Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Salon 11 - Audiobooks


I have a hellish commute. Ok, so it's probably not as bad as others, but Dallas's traffic is horrendous and was recently rated as having the second highest amount of road rage. I'll admit that I contribute to those road rage sentiments. I don't use my horn very often and hand gestures even less, but I do grip that steering wheel and probably daily yell "Seriously!?!" I drive 25 miles to work and home every day, but most days it takes me an hour each way. Whew--getting anxious just thinking about it!

What's a girl to do? This year I've been listening to audiobooks as an alternative to radio commercials or annoying morning talk show hosts. I've only listened to five so far (Sundays at Tiffany's and First to Die by James Patterson, The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller, Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag, and Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner), but I've got a few more on the shelf and will be seeking out others. Actually, Laura and I usually trade off CDs since we work together and have similar commutes (although she is much calmer than I am).

I have struggled with audiobooks. My first attempt was a year and a half ago when I tried to listen to Eragon. Bad choice. 14 hours, unfamiliar plot and themes, too much to keep up with. I always envied Joy from Thoughts of Joy who is always listening to something fabulous on audio. She wrote a really great post about listening to audiobooks versus reading that has stuck with me over a year later. I SO want to be able to listen like she can and have looked to her for advice over the years. But I have a short attention span and I have to pay pretty close attention to traffic not to be sideswiped, so I am constantly rewinding the audio to hear what I missed. The key to me is to listen to books that don't require a ton of attention. And I really like the mystery/crime audiobooks that I wouldn't normally read in hardcopy.

I haven't reviewed any of the books I've listened to because I'm not sure how. I find that my reaction to them is more akin to watching movies than reading a book. I can't seem think about them as critically, especially the writing, so at this point they are pure entertainment. I haven't counted them towards my book count as of yet, but only because for me it doesn't quite feel the same as reading a book. Maybe as I continue to get used to them I'll be able to think about them in the same way.

Sunday's Questions about Audiobooks:
So how about you? Do you listen to audiobooks? Do you have a certain type of genre that you stick with? Have you tried audiobooks and they didn't work for you? Do you have the same reaction to audiobooks that you do to paperbooks? Do you review audiobooks on your blog? Do you count them toward your yearly book count? Any new advice for a new listener?

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Sunday and Father's Day. I'm jealous that I didn't get to partake in the Bloggiesta hosted by Natasha of Maw Books, but I'm at my in-laws' for the weekend. Anyone want to take over my blog and put it into shipshape for me? :P

46 comments:

Amanda said...

In general, I don't listen to audiobooks. I don't have to commute anywhere, and that helps. Plus, I don't want to buy audiobooks, so the only ones I have to listen to are the free ones from librivox. The quality of the reading there varies widely, plus it's all heavy classic lit so it doesn't work too well when you're trying to concentrate on the road. I tried listening to a short story by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell while driving out to my grandma's house (1.5 hours away) once, and couldn't take more than 15 mins. I realized I had no idea what was going on. Instead, I turned my ipod to music and just took up the time that way. The only time I ever listen is when I don't have access to a book in book or kindle format. Thankfully, that's rare.

I do review the audiobooks I listen to, though. I'm still interested in hearing your thoughts on Sundays at Tiffany's.

bermudaonion said...

I'm a recent convert to audio books and have found that some books are better than others. I think some of it has to do with the narrator and some has to do with the type of story. I do review the audio books I listen to, but it is more difficult than reviewing a book because I have nothing to refer to.

Shona said...

I have started to appreciate audiobooks of late. But it all depends on the narrator. Some narrators are so awful that they can turn you off that book forever. So check the reviews for the audiobook before buying.I must admit though I had read Harry Potter series twice the Stephen Fry version of audio books made me go thru the whole series again. So the narrator is important.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I listen to audiobooks in the car only. They help me deal with the stress of traffic. I have only listened to nonfiction, and there are times when I have to pull over on the side of the road to concentrate on what is going on! And sometimes I pull into parking lots to make some notes for reviews. It's not the most efficient technique, but I would listen anyway because it helps so much with the driving!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

The only audiobook I've listened to all the way through was Twilight, and that's because I had a five hours to and from Madison to listen to it over the winter. I tried the second book in the series and it was so annoying I just gave up. I tried listening to audiobooks at the gym, but I just get distracted. Like you, I just can't seem to focus on them enough to pay attention to what is going on.

I have a couple more long drives from Madison to the Twin Cities coming up this summer, and I've got two audiobooks I'm going to try -- Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilmam, and The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. I'm hoping those will be good in the car.

Laura H said...

Love audio books. I listened to them in the car, while folding laudry, cleaning anytime i can. I always have a audio book and a hardback book going. Our library has books available to download on MP3 players which make it very convenient.

Lezlie said...

I adore audiobooks. I, too, have a nasty commute and they keep me from going to jail. :-) Also, I can listen to them at work, so I get *lots* of extra reading done that way. The experience is definitely different than reading the physical book, but I think each way has it's own advantages. I even sometimes have a hard time deciding which way to go when I have a choice for more serious literature. For my murder mysteries though, audiobooks are my preference.

Lezlie

verbatim said...

I stopped trying to listen to audio books in the car. Too often my attention was diverted and I'd lose track of the story, and on the other hand, I was afraid I'd pay too much attention to the book and get in a crash. I'm a slow reader of books because I read for story and often I'll want to stop and go back and examine the style. This doesn't work with audio. What does work for me is listening to audio tapes of familiar books, the equivalent of comfort food. It reminds me of how much I loved being read to as a kid and how much I loved reading to my kids when they were young. I enjoy the anticipation of knowing what's coming and seeing how the reader makes it come to life. Right now I'm on Great Expectations.

Jeane said...

I don't listen to audio books. I guess it's because when I was younger my mom used to listen to some in the car and I found the narrator's voice very annoying. I suppose it would totally depend upon the narrator for me. If I found one that read well and I enjoyed listening to, maybe I could search for more books narrated by the same person... but I don't have a commute, so it's not a big issue for me.

christina said...

I have tried to listen to audio books, but like you, my mind seems to wander. I have a road trip coming up, so I'd like to get some "reading" done and since I'm doing the driving, it looks like audio is the way to go.

So far, what I've found doesn't work? Mysteries, classics, long long long books, fantasy or sci fi.

Ahem. Which really, the only books that I seem to be okay with? YA Contemporary Fiction. LOL. Any suggestions??

Teresa said...

I got hooked on audiobooks back when I had a nasty commute and kept up the habit when I moved closer to work. I especially love them for rereading books I enjoyed, because that's something I rarely take the time to do and I don't have to worry about losing a few minutes if my attention gets diverted.

For first time reads, I find that really simple, plot-heavy books work best. There are writers who I find repetitive or formulaic in print who I actually enjoy on audio. (Philippa Gregory and Jodi Picoult are two who come to mind.) Books that require slow contemplative reading don't work so well.

I do count audiobooks toward my yearly total, and I review them on my blog. I always note that it was an audio version, and sometimes in my review I'll consider whether I think the book would have worked better in print.

Trish said...

*Amanda - Oh ya, I don't think classics would work for me--too much thought! I agree that books I'm familiar with would work best. Sunday at Tiffany's? It is what it is...you'll see what I mean.

*Bermuda - Narrator is a big deal for me as well. I just got done listening to the first Women's Murder Club and enjoyed it, but I hated how she voiced all of the male parts. A big distractor!

*Rhapsody - I've never thought to listen to non-fiction, but I'll hae to give them a try. There's been a few times when I've sat in front of my house a few extra minutes just to finish the chapter I'm listening to!

*Kim - I've heard people say they listen to audiobooks while working out, but I don't think I could really get much out of them. LOL--I bet New Moon was annoying to listen to! :) Hope the others you have work out for you.

*Laura H - Hmmm--you fall into the category of person I envy. :P Our library has MP3 audio to download as well, but I don't have an MP3 player in my car. Do you have a type of audiobook (or genre) that works better for you or is anything game?

*Lezlie - I would love to be able to listen to audiobooks at work, but I have to get up and walk around far too often (to get this or take that to someone or something such). I like the mysteries on audio as well.

*Verbatim - I like the idea of listening to familiar books on audio (although GE seems a little too heavy for me!) :) I have a huge stack of books I'd love to re-read, so maybe I'll try the audio versions.

*Jeane - I've listened to some where the narrator was absolutely irritating. My husband and I started to listen to Ender in Exile on our current trip and I finally willed myself to sleep because it was so annoying to listen to! :)

*Christina - I wish I had some suggestions for you--but maybe some others will leave some. I haven't read a ton of YA fiction, so I wouldn't know where to start. Maybe John Green?

Scrap girl said...

I just can't get into audio books. I lose concentration with in a couple of minutes and then have to go back and listen to it again. No, they are definitely not for me.

JoAnn said...

I love audiobooks and listen exclusively in the car, although I plan to start listening while walking, too. Audiobooks are hard to review - often the experience listening is totally different than reading, plus it's hard to go back for quotes, etc. I wrote a post in March about my favorite audios. You can find it at:

http://lakesidemusing.blogspot.com/2009/03/audio-favorites.html

Since I wrote that post, I've listened to several more that were excellent. The best was The Help. I have an audiobook tag that should make it easy to find some of the reviews if you're interested. Good luck, Trish!

Trish said...

*Teresa - We must have crossed comments. :) I like the idea of trying familiar authors--and also books that are more heavy plotted rather than character focused. I can't wait to continue learning what works!

*Scrap girl - It took me several attempts to be able to get through an entire book. And the lighter stuff definitely works better--something where I can zone out for a minute or two and still get what's going on.

farmlanebooks said...

I think the main thing you have to think about when chosing audiobooks is the quality of the production. It doesn't matter how good the book was as it can be so easily ruined by poor narration. Don't start listening to an audiobook until someone has recommended it (at least when you first start out listening) Have a look for the audies (audiobook awards) you should find some great ones there.

Shanra said...

I've had a few conversations regarding audiobooks; they're interesting things.

See when I was growing up here, most of the audiobooks in the library were for children. I suspect they still are. Though there the idea is as much reading along as it is to give them something to listen to.

I haven't listened to an audiobook since I left the children's section of the library. But I'd consider them books. You're just consuming them differently.

I do concur with farmlanebooks that no matter how good the book is, it can be ruined by a bad narrator and it seems like everyone gave you some great advice. ^-^ I hope it'll turn out to be useful advice too!

Mine would be to just try and review an audiobook or two to see how you like it. If you really hate it, you can just drop it and know you tried and it didn't work out. But I'd definitely count it in book tallies. It's a book, pure and simple. (Also, I suspect it takes up a lot more time than simply reading the book itself.)

valentina said...

I know exactly what you mean. I have tried to listen to audiobooks last year. I chose something that I wouldn't necessarily want to read on paper, but that I was still a bit interested in. Just didn't work, probably because I found the voices usually very annoying and distracting.And when you're listening to a story, and then you find yourself thinking "how annoying this voice is" or" grr I hate this tone of voice", then you've missed half a paragraph!
I don't mind listening. But it has to be live, at authors readings for example, with me giving them my full attention. But even then, it's hard.
So I think I'll stick with books on paper, and I'll listen to cds on long car journeys:D

Anne said...

I'd like to invite everyone to visit Sniplits (http://www.sniplits.com) where we publish audio short stories (from under a minute to about an hour) in most genres. They're great for commutes or just when you're stuck waiting for an oil change or the doctor. Our narrators primarily come from the Chicago theater scene and are terrific. To welcome Trish's friends, I'll send a free audio story to everyone who sends me (I'm the publisher) an email mentioning her blog: annestuessy@sniplits.com

Eva said...

I listen to audiobooks, and I review them too. I don't really think of them as 'less' than reading a paper book! Last summer, when I was learning how to sew, I was listening to so many! :)

Laura said...

I do try to stay calm and relaxed in my morning commute because there's not a lot I can do about it, but sometimes, it's pretty difficult! My biggest complaint about audio books is that they are really expensive, and the library doesn't have the greatest selection. I usually have to force myself to give an audio book at least 30 minutes because they are always annoying at the beginning.

Diane said...

What a great post! I am one who LOVES audio books. I always have (2) going: one in the car and one on my IPOD to listen to in bed.

The reader makes or breaks the book for me and I have given up on same books with a bad narrator, or a book with too many characters (for me that doesn't work --too hard to follow).

Some of my favorite audio books have been: In the Lake in the Woods; Tim O'Brien; Janet Evanovich (number series); The Art of Racing in the Rain; Stein; Fortunate Son; Walter Mosley (mystery); Lisa Gardner (any); Tallgrass; Sandra Dallas; The Boy in the Striped Pajamas; Boyne and Chasing the Dime; Connelly (thriller)--just to name a few.

I do count them in my totals, and post reviews -- for me, a book is a book.

What I find helpful is sometimes if the audio book is a long one, I'll get the print version from the library as well, and that way I'll get through it twice as fast (this also helps when the names are unusual).

Good Luck and happy listening--stay calm.

Chris said...

It's funny that you posted this today because I just decided to try audiobooks again and I'm really enjoying the one I'm listening to right now! It's called The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro, one of my favorite directors! He directed Pan's Labyrinth. It's really good and it's read by Ron Perlman. I think horror works really well for audiobooks because it has that suspenseful feeling. I don't think I could listen to just normal literary fiction on audiobook. I'd much rather read that. Happy Sunday Trish!!

Melody said...

I've only tried one audiobook but sadly, it didn't work for me. I'm not sure if it's the story, the narrator or it's just me, but I just couldn't get suck into the story so after this attempt I didn't look out for other audiobooks. Anyway, I didn't find too many audiobooks in our local bookstores because of low demand. I suppose most of the readers still prefer to read them in a book format than any other formats.

Literary Feline said...

I haven't yet tried audio books. I keep saying that if someone gets me an iPod, I might be amenable to trying it out.

My drive to work is about 25 minutes long and while I could listen to a portion of an audio book in that time, I really don't want to. My drive to and from work is my thinking time. And my radio time. I love listening to music in the car and sometimes it's the only time I catch any news during the day. I'm not ready to give that up. I could see listening to an audio book if I was on a long road trip. I'm sure my husband would be willing to go for that. We just don't do that often enough though.

joanna said...

I've been experimenting with audio books this year and although I'm not a total convert, I think I'm finding out what types I enjoy most. Audio books take some experimenting I think. I also have a concentration problem and found that non-fiction, memoir-type books work well on audio. If you space out for a minute it's not a big deal. I'm now listening to Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely and it's great - the narrator is fantastic and there is always something going on so I don't get bored. For me, audiobooks have to be plot-heavy. Books with lots of descriptions and flowery language don't work on audio for me.

Another great topic Trish! :-)

Debi said...

I've tried a couple of times, but didn't get far in either one. I haven't sworn off ever trying again or anything, as I do think I just maybe tried with the wrong books for me. If I do ever get through one, I will count it towards my yearly count though...and I think you should, too. :D

debnance said...

I used to listen to audiobooks when I had a terrible daily commute to Houston and back.

Now I'm only minutes away from work, so I rarely listen in.

I had a tough time following a novel, for some reason, but I had no trouble listening to good nonfiction.

violetcrush said...

I don't listen to audio books. I have The Terror but I played it for the first 5 mins and did not like it. I just cannot concentrate, I start day dreaming :)

If I listen to it while driving, I would be able to concentrate on only one thing which would be bad. I'm glad to know you don't like them too :)

Veens said...

I really wish I could listen to audio books... BUT i can't I have tried! I tried "listening" to The Christmas Carol and I couldn't concentrate!

So I already gave up n them! I can only Read :) :)

Paxton said...

I have a 20-30min commute to work so I spend the time listening to podcasts on my iPhone or downloaded audio books. I feel the same as you about audiobooks, I have to pick books that normally don't take a lot of concentration to listen to. I listened to Brimstone by Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child and it may have been a bit too long and involved. But I enjoy Star Wars/Star Trek books and other adventure/mystery stories.

Jeanette said...

I've never been very good at listening to audiobooks. I have a hard time staying focused on them and like you find myself rewinding them fairly often.
I've been attempting to listen to more when I am driving around. Since my kids are almost always in the car with me I have to pick kid friendly books. I've been wanting to re-read the Harry Potter and Little House books so I've started listening to them on audio.
Like you, I have not reviewed any of the books I've listened to. But I am thinking about it.

Heidi said...

The ones with the actual author reading are a big plus for me especially when it is non-fiction (memoirs in particular). In this case it makes a even closer connection with the author's meaning to have them speaking it. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert comes to mind. I loved the audio of her book so much and am glad I listened and didn't read in this case.

carolsnotebook said...

I love audiobooks, but only listen to ones that don't take too much thinking, you know. I never buy them, but will check them out of the library. I also find that they're great to listen to on car rides with our daughter, if it's something we can all enjoy.

Terri B. said...

I don't really listen to audio books. My mind tends to wander when listening to the spoken word. I have found some success listening to "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Murakami. It is more like listening to spoken essays on NPR. I still can't listen to anything I need to pay attention to when commuting (Los Angeles area) since I'm like you and need to pay attention to my driving and those jammed freeways.

Lisa said...

I don't listen to audio books. I occasionally think I might could listen while I sewed, but I can't in the car or anything. Even on our very long drive this week we didn't listen to them. I tried to listen to Brave New World on audio last year and it was a total flop. My commute is about 5 miles- home to daycare to work. Then 1.5 home for lunch, 1.5 back to work, then the 5 miles in reverse. That's not even enough time to find my place!

(I feel wierd commenting without reading the other comments, but otherwise I won't comment anywhere!)

Fyrefly said...

I can't imagine my reading life without audiobooks! I no longer have much of a commute, but I listen to audiobooks at tons of other times - mostly to make things like running on the treadmill at the gym or cleaning the house or doing boring mindless labwork more bearable. I totally understand needing books that are "minimal brain required" - I tend to listen to a lot of YA stuff, particularly YA fantasy, for that reason, because the books tend to be short (well, except Eragon!), and if I zone out for a minute or two I don't usually miss anything super-important.

Nymeth said...

My problem with audiobooks is that my mind tends to wander. A LOT. With a written book I can just re-read the paragraph, but with audiobooks I find that I miss whole chunks, and as the ones I tried were streams, it's difficult to rewind. So yeah, you are definitely not alone there. I'm sure they can be great experiences, but I still haven't found a way to make them work for me. I'll have to read through the comments to see what people suggested, but maybe we could try re-reads? A story we're already familiar with could work.

Karen Beth said...

I haven't tried listening to audiobooks, but my sister enjoys them as long as they are non-fiction, such as biographies or histories. With non-fiction, it's not as dire that you keep your mind directly on the words as much (for instance, when someone swerves into your lane and you stop paying attention to the audiobook!).

I do have a story about audiobooks, however. My grandmother, who was a lover of all literature, died in 1997 after battling breast cancer for five years. She had been bedridden for a long time, and the chemotherapy had weakened her eyes so much that she was no longer able to read. She turned to audiobooks for consolation, only to discover that her local library only owned about 10 books on tape, and they were all (somewhat trashy) popular mysteries. She started ordering audiobooks through various catalogs and book companies and then donating them to the library after she had listened to them. She believed that, next to her faith in God's ability to heal the body, audiobooks were the only thing that helped her get through each day. When she finally passed, the family asked on her behalf that all funeral donations be given to the library's audio-book fund, so that no person without the use of their eyes, whether through blindness, disease, or some other affliction, would have to be without literature. I miss my grandmother so much, but there's not a single time that I've seen an audiobook in a store or library without remembering her generosity and willingness to share her books with others.

Trish said...

My apologies for not getting to respond to everyone individually like I normally try to (for the few of you who are still subscribed to comments). One of those weeks. :)

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and insightful comments. It sounds like we all have varying opinions on audiobooks, and I appreciate everyone's input.

I really like the suggestions to listen to audiobooks of books you're already familiar with--I might try to find some for books that I've read years ago and would like to experience again.

Hope everyone is having a great week!!

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I totally admit that I've only listened to one audiobook in my lifetime and that was Harry Potter, which I LOVED! We did buy The Christmas Carol by the same narrator but haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. But I think audio books only work for me if I've read the book before. I already know what's going on.

I wish I could listen to more. I can't at home with the kids and when in the car I'm usually listening to some music CD for the kids or one of THEIR books on CD. Which actually they love looking at their books and turning the pages at the little beep. So I guess I am listening to audio books. But I don't think Thomas the Tank Engine is exactly what you had in mind!

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Both in the car and on my walks. Some books translate better to audio than others, but a couple that I really enjoyed were Firefly Lane and Thirteen Reasons Why.

Thoughts of Joy said...

With 42 comments, I'm not surprised you couldn't respond to all of them!

I wanted to say that I'm so glad that you are at least giving audiobooks a try. However, they are not for everybody. I happen to LOVE them! No surprise there. :) Ever since writing that post you linked (thanks), I have changed some. I stated that I didn't like listening to thrillers and serious books - well, I still am not excited about listening to those genres, but I have resorted to adding them to the mix. Mainly because I just don't have the time to read all the books I'm interested in.

In the long run, I believe it all depends on your own personal goals. If you want to enjoy listening to books, you figure out how make that happen. A person can create pros and cons in every situation, so it's a choice - what list do you want to focus on?

Trish said...

*Natasha - Um, well, no Thomas the Tank Engine probably wasn't what I had in mind, but if it gets your kids interested in books that's still really exciting! Many people have suggested listening to audio of books you're familiar with, so maybe I'll try Harry Potter!

*Melissa - I haven't heard of Firefly Lane, but I've heard great things about Thirteen Reasons Why so I'll have to check it out.

*Joy - I guess people are really opinionated about audiobooks. :) I've really enjoyed my experience, but it is a learning experience. I have to know when to turn off the CD when I'm struggling and just can't stay focused. Rather than get frustrated and keep rewinding, I just turn it off for another time. I think I might try books that I've already read or possibly non-fiction. But I do think of you as my audiobook guru. :)

3m.michelle said...

I love audiobooks and I do count them and review them. If I can, though, I also try to have a print copy for quotes, etc.

Some of my favorite audiobooks are To Kill a Mockingbird (Sissy Spacek), the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, and the Harry Potter series.

I also use audiobooks for when I've committed to reading the book but just can't get into actually reading it (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao).

I always have an audio in the car, and my kids and I also like to have one that we're listening to together. It's a great family experience.

I know audiobooks are not for everyone, but I really enjoy them!

TheBlackSheep said...

Unfortunately I didn’t get around to my blog list last week or I would have answered a lot sooner. I am an avid audio book fan. I’ve gone through 78 books so far this year and 61 of those have been audio books. I listen to them while walking the dogs, cleaning the house, while knitting, driving to and from work, at work while I’m filing and billing which are both supremely boring jobs, when I’m outside doing work at home, or just outside with the dogs…in short, they’re going to either have to bury me with my iPod in my ear, or surgically remove it.

It all started because I don’t have a lot of time to actually sit and read books and it was either read or knit and I wanted to read and knit. I was hooked from the beginning, especially since I started off with one by Thomas Hardy while cleaning windows. Neither Hardy, nor cleaning windows, is particularly thrilling, so getting both “done” at one time was brilliant. I had a lot more patience for Hardy since I didn’t have to lose time sitting and ploughing through his book, as it were.

Since then, it’s become a habit. I’m much better at paying attention to them now and don’t have to backtrack as much. Still do sometimes, but not as often. I actually find that, because I have more time to listen to them at one stretch and can return to them more quickly than a physical book, I get more out of the books. I don’t lose the plot and forget what I’d already read, which makes it easier for me to analyse the book in the end. It’s easier to see the book as a piece instead of as bits added on each time I have time to read, if you see what I mean.

The only disadvantage I see with audio books is that if you really wanted to study a book, especially for a class, you would find the audio book difficult. You can’t mark places, highlight, post it, or make notes on an audio book. You really do have to have the written version for that. Still, as a first or second read of the book, the audio book would be helpful, just to get the feel of it and to get to know the story. Our teachers always told us you needed to read a book more than once to really understand that and an audio book would be a good, time saving way of doing that, even if it can’t replace the hard copy.

Oh yes, to answer your other questions, the reader is REALLY important. A bad reader can kill a great book, just as a really good reader can keep you hooked on a book you might not otherwise finish. That’s why Librivox is such a hit and miss thing. They have some really poor readers that kill the books, so I prefer my Audible books. Having said that, I just found a brilliant version of Jane Eyre on Librivox (it’s the third reading if you want to look it up, or mail me and I’ll send you the link). So there are some really good ones. Then there’s the recording quality. If it’s bad, I can’t stick with the book. I’ve only ever encountered one like that though. There have been a few audio books I haven’t finished, but only a few. In general, I find it easier to get through books I don’t really care for in audio form than in written form. The few I stopped listening to were either really poorly written and I wouldn’t have finished them anyway, or the reader was so bad I couldn’t stand it. I also find myself more prone to trying new genres with audio books, since, like I said, they are easier to stick with if I don’t care for them. I’m less willing to sacrifice my scant real book reading time with books I’m uncertain I won’t like. And yes, I do count them towards my yearly book count since I do get as much out of them, or more, as I would with the written version. Again, the only caveat is that if I have to actually study a book, I have to read it.

I really like audio books, can you tell?