Level Up. Beyond The Turning Of The Page

audio meme

About once a year, I get on my audio soap box.  If you read me here, you already know I LOVE audio books.  When I discovered audio books in 2010, I was amazed that I had found a way to enjoy books beyond the turning of the page.  If you are into real books or your E-Reader, what I want to share here is that this is another way to EXPERIENCE books that will (I promise) take you to the next level.

One thing we can agree on before we get started….. we all love to read.  We enjoy engaging in a well written story.  We can close our eyes and picture our favorite reading spot…. a cozy chair, on the porch in the sun, in the evening curled up on the couch, outside on a swing, a park bench, leaning against a tree….

I get that.  I am that.  Often… I love to be on the back deck in the summer with ice tea and a great read.  But for me.. life does not stop so I can read a book.  Lets try this visual:

3a - Copy

So many books…. so little time right?

So let’s get started.

We just covered the WHY and WHEN you should listen to audio….


HOW To Listen To Audio.11

Audio books may give you a visual of old school audio tapes…..  and uhhh….. no.  Fast forward to something a little more current.  Hip and happening…..

Audio books come in CD format.  Perfect for your car and in your home.  They also can be downloaded off your computer to ITUNES or even directly to your phone (my personal favorite).  With an auxiliary cord, you can easily hook your phone up to your vehicles radio and listen to it within your car.

11My personal favorite is on my phone because my phone is usually everywhere I am.  I picked up an external speaker at Wal-Mart (found at most stores that has electronics).  This allows your phone to connect with the speaker and amplify the sound.  This way I can set the speaker and phone on my kitchen counter and work my way around the area without having to carry my phone with me to hear it.  External speakers range any where from $9.99 to $89.99.  I paid $14.98 for mine three years ago and it still works wonderfully.  No need to go fancy. 🙂

For traveling purposes, such as walking the dog, traveling on a plane or mowing the lawn, ear buds come into play.  These too can be picked up at most stores that carry electronics for fairly reasonable.


WHERE To Find Great Audio Books.confused-smiley

Audiobooks can be purchased in CD format at most stores that carry books.  You can also pick them up on line off Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc…  For downloading audio to your device of choice, there are several options.

Audible.com:  This is the one I use and have used for 5 years.  Audible lets you choose up to two audio books a month at a greatly reduced price from what you would purchase audio in the stores.  I am on the two credits per month program and pay $22.95 per month.  Many audio books, especially new and popular titles go for anywhere between $25 and $50 an audio book so this is a great reduction.  As a new customer, you receive your first audio book free – just go on and pick one. Another thing I love about Audible is that if you are listening to a book that you do not find to your liking, go into your account and ask to return it.  No questions asked they will give you your credit back!  They also have wonderful sales where you can pick titles up for $4.95 each, as well a daily special where one audio book will be $2.95.  No contract, quit any time.

Downpour.com is another site much like Audible, however they do not have DRM (which honestly I knew little about until I read the linked article.  I have not spent a lot of time on this site yet, but I will. Definitely one worth checking out.


WHAT To Listen To

Ahhhh….. one of my favorite topics…. what to listen to on audio?  Most sites will allow you to listen to a sample of the audio book.  I highly recommend you do this.  Not all audio is treated alike.  Narration is so important and while you can read here or on other sites about favorite narrators….  you really need to hear for yourself and choose what you like.  A good narration (IMO) lets you lose yourself in the book.  You don’t hear someone reading, instead you become part of the story.  You don’t hear a change in character voices, instead you hear a discussion.  And when you are really really lucky – you fall in love with the narration and…. you stalk the narrator.  You look for books that this narrator has narrated.  That’s when you know you have it bad.  I have done it.

I can give you a short list here of some of my favorites…. but definitely look around and see what other reviewers are talking about in audio books.  I have picked many audio books on my own, but I have picked just as many or perhaps even more on someone elses raving.


A few of my top picksfavorites-yellow-star-icon-29360

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Narrated by Wil Wheaton (soon to be a movie!)

11-22-63 by Stephen King Narrated by Craig Wasson (do not write this off because it is a King book.  It is, and it isn’t!)

The Residence by Kate Anderson Brower Narrated by Karen White (This is such a great listen and so informative)

The Martian by Andy Weir Narrated by R.C. Bray  (From the very first sentence I was all….. oh yeah.  This is going to be fun)

YOU by Caroline Kepnes narrated by Santino Fontana  (oh my word!  The narration and Joe….. WOW!)

Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain Narrated by Susan Bennett

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty Narrated by Caroline Lee  (Oh I fell in love with this story and this narrator!  I also enjoyed Big Little lies with the same narrator!  It’s like narrator crack!)

43 thoughts on “Level Up. Beyond The Turning Of The Page

  1. Great post. I have never listened to an audio book. I love holding a real book. And, yet, I am 100% behind any method that leads to more people reading more often. A business associate of mine has an hour drive in each direction. I got her started on audiobooks, and now she’s an audiobook fanatic. Cool.

    1. I am pro book as well but as you said, to get books into peoples hands or into peoples heads….. I used to be that person who thought it was funny when my aunt and uncle came from California to Minnesota in their RV filled with audio books for that 7 day road trip. Now…. I am talking audio with them all the time!

  2. I have never listened to an audio book but you make them sound great. I may get into them one day, I guess I would have to buy “something” in order to listen to them, since I don’t have a smart phone. I like your list of titles.

  3. I’m a HUGE audio fan! Audiobooks are great for when I’m crocheting, walking, on the elliptical, doing the dishes, driving to doctors’ appointments…and it’s great when an audiobook is so good that you want to listen to it many times in a row. Maybe that’s just me. 😀

    1. Not just you. 😀 Every time I tell someone about Ready Player One I think, I could really listen to that again. I think I have listened to that one three times….. Harry Potter books on audio…. at least that many times.
      Each. 😛

  4. I’m quirky about audios. I love nonfiction but I have a hard time keeping up with the plot on an audio. Why is that? Don’t know, but it tends to be true.

    My husband and I both love to listen to audios on long drives. We tend to read something from the 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read list.

    Thanks for this great post!


    1. I hope you do! I think for the most part people do not understand them or do not see the benefits to audio. Once you find your style (I don’t sit and listen – I listen while doing things) you will get there. Audio can take the reading experience to the next level.

  5. I love audio too! I listened to all of the hunger games books while working in a library converting all books from Dewey labels to the shelf logic labeling. Not much brain work involved so I was bored. But when I started listening to audio books, the time just flew! I love listening in the car, although my commute is pretty short. It’s perfect for road trips which awe have several coming up. The best audio book lately was The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank. The narrator had a thick South Carolina accent that matched perfectly with the story. I have listened to more Frank novels just because of the narrator since most of her novels are based in South Carolina. My mother in law lives in Charleston so I have a soft spot for the South. I love finding ways to listen to books!

    1. I forgot to rave about Bad Monkey by Carl Hiassen. It’s about a semi retired detective in Florida solving a crime somewhat reluctantly. The narrator completely embodied the character and it was another book that I was totally immersed into the story, forgetting it was audio. Highly recommended!

    2. I would like to try The Hunger Games on audio. I too love to listen to audio while driving. Just this past week on my 5 hour round trip to the cities I listened to Joshilyn Jackson’s The Opposite Of Everyone (narrated by the author) SO GOOD!

  6. Thank you so much for this very informative post. As a school librarian, I am embarrassed by how little I know about audio. This will really help me get started.

  7. My son gave me a set of Bluetooth earbuds last December for Christmas, and they are PERFECT to listen to audiobooks from my phone (my preference). My phone can be stationary, and I can be all over the house and still be listening. I also listen while getting ready for work in the morning and during my planning period at work. Audiobooks are really helping me plow through my capsule reading shelf, because I’m able to get through a book much sooner than sitting and reading through my ebooks or paper books, although I still love those, too… usually at bedtime. I also use the voice over app on my phone for my ebooks, so my phone reads those to me while I’m moving about, too! Such a great persuasive post!

  8. You must have hit close to my Yes! Yes! Yes! type of post to read (haha) because I wanted to add that The Martian and The Help are EXCEPTIONAL on audio.

  9. I haven’t tried audio books yet. I have been reading your blog and enjoy how you talk about them. I am slow at technology, so I will get my daughters to help me and try it.

  10. I usually listen to books on my phone using books downloaded from OVERDRIVE.

    Great post as always, Sheila.

    Thanks for sharing all of this information. I need to get more into audio.

    Love your chart too.


  11. I have a deep and abiding love for Audiobooks! I’ve helped several of my friends get over their initial dislike of audiobooks (they can be an acquired taste- it can take a few tries before it feels natural). I am always listening to something on my phone’s Audible app- and you’ve listed some awesome listens!

  12. I love audio books and always have one going in my car. I agree that the narrator is KEY. I’ve stopped listening to a few when I just couldn’t take the narrator. My recent favorite is the Newbery honor winning “Echo” by Pam Munoz Ryan. Incredible story. The harmonica plays a big part in the book and is beautifully featured throughout the audio version. I highly recommend listening to this one.

  13. I joined Kindle Unlimited just for the audiobooks. I listen while I’m at the gym exercising. It’s $10 a month and they have lots of audiobooks. I don’t need to own them so that works for me. Although I must admit since discovering the world of podcasts I’ve been listening to books less.

  14. You may have convinced me to check out audiobooks. In Ontario, we have the Ontario Download Centre, linked to our local libraries. Patrons can borrow audiobooks for up to 14 days. I will give it a try! 🙂

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