This post is part of Audiobook Week hosted by Devourer of Books.
Audiobook listeners of course come from all walks of life, but my own experiences are unquestionably shaped by my lifestyle. In fact it is my SAHM-ish-ness that drove me to audiobooks, much like a commuter who is looking to fill the repetitive, monotonous drive with something more meaningful. It's a way to feel like you're moving forward, rather than stuck on a virtual treadmill, whether it be tracked in miles or loads of laundry folded. And it makes the time seem to fly rather than remain grounded like the inch of dust hiding under my couch.
In the few years that I have made them a part of my literary menu and a companion whilst scrubbing toilets, I have listened to about seventy audiobooks. Here are a few things I have learned during my auditory odyssey:
1. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. The first few times I tried listening to an audiobook, I just couldn't do it. My mind wandered and I only picked up about 25% of what was going on. So I gave up. A few years later I decided to try again. I don't remember why--I guess Oprah just wasn't doing it for me. This time I put forth all the effort my brain could muster to focus on the words (Do or do not! There is no try!) and it just took a couple of books and it became second nature. Obviously, I've never looked back. Thank you, Yoda.
2. You can't judge a book by it's cover, but you can judge an audiobook by its narrator. If you don't like the narrator's voice, turn it off! Go directly to the library to take it back! Do not pass Go!! Do not collect $200! It's not worth it to ruin a book by getting this horrid voice in your head that will never go away.
3. Slow and steady wins the race. One advantage of audiobooks over printed books is that they force me to slow down and savor each word. As with most readers, my personal pace is quicker than a read-aloud pace. This might sound like a frustrating disadvantage, but I'm generally in no hurry to finish a book (regardless of the fact that my TBR list grows exponentially by the minute). It has helped me to slow down in my regular reading, and sometimes I even find myself hearing a foreign accent in my head while I read. A bit weird, but I like the effect!
4. Those who forget the past
space out during the past track are condemned to repeat it. Although I am a pretty good listener these days, there are times when my mind wanders, or the sound of the garbage disposal drowns out the narrator's voice, or my daughter comes to show me her collection of pencil shavings. Basically, the rewind button is my friend!
5. Never forget a name. This could just be me, but I do still have a hard time with keeping track of names while listening to an audiobook. I remedy this by either writing down the names as I come to them in the first hour or so of the book, or looking up a list of characters on the internet. For some reason I need to see names in print, or they just don't stick. This goes for people I meet in real life as well. I've tried to take notes on entire audiobooks before, but more often than not, my hands are covered in soap bubbles or bread dough residue, so writing is difficult.
6. To each his own. Audiobooks aren't for everyone, and far be it from me to suggest that everyone should listen. The only thing I have a problem with is when people say that listening to audiobooks does not count as proper reading. My only response to this is "Huh?"