I have been thinking of adding an audiobook facet to my blog for a while and now I'm finally doing it! My love of audiobooks began years and years ago, but in the last four of five years it has really grown. My most recent obsession with them began with listening to audiobooks just while I would ride my bike (with only one earbud in, for safety) or walk for exercise. An audiobook seemed like a good distraction as well as good motivation to get back out and exercise. Gradually, however, my listening became more frequent. Did you know that audiobooks are the perfect accompaniment for housework? It's true! I listen while I vacuum, clean the kitchen, everything. Immersing myself in the narrative of a good book easily distracts from any unpleasant task.
The popularity of audiobooks has risen sharply in the last couple of years. According to this link on goodereader.com, 43,000 new audiobooks were released this year, up from 20,000 just three years ago. That is a lot of audiobooks and a lot of audiobook listeners. The industry has been spurred on by Audible and I love that books are becoming so much more accessible.
I do have one rule that I try to follow. I only listen to audio versions of books that I have already read. That may seem silly to some, but my player makes it difficult to skip back a "page" if I get distracted and miss something or if I'm just confused about a plot point. With books I've already read, I understand where the storyline is going and who the characters are and I can usually keep up pretty well. In addition to that, audiobooks give me the opportunity to revisit a story I have loved in the past, but my not have the time to devote to a full re-read.
My favorite thing about audiobooks is the way listening to a book being read can really bring a story to life. A book well read can evoke the most vibrant images. Often, when a book also has a movie version, I forget if an image I have in my head is from the movie or from listening to the audiobook. Of course, not all audiobook narrators are created equal. Jim Dale (reader of the Harry Potter series and The Night Circus) is a master. When people say, "I could listen to him read the phone book," they are not exaggerating. He is fabulous. On the other hand, I have listened to a few audiobooks that I had to just turn off because the narrator was so bad. This seems to happen most often when I am listening to a YA book; perhaps they think the reader needs to sound like a twelve-year-old girl for the sake of the expected audience, but if done badly it can be too big an obstacle for me.
My intention here is to direct you to the good ones. These posts will likely be shorter than my regular book reviews, but my main purpose will be to review the listening experience.
I love audiobooks and I hope we can help each other discover our next favorite.