Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove, where today I want to talk audiobooks!
I listened to my first audiobook about three years ago. I wasn’t sure audiobooks were for me: I’ve always had a much shorter attention span when listening to a text instead of seeing and reading it, and a much shorter memory too. Yet somehow audiobooks work for me. I fell in love with them because they allow me to read and actually get things done in the meantime and in doing so they provide the ultimate escapism.
But to say they make me a better person is surely a stretch? Well, no. And here’s why:
I’m a worrier. You know the saying the devil makes work for idle hands to do? Well, for me, it’s idle brains that’s the problem. The second I’m doing something that I don’t really have to think about, like household chores, gardening, or even driving, my mind runs away with me. I worry about everything, and worried Kelly becomes anxious Kelly and anxious Kelly becomes snarky snappish Kelly and no one wants snarky snappish Kelly, including me! Enter audiobooks. They don’t allow my idle brains to wander off to dark places and roam around worst case scenarios. If I want to keep up with the story, I have to focus and there’s no time for worrying. It’s the magic solution!
Likewise, when I’m in bed and I’m supposed to shut down, my brain fires up and starts to overthink literally everything. Enter audiobooks. Focusing on the narrator’s voice helps me to calm down and stops me from conjuring up a dozen doom scenarios that keep me up all night. (Mind, the calming bit doesn’t work if the audiobook suddenly gets very suspenseful!)
I am also a very impatient person, I try not to be but most of the time that doesn’t work, AT ALL. I’ve found that audiobooks actually make me a little less impatient. Instead of getting annoyed at the slow driver before me, I just enjoy my audiobook a little bit longer. Instead of getting annoyed at myself for not completing a household chore faster, I’m happy that I get to listen to another chapter.
Over time I’ve changed my routine a little. I used to only listen to my audiobook on the go when I knew I had a lot of listening time ahead, like during my daily commute, or while doing household chores like ironing, or mopping the floors. However, a few months ago I had a very stressful time and quite frankly, I needed constant distraction, ‘cause every second I allowed my mind to wander triggered a mental meltdown, so I listened even when I had only a few minutes to spare. Things (and I) have calmed down, but the routine stuck and now I go through about twice as many audiobooks as before! Even little things you think won’t take long, often take longer than you think, and I’ve realised that listening to a book is the same as sitting down and reading one: if you’re waiting for a huge amount of interrupted reading time, chances are you won’t read a single page all day, but if you’re willing to read/listen in smaller chunks, by the end of the day you’ll have read/listened to much more than you thought possible.
Not sure whether audiobooks are for you? Here are some thoughts:
Find out what works for you! There are audiobooks in all shapes and sizes, don’t just lump them together, you might adore one book and hate another. Maybe you like a single narrator, or a dual narration, but there are also full-cast narrations, and even dramatizations, where you get little to no narration but lots of dialogue and even sounds, like a car door slamming or a phone ringing, it’s like watching TV without the actual images. Personally I’m not that much of a fan of the latter, because the background noises can be very distracting, but they do make the story come alive so if you think audiobooks might be kind of boring, dramatizations may be for you!
You might be one of the lucky ones whose library has an audiobook service, so be sure to check your library first! In Belgium, there’s no such thing and I mostly use Audible.
Whichever service you use, you can listen to a sample before you buy! Always do! It’s long enough to give you a realistic idea of the narration, and whether it’s for you or not. For instance, I listened to a sample of Attend by West Camel and decided not to buy it because the narrator spoke with a strong accent that I found difficult to understand. I’ve also refrained from buying audiobooks when I notice that the narrator doesn’t “do voices” and just reads the book, or when I don’t like the narrator’s voice at first listen.
You can adjust the speed of the narration! I’ve never listened to an audiobook without speeding it up at least a little. What I like about Audible is that the leaps are very small, allowing you to really customise the speed of the narration.
All the audiobook providers I know have a trial period, allowing you to listen to your first audiobook for free!
With Audible you can return your book if you’re not enjoying it. They’ll give you a refund so you can purchase another.
With Audible you get to keep your books, even if your subscription is terminated. I’m not sure about other providers.
Be smart about your (Audible) subscription! There are special discounts on a regular basis, keep an eye out and subscribe when the price has gone down. If you want to, you can terminate your subscription afterwards, Audible may even offer you a free credit, or an additional period at a reduced price to coax you into staying. As today is Black Friday, there should be some special offers, be sure to check your Audible app today! The week between Christmas and New Year’s is usually a great time for special offers and discounts too.
Audible gives you one credit per month that you can spend on any audiobook you want. However, there are also special deals for Audible members, like two for 1 (get two books with 1 credit), or books at a reduced price (2 or 3 pounds a book), and there’s also a daily deal, and special Audible non-fiction productions that are free to members (for instance Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets is very interesting and definitely worth checking out if you’re interest in the Victorian era!)
Short on credits? I often buy (discounted) books on the Kindle app and add the narration for a few quid. One credit (= 1 book) per month just doesn’t cut it and I can’t afford (can anyone?!) to pay the full price of an additional one, two, or more audiobooks per month. This used to make me feel a little guilty, because I wasn’t sure how much profit was in that for the authors, and I always felt like I was cheating the authors out of their money. However, I checked with Karen Sullivan from Orenda Books, and she assured me that it’s fine and I’m not robbing anyone ?
Interested in audiobooks? Be sure to check out Eline’s Lovely Audiobooks blog dedicated to audiobooks, and in particular her ultimate guide to free audiobooks! If you want to know more about audiobooks on Spotify, check out E.’s guide to Spotify audiobooks on her blog Local Bee Hunter’s Little Nook.
Thanks for joining me today! Do you listen to audiobooks too? Do you have a favourite? Or are audiobooks not your cup of tea? Tell me below! Or if you’d care to share your favourite audiobook provider, or perhaps a blog post or article I should read, please do!
Love this post Kelly! xx
Aww thanks Nicki ? That means a lot coming from an audiobook lover like you ?
I feel like you went into my head to write this ?
I only started listening a few years ago and it’s nearly doubled how much I read in a year. Like you, I get distracted easily and I don’t do well with idleness. I can’t really let my mind wander without getting worried, so audiobooks help me so much with getting things done.
I listen while doing chores, walking the dog, getting ready in the morning… I don’t dread stuff as much now, but actually look forward to having the time to listen to a book!
Thank you, so happy it resonated with you!
I got into audio books early this year when i had trouble sleeping cuz my mind just wouldn’t stop coming up with all kinds of weird things in the middle of the night 😀 They did help a lot!
I love audiobooks that enhance the story. Not just simply someone reading a book out loud. I really liked Illuminae, Hydra (#2 in Six Stories) and Eleanor Oliphant.
The Six Stories series are amazing, defo my favourite audiobooks ever, especially Hydra (Arla!!). Have you listened to Daisy Jones and the Six? Defo enhances the story! I’ve read Eleanor but I’ll check out Illuminae ?
I did listen to Daisy Jones, yes! It was pretty awesome <3
Illuminae – i think it's best when you look at the book while reading – cuz there are actually pictures and other weird stuff to look at, so it's almost like you need both to get the full picture.
Great post! I’ve been an audiobook fan for probably twenty years, and way back then I used to buy CDs and transfer them to iTunes 😊
Oh wow, twenty years! Have you seen an evolution then? In terms of production quality or something? Thanks for commenting and subscribing, Cathy xx
I love this post so much! I am a worrier too, so audiobooks help me focus on something else, and if it’s a good one, I manage to relax and enjoy the books! xx
Thanks Meggy! It sucks that we’re worriers but it’s great that we find solace in audiobooks 😊
Great post! I don’t listen to a lot of audiobooks but I always have one on the go and like you use them to ward off too much thinking and worrying! I like the dramatisations too, though sometimes those background noises can be quite scary – more than once I’ve thought the noise was real, which isn’t good if it’s ghostly fingers tapping on the window pane or a child screaming… 😱😂
Thank you! They really are great for warding off unwanted thinking aren’t they 😄 If I heard a child screaming while driving I’d probably cause an accident 🙈
Such a great post! I have to be honest here and say that audiobooks just aren’t for me… I love the idea of audiobooks, and I’ve tried a couple in the past, but I’ve found that I’m just unable to concentrate on the audiobook while also doing other things. I tried listening while doing exercise, but my speedwalking slowed down so much that it was hardly walking at all while also missing part of the chapters when cars go by etc etc I tried cleaning/doing chores while listening, but that resulted in either a clean house or me following the story, not both haha. I can do multi-tasking, but apparently not if it involves listening to someone narrate a book. xD
Thanks Yvo 😊 I thought that would be the case for me too, and I’m so happy it isn’t! Walking while listening is not ideal, passing cars and other noise ruin the experience. I’ve never tried it while working out on my crosstrainer, for the same reason why I can’t sit and listen: my eyes need something to focus on, so I read on my e-reader or I watch Netflix, the idea of listening to an audiobook instead puts me off 😂
Oh I totally get that! I really have to give audiobooks another shot in the future though, although I’ll have to think about when would be a good time for me to listen. While cleaning maybe?
I do enjoy them most of all while cleaning, cos that seems to be the most brainless activity, and the times when my worrying and anxiety really took over. Seriously, thank God for audiobooks!
Thanks for linking up to me, Kelly! And sorry for the late answer — I got distracted
That’s an amazing post! I’m also a super anxious person and I started listening to audiobooks when my anxiety was on the override (and to have something keeping me company during a slow internship) so I relate! And I was worried that I won’t be able to focus but surprisingly that comes much more easily than other auditory stimuli? Perhaps because of the earphones and that the voice actors really work well to ‘act it out’ 😀
Most welcome 😊 I know nothing about audiobooks on Spotify and clearly you do 😄
Thanks 😊 I’ve found a few kindred souls through this post, lots of us are worriers or suffer from anxiety and audiobooks seem to be helping a lot of people.
The narrator makes a huge difference, I find some voices really hard to focus on!