Audio books – are you a fan?

So what’s your view on audio books? Have you ‘read’ any?

Me, I am trying to get into audio books but I’ve got to be honest with you, it’s been a struggle. However although it’s not my ‘go to’ way to read a book, I think I might now be slowly succeeding, but very slowly…

So far I’ve read three audio books; A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley, Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski, Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay; and I’m currently halfway through my fourth, After The End by Clare Mackintosh (which has had me crying my eyes out just this very morning – so beautiful but it is literally ripping my heart to shreds).

Reading books via audio is definitely a big mind shift for me. I underestimated reading this way as I thought I’d easily be able to multitask as I ‘read’ – just like listening to the radio. Ha! How wrong I was as I find when I ‘read’ through my ears, I’ve got to concentrate just as much as when I read through my eyes. Hence listening to an audio book as I drive (in which I definitely do need to concentrate) or do housework etc just doesn’t seem to work for me. I’m continually finding that I miss bits of the story and spend a lot of time rewinding it – hence I get frustrated.

As Six Stories is written in the format of a podcast, I thought this would be a brilliant book to read via audio. And yes, I did enjoy it (Matt Wesolowski’s crime series is such a great and very unique series, you need to read them) but I did feel at the time that I lost something from ‘reading’ it this way.

I also felt this same feeling when I started reading Adam Kay’s hilarious but hard hitting Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas. However as I continued to read this I then discovered that I love to walk as I listen to a good book. It’s just so refreshing and enjoyable. As I was rushing about (for those that don’t know me, I always seem to be running late! 😉 ) I found I really enjoyed Adam Kay’s voice in my ear as he himself narrates his experiences working as an NHS doctor over the Christmas period. People passing me in the street must have thought what was up with me as I did cry as I walked and listened (it is so heartbreaking at times) but also howled loudly with laughter – you will not believe what some people use peanut butter for!!!!! This is a short book and when I finished it (mid walk) I was gutted and really missed Adam in my ear.

The other week I got on the bus to go to work only to realise I had left my book at home. First world problems I know, but over the last year I have changed how I commute to work (I always used to drive) just so I can read more (hey another plus of reading as it’s helped me reduce my carbon footprint! 🙂 ). Hence I was genuinely gutted as I really savour my reading time commuting to and from work. But then I remembered I have some audio books on my phone, so I just downloaded After The End and I was a happy reader again.

Yes, reading via audio personally takes me a lot longer to read a book, simply because I don’t do it as much. I do view sitting and actually reading as a real passion, something I don’t quite feel listening to a book. But I do now think I pick up on aspects of the book I might of missed if I had read it in the traditional way. For example, the emotion in voice of whoever is narrating can be really visceral; this is especially so with Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas and After The End. So yes, I am enjoying listening to books and have downloaded a lot more. For example my friend told me Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (which everyone is raving about) is brilliant as an audio book – so I think I’ll give that a try next.

So that’s my thoughts on the whole audio book debate. But I’m keen to hear your experience also of reading a book via audio, so please share. Also if you’ve got any great audio book recommendations, I’d love to have them!

Happy reading everyone! 🙂

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