To be frank, I’ve never been into audio books. My daily commute doesn’t take more than 10 minutes each way, I don’t normally drive and even if I do, it’s never for great distances and I’m never alone. Ever since I’ve been blogging I kept saying audio books are not for me. I once listened to the first few minutes of an Agatha Christie audio book on a friend’s computer and I didn’t like it. At all. I found the reader’s voice slightly irritating, she talked too fast for my liking – or at least faster than what my reading speed would have been – and even in that short time, my thoughts sort of just… drifted away from the story. So how is it that here I am a little more than a year later, listening to one of Lindsay Barclay’s thrillers, just for fun?
I had an English literature exam the other day, for which I had to read a huge amount of books. Most of them I’ve already read a few years ago but obviously, I can’t remember all the details about them and while I needed them for the exam, I didn’t have time to re-read all of them. And that’s when I decided to give audio books a try one more time – and that was when I realised they are actually really good.
I have to admit that I’ve been both a bit wary of these books – and at the same time, I was prejudiced too. I’ve never given them a second chance. I’ve never considered that maybe, just maybe… I just wasn’t in the mood for audio books at the time or that it was the reader herself I didn’t like and that other books might be a lot better than that. Since the Agatha Christie disaster I’ve listened to two other books (Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Linwood Barclay’s Fear the Worst) and surprisingly, I enjoyed both of them. So much so that I’m considering listening to a few more in the future and starting to post some audio book reviews if you guys are interested.
I figured out that the most important thing in my case is to listen to the audio samples. There’s always a short sample recording included on websites that sell audio books and you can listen to them before you download the actual book . They’ll give you a fairly good idea of what the reader’s style, pace and accent is going to be and if you’re as picky as I am, you can decide whether it’s something you’ll like or something that will lull you to sleep. Since I’m moving to London sometime early next year and I’ll probably spend a lot more time with commuting, I was really hoping I would be able to get into audio books. I can’t read in cars or on buses or even the tube (in fact, planes and trains are the only two vehicles on which I don’t feel like throwing up if I attempt to read) so the fact that I’ll be able to at least listen to them on the go gives me some comfort.
And as much as I was against them in the beginning, I do think they’re great. They’re great if you don’t have too much time for reading, if you’re constantly on the go, if you’re a commuter but don’t want to carry your books everywhere or if – like me – you’ve motion sickness and you can’t read on public transport. I love the fact that you can just put your earphones in and listen to them while doing housework or anything else that doesn’t require you to listen to someone else. For me they’re a bit similar to how I feel about ebooks. Neither of them will replace paperbacks/hardbacks and holding a real book in my hands but they’re very convenient, very practical.
What do you think about them? Are you wary of giving them a shot like I was or have you tried them before? Do you love them or do you hate them?
Some websites where you can listen to audio books: