Finding My Groove With Audio Books | Part 2

Posted March 14, 2018 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Features / 20 Comments

A few years ago I wrote a post about how I kept trying and trying but couldn’t get into audio books. Since that post in 2015, I’ve tried and failed to listen to several audio books with little luck. However, 2018 has brought about a miracle, and I’ve not only successfully completed one, but TWO audio books in the first two months of the year! This is probably a tiny amount compared to many readers/bloggers, but it’s a rather huge deal for me as I’ve worked hard to get to this point and if I can continue the trend, I’m hoping it will help boost the number of books I can read each year! I wanted to reflect and recap on some of the ways I’ve found success with audio books (and hopefully my experiences can help others who haven’t had much luck!)

I don’t like listening to audio books with headphones.

This seems like such a weirdly specific thing, but I’ve found I’m not a huge fan of listening to them through headphones. Why? I have no idea. I have nothing against headphones, I use them all the time for music. I just can’t engage with audio books when I’m, say, sitting on the train with my headphones plugged in. I have found however that I really enjoy listening to audio books while driving. Given that I was commuting like 10+ hours a week in my car in February it was great to have a little something to look forward to when driving to/from work, and for some reason I feel much more immersed/engaged with the story if it’s coming out of my car speakers. I have also found I like listening to audio books through my wireless speakers around the house when I do chores such as folding laundry. I guess I just need to feel “busy” while I listen to them, rather than sitting still?

I prefer non-contemporary audio books.

This could be a coincidence, but all of the audio books I previously tried and failed were contemporary, and so far I’ve had great luck with fantasy and sci fi (The Cruel Prince and The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza). I think it could be that since the premise is supposed to be a little bizarre or fantastical that I can put up with the sometimes silly or cringe-inducing voices given to some of the characters (am I the only one who gets second hand embarrassment from the voices they use sometimes? Like I’d almost prefer the narrators just read the books in their normal voices instead of making it such a performance?)

I like giving myself listening goals.

I like the way audio books are split up into “parts” (usually an hour or so each) and I just feel really productive when I set goals like “I want to be done with part 8 by today,” or “I can get through 3 parts this week.” I just find that by keeping track of the parts I’m on/how many are in the audio book overall I feel like I can divide listening them into more manageable chunks. Small victories!

So my system isn’t really that fancy and there haven’t been any major revelations here, it just looks like playing with listening formats and genres has helped me finally find a few audio books that I was able to focus on. The two I’ve successfully listened to have been via Overdrive, and I bought an audio book through Amazon/Audible so we’ll see how that goes (though I have not done an Audible subscription yet since it seems so expensive to me…). I’m hoping I can get through one audiobook a month!

Let’s Discuss!

Was there an “Aha!” moment when audio books finally started working for you? Do you use Audible/another subscription service for audio books or do you just borrow them from your library? Let me know in the comments!

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20 responses to “Finding My Groove With Audio Books | Part 2

  1. Although I haven’t given audiobooks a try since the times that I have tries, I just couldn’t get into the story if I was doing something else. Always had to be still…but by that point I would just get sleepy LOLOL.

    Although may be I just need the right narrator to sell me their story. I mean, for example, I could probably listen to Mindy Kaling narrate her non-fix all day because there’s this charisma there (not that I know if she narrated her own book haha) that adds a quality of enjoyment and provokes wanting to keep at it. So maybe that’s all I need to find.

  2. I’ve discovered that I much prefer listening to sci-fi books than I do reading them! I haven’t listened to any contemporary just yet (only fantasy, sci-fi and classics!). I want to try out The Cruel Prince though!

    • I know you love the Cruel Prince so I would recommend trying on audio! I actually started rereading ACOWAR via audio (to prepare myself for the new book coming out this spring) and it’s been really fun revisiting one of my favorite series via audio and experiencing it in a new and different way!

  3. Audio books are so hard for me too! I definitely get you with the second hand embarrassment thing which is why I’m so picky on my narrators. That’s really interesting about how you enjoy them more without headphones–that might be something I’ll need to try.

    • AH I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one cringing at some of the voices these audio book narrators make! I’ve found books with a few narrators I can tolerate/have gotten used to, but it can really make or break a book for me based on how much I cringe at hearing the narrator do “silly” voices.

  4. I know what you mean about the genre – I’m not a huge fan of contemporary audiobooks but I do them sometimes if I love the narrator. I prefer fantasy because I have short attention span when READING them (always checking my phone and pausing the read) but for some reason I can listen without getting disengaged. I still use Scribd for my audiobooks and they recently went back to the unlimited model for each month!! You can listen to any audiobook or read any ebook on there, unlimited, for like $8 a month still.

    Lauren (Bookmark Lit) recently posted: Holy Grail Products
    • I have found the narrator is a HUGE part of it! I actually am halfway through a contemporary audiobook (Dear Martin- SO powerful, and it helps that it’s super short so it’s easing me into listening to contemporary audio books). Interesting to hear Scribd went back to the unlimited model! I signed up to try it and like right away they switched to the points based model and I was like NOPE so maybe I will have to check it out again!

  5. It’s so interesting! I actually do better with contemporary novels as audiobooks. I find they are shorter and less complicated plot-wise (I work a weird schedule so I’m not always in my car everyday which is where I mostly listen to audiobooks–and with my crap memory it can be hard to keep things in the brain). But I’ve had great success with non-contemporary books lately and I’m trying to read more books in those genres now too, especially when they make up so much of my TBR.

    I get all my audiobooks from the library. I did try Audible a few years ago when they had a really great promotion (I think it cost $2 for 3 months and 3 audiobooks) and I liked it. Audible is starting to get a lot of “Audible Exclusive” titles lately. It is a little pricier though when all you get is one book a month (though it does save you money in the long run if the titles you enjoy are from major publishers). I’m trying Kobo’s Audiobook service right now and find they lack the collection Audible does. I’m having a hard time finding books I want (that I can’t already get from my library). Other than that, my options are pretty limited in Canada so I’m sticking with the library for now.

    Lauren @ SERIESous Book Reviews recently posted: Trope Thursdays: My Family Hurt Yours [3]
    • I get a majority of my audio books through my library too, via Overdrive! I’ve bought one or two audio books through Amazon (since they were under $5, I think probably because I already owned the e-books so Amazon may have discounted them for me), but even Audible is a bit expensive for me for ONE book, especially since I’m still somewhat new to audio books (though I hope I keep up with them!) I’m successfully listening to my first contemporary audio book (Dear Martin) and I think since it’s a short one (only 4-5 hours) it’s keeping my attention span successfully!

      • Oh Dear Martin was great! I loved it as an audiobook! It has an interesting format so I found it kept me on my toes.

        I feel like they really mark up audiobooks, especially with the subscriptions (or else why would they even offer the service if it’s “such a good deal for the consumer”?). They do have that unlimited romance option now on Audible so I might look into that later on. I noticed I can use my points at Kobo for audiobooks so I might get some that way.

        Lauren @ SERIESous Book Reviews recently posted: SERIESous Discussion: 5 Reasons Why Novellas Stop Reading Slumps
        • That’s neat about the unlimited romance option! But yeah I know the subscriptions are supposed to be a “deal” but like 20+ per month for one book certainly doesn’t feel like a deal to me…I’ve heard that sometimes Audible though has some great promotions so I really need to keep an eye out for those!

  6. Oh how funny, I just posted a few weeks about how I’ve been trying audiobooks but can’t get into them lol. “I’d almost prefer the narrators just read the books in their normal voices instead of making it such a performance?” YEEEEEESSSSSSS. It’s not even just the voices (which, when it’s someone doing the opposite gender, is often terrible), it’s the way they make every single sentence sound so dramatic. I just can’t. But I’m really glad you’re finding what works for you and are starting to be able to listen to some audiobooks!

    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted: Update: Life and Books (3/25/18)
    • Ugh the opposite gender voices are often SO cringe worthy, and totally agree about them often over-dramatizing the lines. It’s still a slow process for me (I think I’m reading like one audio book a month) but it’s nice to feel productive when I’m doing things that would otherwise be “dead time” by listening to audiobooks!

  7. I found this so interesting to read because I prefer listening to audiobooks with earphones on! But I think it’s because it’s not as clear over speakers. But I also like to listen when I’m doing something else, like laundry or walking, for the same reason as you — I don’t want to just sit there and listen! And I only listen to non-fiction books because I want to physically read all my other books so I can form a story in my head without a set voice! I’ve never purchased an audiobook because I’d rather spend my money on a paper copy :p Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • I rarely purchase audio books too- the only time I have has been for books I LOVE and want to own in every format, and I’ve already read the physical copy first so I know the narrator’s voice won’t shape the way I view the characters, because I agree, that can totally happen!

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