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!
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!