product.) Any suggestions on where to come by these audiobooks?

Also, I read Red Glove, by Holly Black, over the weekend. It's awesome. (Review to come closer to publication date.) My only regret here is that I will have to wait until 2012 to read the next one. Urgh.


  1. I wasn't sure that I would like audio books either but I won a James Patterson audio book and it was very good. I listened to it in my car and I was very surprised at some of the special effects and how the readers would try and change their voices for different characters.

    It got me hooked on audio, but your right they are very expensive. I found this place called audible.com and for something like 14.95 you can get one credit a month to get a audiobook and you can purchase others and they are a lot cheaper there for members than getting them of itunes, etc.

    If anyone else has other places to find them cheap I am all ears too. :)

  2. I live by audiobook. I have more than 50 on my ipod currently. My first audiobook was Pride and Prejudice, back in the early 90's (cassettes!)read by Flo Gibson. It changed the way I think when experiencing books. Having the story read to me lets my brain make all sorts of connections it would not otherwise. I like that it forces me to "read" slow. I have a horrible habit of skimming. I like having my library in my pocket. Generally, I buy both the audiobook and the paperback, because I like to go back and research things. Neil Gaiman reads many of his own books, he is a really amazing reader. Sarah Vowell as well. There are many different and differently priced versions of the classics. I purchase most books via itunes - so I rely on the preview to clue me in to the better narrators. Two audiobooks I could not live without: Possession by AS Byatt, read by the wonderful Virginia Leishman and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, with several narrators(different POVs).

  3. Hey Rebecca, shoot me an email (ann at booksonthenightstand.com) and I'll send you an audiobook to try. Fiction, nonfiction, what's your pleasure? I think you should try it, but don't want the cost to derail you if you're not sure.

  4. I love audiobooks! I am always listening to one in my car. My library has an incredible selection. I listen to both books I've read and new authors.

  5. Hi all, thanks for weighing in! It seems like everyone pretty much thinks they're awesome, which is great. (Although maybe not so great for my wallet...) I'll definitely be taking suggestions into consideration when I'm checking them out.

    Becca, I LOVE Neil Gaiman, so I'll certainly take a look at his audiobooks. :)

  6. Also, thanks so much for the offer, Ann! I'll be sending you an email...