Tuesday, January 14, 2020

On the Merits of Audiobooks

Oh, audiobooks. I used to have such a contentious relationship with them. Does listening to an audiobook really count as having read the book? Is it really the same? Are you a true fan if you haven’t read the book?

I mean, the answer to all of those is yes, but I was a real book snob as a teenager.

I’ve recently begun listening to a lot of audiobooks. Like many people, I’ve found my job to be…uh…kind of tedious sometimes (nobody tell my boss). I’m a research scientist, so a good deal of my day consists of following protocols that have become second nature by now, or working with spreadsheets, or otherwise carrying out lab maintenance and cleaning. I bought a cheap pair of Bluetooth headphones and started listening to music at work. But the thing is, I get tired of music eventually, and when I want to change songs, I have to take my lab gloves off and that’s a waste.

So, I switched to audiobooks. I finally set up my Overdrive account and got their app, Libby, for my phone. (The Bluetooth connectivity distance of my desktop computer is…not great.) I’m fortunate enough that my local library has an extensive eAudio collection, so I checked out the entire SHATTERED REALMS series by Cinda Williams Chima and went at it.

At first, it was kind of a weird transition. While music is kind of mindless in the background, I had to at least sort of listen to the books. But slowly, I got used to it, and I’ve been ramping up the playback speed as I get more accustomed to the reader’s pace. Since I switched to audiobooks in the middle of December, I’ve listened to FLAMECASTER, SHADOWCASTER, STORMCASTER, DEATHCASTER, LIKE A LOVE STORY, WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH, and I’m less than an hour away from finishing THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL. I get to listen to a bunch of books that I’ve been meaning to read as “research” for my NaNoWriMo revisions, my supervisor gets my hard work, and everybody’s happy. Win win!

Do you listen to audiobooks at work? (Don’t worry, I won’t tell!) If so, what have been some of your favorites? And what’s on your to-listen shelf?

1 comment:

Dena Pawling said...

I do a lot of driving for my work and I listen to audio books during my commute time. If I didn't, I wouldn't be able to read nearly as many books as I do. Usually 1-2 per week. Makes the commute in Los Angeles traffic bearable.