Audio Books… Can You Hear Me Now?



I have been planning to do an audio post for a while now and when I seen that Jen from  Devourer Of Books was having an Audio Book Week, I knew I had to jump on board and support this.

I love audio and I have expressed that time and again on this blog.  I really started listening to them last summer when I received a few for review through Hachette audio.  I discovered that while I was traveling during the summer months I preferred listening to audio over the radio.

Here are some times that audio is more beneficial that books:

  1. It is hard to read and cook.  You either wind up burning dinner; the book, or both.  Audio can play at a safe distance from all things flammable and you can stir or chop or set the table while listening.

  2. Driving and reading is frowned upon.  It could get you a ticket or worse.  Audio cds are fair game in the car and feel free to yell to your hears content when the character makes you angry, and pull over and weep on the steering wheel when alas…. the incredible read comes to a heartbreaking end.

  3. I can sweep and mop the floor and not try to balance a book while doing it or feel disgruntled because the house work is cutting into my reading time.  Wash and fold laundry, dust,do windows – even mow the lawn all while listening to audio.

  4. Sometimes a book on the treadmill can be difficult and dangerous.  Drop that baby on the tread and you could take a nasty spill.  On the other hand, pop in an audio and you are moving right along getting into a great story and  have the added benefit of not hearing the guy running next to you gasping for breath.

Ok – I am just being funny here – but the point is that audio can go where books can not.  I have only listened to audio for a little over a year now and I love it.  A great audio has made long road trips interesting and bearable.  Just this afternoon I sat in my car in the garage to hear what was going to happen to Mike Bennett as he defused a hostage situation in James Patterson’s Step On A Crack.  In my bathroom while I get ready in the morning my IPOD sits in its speakers and I hear Zoey make tough decisions about life and death…. literally in House of Night: Chosen by Kristin Cast.  In my CD player for when I am buzzing around the house Jim Dale takes me back to Hogwarts with Harry and Ron in a voice that I love and makes up for the fact that I do not have time to sit down and re-read this series I love so much.

This may be a bit much, but my point is that I can turn on an audio as I do my life.

What I would like to know from my readers is – if you do not do audio… why not? (expect me to try to change your mind 😀 )

And if you do like  audio, I would love to hear what book is awesome on audio, as I am still new to this but when you find one that is read well – it is like finding the gold ticket in the Wonka Bar…. you already had the delicious chocolate, the ticket is just a bonus!  😀

My favs at this time have been:

The Kite Runner read by Khaled Hosseini (author) Blew me away!

Anything by James Patterson – his readers are wonderful!

House Rules by Jodi Piccoult is read by 6 different people and is incredible

The Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on June 22, 2010, in Book Stuff and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 55 Comments.

  1. My first audiobook was the Full cast recording of The Historian. It was simply amazing and since then I’ve always had an audiobook going. Full cast are my favorites but not the only ones I listen too. Jim Dale is an amazing narrator as is Neil Gaimen. The narrator makes or breaks the book for me but I will say I’ve only seen a few breaks since I started listening to audiobooks.

    • Zia you are the second person today to recommend Neil Gaimen to me. I am going to find the books he narrates.

      I too learned that a bad narrator can throw you off the whole audio. Those I quickly move on from.

  2. Oh I forgot to mention the Harry Potter narrated by Stephen Fry are amazing as well as the ones by Jim Dale.

  3. “The Help” is a fabulous, fabulous audio. I just listened to “So Cold The River” which was spectacular, and right now I’m listening to “Feed” by Mira Grant which is keeping me enthralled.

  4. I don’t do audio. My initial reason was a bad first experience — a book on tape, in the car on a solo road trip. I think it was a classic, I forget what. But if the driving got tense, I inevitably missed something crucial and was lost. And skimming that part again was complicated.

    Since then, I’ve figured that if I *were* to try audio again, I’d probably make it either super-light or something nonfiction, to avoid the convoluted sentences that require mental untangling and the likelihood that every sentence is crucial.

    But still I’ve never tried again; most of my road trips these days aren’t solo, and finding a book both my husband and I would enjoy is complicated. I don’t have a daily commute, and even when I did (years ago now) it was less than 5 minutes.

    The biggest time I could possibly try an audio again is probably while I knit or spin, but usually the TV’s on then.

    • Hannah my work route is about 5 minutes too…. it takes me awhile to get through the audio in my car because of this. I get about 20 to 30 minutes a day of audio in my car from work to home and errands I run.

  5. You make some great points for audio books. I love audio books as well and have been listening to them for about (10) years. I think my first audio books were ones by Anne Tyler or Barbara Kingsolver, and James Patterson. It’s easy to multi-task and enjoy a book, so what a reader’s dream 🙂

  6. I like audio ONLY if I can listen to the entire book at once (like if I’m scrapbooking a bunch of pictures in an afternoon/evening). I think I’d not like listening to a book in the car/in the gym/etc then stopping to do something else, then picking up a book to read. Do you do them all simultaneously? How do you make that work?

    • Dawn you will probably think this is crazy but I have three audios going. I dont know why but I keep them straight. One is in the IPOD in the bathroom for when I get ready in the mornings, one is in the CD player in the kitchen for when I am cooking or cleaning, the other is in my car.

      If one is really getting good I can pull it and have it follow me to my next area but other wise I keep them all straight and like the variety.

  7. I’ve done a few audio books, but I’m finding myself getting more and more of them lately to use while traveling, commuting, etc. 🙂

  8. First, this is an awesome post! Too funny!

    I’ve only just started listening to audio again (for the same reason you did: Hachette sent some over for review and I rediscovered my love of them). Right now, I’m still loving Fever Dream by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston as read by Rene Aubergois (I hope I spelled that correctly) – very evocative and he has all of the different voices, so you know exactly who is speaking!

    I can only imagine what “The Kite Runner” is like on audio; I read the printed version and was totally blown away by it … I think I’ll have to put that on my must listen list!

    • Julie, I had the written version of Kite Runner for years and never got to it. When I seen it on audio at the library I grabbed it and it was so fantastic.

      I will have to look into Fever Dream!

  9. I’m glad you enjoy audio books!! I haven’t really given them a try, but I feel like they wouldn’t hold my attention. is that strange? I think my mind would start wandering, then i’d have to rewind…etc etc

    • Carrie, I have heard people say that and I think you should still try one. Try one on a book you may have already read and see how it goes. 🙂

  10. I’m just discovering the joy of audio books. OK, it’s a guilty pleasure thing. I’m hunting down all the Doctor Who audios read by David Tennant. I think the thing that keeps some people away from audio books, is the person reading. I like someone that really feels the story rather than someone just doing a story time.

    • You are right Andrea and there are some amazing narrators out there. My advice is pay attention to what other audio listeners recommend. For me, the Patterson books have sound effects and the voices that will give you goose bumps. They were some of the first I heard and I was hooked.

  11. I tried an audio book once, years ago on a road trip. I was bored to tears. I know I need to give it another try, but I want to make sure I choose the right one.

    • Teresa try again 🙂 If you link to Devourer of Books you will find some great posts about audios as well as some suggestions of some good ones.

      There are bad audios out there….. I have heard some. Hope you find an awesome one!

  12. You make some great reasons for me to try another audiobook! I just tried my first and had a disappointing experience. I’ll have to try one on your list!

  13. Audiobooks are hit or miss for me. My favorites are definitely the Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale. I am currently listening to Deathly Hallows in my car. I also have some on my iPOD. The other audiobooks I’ve listened to were not very good -The Lord of the Rings, Twilight (can’t stand the voice of Edward read by a female), and one of the Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic books. I would like to try listening to the Percy Jackson books or The Red Pyramid on audio. Those might be fun. I don’t really have anything to recommend because besides the HP books I haven’t found an audiobook that I love yet.

  14. I’ve been subscribing to Audible.com come for years. They are the reason I got my first mp3 player and then eventually my iPhone. I use my iPhone more for audio books then to talk or text on most days.

    While a narrator can definitely make or break a book, some times a perfectly good narrator is just a wrong fit. I remember listening to two Anne Rice books years ago on cassette. They used the same narrator for Armand as they did for Vittorio. Both of these titles were first person narratives and I kept forgetting which vampire I was listening too.

    Some for my more recent favorite audio books are Possession by A.S. Byatt; Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan; The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright; Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill.

  15. I have never tried an audio book before, but you make some great points in your list of benefits. I especially agree with the treadmill. I’ve had some close calls trying to catch my book as it’s falling and I’m losing my footing. I think the reason I am hesitant about going audio is I think my mind will start wandering and I’ll miss key points in the story. I do listen to sermons in my car, so I guess a book would be similar. I just might have to give it a try. The Jody Piccoult sounds like a good one. Have a great day!

  16. Still not convinced though I’m going to give audiobooks another try after reading this post. I just don’t seem to be able to concentrate listening to a book and, to be honest, I tend to fall asleep no matter how good the story or how well read.

    • Petty Witter, maybe try one in a car sometime when you are traveling. If you ever do give one a try let m eknow – I would love to hear your thoughts on it. 😀

  17. I have just recently started to listen to audio books. The most recent one I listened to was a Sidney Sheldon’s “The Best Laid Plans” read by John Rubinstein, and I must say he did a wonderful job. I also listened to “Marley and Me.” read by John Grogan.

    Right now I am listening to Julie Andrews reading her book. “Home, A Memoir of My Early Years.”

    I find I enjoy listening to my audio books in the evenings for an hour or two, because there is not much on TV that interests me anymore.

    • Ann, I have not listened to an audio while relaxing in the evening but I have thought about it. I bet that would be a good time as like you, I find so little on the tv that I enjoy watching.

  18. Years ago I had a 45 min. commute to school and on PBS I found a program where a man with a gorgeous deep voice read books. I remember listening to a C.S. Lewis book that semester.

    However, I don’t do audio books because I have grown to love the quiet of my home and of driving. I live in the country (which is less quiet than it used to be) and I listen to the birds while I read a book. As an older person, I need to concentrate more on driving so I don’t even turn on the radio in the car. Silence is so nice.

    • Barbara, I can understand that. I like quiet sometimes too especially evenings on my back deck. I like to sit out there and just hear the silent sounds of the earth.

  19. What a day I’m having! I listened to NPR of course, not PBS. 😀

  20. I love your funny take on this and now I need to get my iTouch purchased so I can download some of these books. My library has very few books on playaway and I hate downloading the cds to my iPod!!

  21. I guess my reluctance is more about the fact that I consider myself a “visual” person, but you do make some good points about road trips, housework (I avoid that as much as possible!), and audios while exercising (that might work!).

    So I might be willing to give it a try…

    • laurel i think the audio make the work go faster. I dont mind cleaning a room while listening to an audio. It takes me somewhere else and before I know it – I am done! 🙂

  22. I have actually read an actual book on the treadmill, but it was very uncomfortable. Audio is definitely the way to go! Thanks for making me laugh!

  23. I too love audio books. I miss working because I have lost my audio book time. When I work at home, am all over the place and playing it in one room won’t work. I don’t have an Ipod. I do have a CD walkman thing, but I don’t like being cut off from the world with a headset on. I may try it once I dig out the treadmill and start using it again. The one place in the house I do listen to audio books is in the sewing room. When I start in there, I know it will be a few hours before I go anywhere else.

    We are currently listening to THE HELP. It is very well done. Of course the Harry Potter books are the best I’ve ever listened to. I like listening to James Patterson’s books but not reading them. The short chapters in the few I’ve read make the reading too choppy. The ERAGON series on CD is good.
    Others we really enjoyed were Ken Follett’s PILLARS OF THE EARTH and WORLD WITHOUT END. Unabridged they were 32 and 36 CD’s long. The gentleman who read them did a great job and really made the story come alive. I read Nora Roberts’ CIRCLE TRILOGY and then listened to it on CD. I really enjoyed it more in audio form. I’m not sure if it was because I was familiar with the story or not.

    Audio books for those with learning disabilities have been great. It opens the doors to so many books they would otherwise not attempt to read. They can get the book read and use their imagination to picture the story.

    We started with children’s books on tape when our children were little (30+ years ago). We were a military family and none of our car trips ever seemed to be short. Having them listen to stories while we traveled helped the drive go by “faster”, especially at night. Of course today they have DVD players, but we still listen to books when we take our grandson on a trip.

  24. One benefit to audio books for us has been my husband and I being able to share and talk about books. He just doesn’t have time to read. I would enjoy books that I knew he would never spend the time on, but all I could do was tell him about them. I started sharing what I was listening to with him and it has worked out well. My biggest problem now is he is finishing them before me and I have to keep telling not to tell me what will happen. He has listened to the suspense and romance books which he would never pick up and read. I know romance isn’t to everyone’s liking but there are some good authors out there who write good suspenseful romances in both the contemporary and historical genre.
    I think we may be more likely to try a new genre in audio form because it doesn’t take as much to listen to it as it does to read it.

    • Pat I agree – I would be more willing to try a difficult read or a new genre in audio format… in fact that is what I am doing now with Chosen.

  25. Great scenarios – they made me smile. James Patterson is one of my favorites on audio. I know it’s good when I sit in the car to hear some more.

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