I hold up my hands, I know that audiobooks are probably not the coolest thing to be into, but I absolutely bloody love them. I’ve always been a big reader but I do find being a working mum not especially conducive to having loads of time to indulge this, and it’s increasingly rare that I’m able to dive into a good book like I used to. If I’m not working, I’m looking after the kids, if I’m not working or looking after the kids I’m doing chores, if I’m not doing any of those I’m trying to squeeze in precious time with friends and family, and in that rare and peculiar 2.6 minutes at the arse-end of the day that I’m not doing any of those things at all, I’m usually semi-comatose on my bed, trying to weigh up if I can muster the energy to reach over to turn out the lamp while my book gazes accusingly at me from the bedside table.
Discovering audiobooks was a total revelation for me! For a similar price to a Netflix subscription (or 1 paper book a month) I have a subscription to Audible for 1 audiobook each month, which is generally, give or take, roughly the time it takes me to get through an average length one. I have the app on my phone, so I can just listen to it from there, either through my headphones, my car or just with my phone on loudspeaker. It’s always with me and takes 2 seconds to start it playing.
Here are 5 reasons why I think audiobooks are ace:
1) They make boring tasks less boring
Whenever I have to do some kind of mindless dull-as-shit task like folding washing, unpacking the shopping, running on a treadmill or washing up, I pop my audiobook on and it becomes an enjoyable activity instead of a crap one. Sometimes now I even look forward to boring tasks as it’s an excuse to catch up on the next couple of chapters.
2) Long car journeys pass really quickly
For my photography work I often have to make long journeys to clients’ homes or wedding venues in different parts of the country, and I used to dread them. They were fine for the first hour, but after that I’d get so sick of listening to my own music, would tire of local radio and the time would really drag. Listening to an audiobook makes the car journey fly by, and often I’ll sit in the car at the other end wishing the journey was a bit longer so I can finish the chapter or start the next one. The same applies for long journeys to visit family or friends, or getting stuck in traffic. For long journeys with the kids I’ve bought kid-friendly audiobooks instead which go down really well – last time Joe chose a David Walliams one which was brill.
3) It’s really relaxing being read to!
Kids get read to all the time, but it’s something that rarely happens to us as adults, and it’s a real pleasure to indulge in this effort-free enjoyment of a good story. Sometimes when I’m really exhausted I’ll just get in bed, turn the light off and put on an audiobook. I don’t even have to lift my hand to turn a page or even open my eyes. If Adam’s also in bed with me I can just put headphones on so it doesn’t disturb him (it’s a hotbed of passion in our house.) It’s so rare to be totally physically immobile whilst still awake so it feels wonderfully indulgent, so relaxing and like I’m really caring for and treating myself.
4) You can let your imagination rampage around
Because you don’t have to concentrate as much as reading yourself, it frees your imagination to fire up, and I find that I often form a really vivid visual picture of locations and characters etc when I’m listening to an audiobook. I really enjoy this form of ‘daydreaming’ and find it a welcome distraction from the daily grind where you end up seeing similar stuff every day. Similarly, if you get a good narrator then they can really help bring characters to life by showing different dimensions to their personalities through the way that they choose to portray them, which might vary from how you’d have pictured them reading solo. CAVEAT – some narrators are really bloody annoying! It’s well worth reading the reviews before purchasing to make sure other people haven’t been irritated.
5) It’s a good excuse to read cheesy crap
The one drawback of audiobooks is that it’s not particularly easy to flick back to check details, names, plot details etc. Obviously you can forward/rewind through them but as you can’t actually see or scan the words it’s much harder than just flicking back through the pages to find key people/events like you would in a paper book (one reason why I prefer paper books to kindles.) For this reason, personally I steer clear of any complicated, deep or heavyweight books when I’m choosing audiobooks. I want to be able to follow the story clearly and not have to faff around on my phone searching for some obscure details and concepts that I couldn’t absorb first time round. So for audiobooks I tend to favour easily-followed, page-turner crime thriller type stories, and leave the more serious, highbrow stuff for reading myself in a proper paper book. Consequently, I choose and enjoy totally guilt-free the kind of cheesy ‘holiday’ reading that I’d feel a bit of a tit buying in paper form. As they’re hidden on my phone and not displayed on my bookshelves, I can escape judgment and keep my embarrassing guilty secret reads to myself. Plus, Audible has a fantastic Great Listen Guarantee, where basically you can get a full refund if your questionable choice in book turns out to be genuinely shit. Winner!
So that’s why I love them! Coming up on the blog soon, I’ll share a few of my audiobook recommendations 🙂
If you enjoy them too, please do chime in below with any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!