Meme

Something to Talk About

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This a Sunday feature here where we discuss specific topics related to books and the blogosphere.

 

Let’s talk audiobooks!

 

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My history with listening to books began when I was about seven-years-old. My parents bought me a vinyl record of Greyfriars Bobby, a true story of a Skye terrier in Edinburgh. I listened to that record at least 100 times, as children are prone to do with books. Fast forward a couple of decades and I was buying audiobooks on cassette tapes and later borrowing them from Cracker Barrel for road trips.

 

 

 

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I’m amazed at the current popularity of audiobooks, probably driven by the technological advancements in the medium (downloads) and the talent used in their production. Whole new careers in audiobook narration emerged (Robert Petkoff, Sebastian York, Andi Arndt, etc.) as book reviewers turned to rating their performances along with the story content. It’s become an extremely competitive field with many performers investing in their own recording studios. (See Vicci’s interview with Arndt @ Audio Killed the Bookmark)

 

 

 

09AE4344-7BFD-47F1-94A7-D9F85B6FCC1EAll of this is GREAT for avid readers. We now have alternatives to print or eBook reading, suddenly turning unproductive or boring time (waiting in lines, cleaning, long road trips) into a totally new experience. I personally listen to books not only while driving but also while grocery shopping (which I loathe), doing laundry, vacuuming, washing dishes…pretty much anytime I can’t hold a book. My husband gave me the greatest Christmas gift a few years ago, a set of wireless Bose headphones that I literally have worn everyday since. (I think it was more because the books were annoying him rather than something I really wanted.)

 

 

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There are some genres I prefer listening to more than others. I love mystery & thrillers on audio, especially with exceptional performers. I also listen to fantasy because it’s a tough genre for me and the narrators seem to help me better absorb the world building.

 

 

 

 

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This year, for the first time, the number of audiobooks I’ve listened to may exceed those I’ve read in eBook format. One of the reasons is my primary source for them is my rock star library. I’m so grateful that our librarian is so on top of what readers want and supports the recommendations feature (mine uses Overdrive). I also am fortunate to get many from publishers for review.

 

While I have quite the favorites list of narrators, I also use the sample feature religiously as I’ve had a few really bad reading experiences attributable to the narrator. It’s helped me avoid listening to a potentially great story marred by the performance. And, it’s helped me discover new voices.

 

Have you tried audiobooks?

Do you have genres you prefer listening to versus read in print or eBook format?

Who are some of your favorite narrators?

Do you buy, borrow or use a subscription service (Scribd, Kindle Unlimited, etc.)?

19 thoughts on “Something to Talk About”

  1. I’m listening to my 3rd audio book now, and it’s ok-ish…
    My first encounter was not pleasant. Couldn’t keep track of what was going on, even tho i actually read the book when i was 16. I figured if i tried a more simple story then i might like it, and turns out i was right.

    So as long as i find the right genre, i quite enjoy them i think 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post, Jonetta! First, I’ve never equated listening to audiobooks to my record-playing days, but they are absolutely connected. I can’t remember if I knew Greyfriars Bobby, but I wish I did! I do remember Benji! I had a Mary Poppins record that I wore out. I love audios for certain types of books. Thrillers and nonfiction tend to be my favorite genres on audio. YOU is the best audio I’ve ever experienced and my favorite narrator is Julia Whelan. Yes, audios are the best for accompanying boring tasks, and so much better than having the TV blaring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! Someone else who listened to children’s books on records.

      You was perfectly narrated. I read the book but listened to the second, Hidden Bodies and was blown away! Santino Fontana IS Joe! Made me want to go back and re-read You on audio.

      Most of the new mysteries I add to my shelf are on audio. Now that you mention non fiction, most I’ve read to date were on audio.

      I love Julia Whelan and also January LaVoy. I’ve added books on my shelf because they were the narrators. I’ve got a list of other favorites but these two are sure things.

      Hope you’re doing okay in this storm! We’re holding steady here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I need to check out January LaVoy and if I’ve listened to anything by her. You should definitely work in YOU when you have a chance just for the fun of it. I’ve not watched the TV show yet for fear that it won’t be as good as Santino was! (But I will, eventually). Very rainy here with some gusts. I am glad I can stay home and not worry about the roads. Certain areas are prone to flooding. I’m glad you are holding steady! ♥️

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I have those same Bose wireless headphones, they’re the best!! I haven’t made the leap yet to audiobooks but like you mentioned I’ve also noticed a big uptick in popularity recently. But I’m podcast-obsessed and listen to those while doing any chore-type activity so I think it’s only a matter of time before I try audiobooks this way. I get the impression it really depends on the narrator though?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t you just LOVE these headphones?!

      Yes! The narrator is key. That person can make a great book extraordinary or downgrade it to average. Since you read lots of non fiction, I highly recommend you try one on audio. Most I’ve read in the past year were on audio and I’ve loved the experience. Be careful, though, with older recordings as the attention on performance wasn’t as critical. (FYI, I downloaded Lolita on audio…narrated by Jeremy Irons, the actor portraying the main character in the film remake.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I LOVE them!! We put off buying them for so long because they’re pricey but I’m so glad we finally did, they’re really worth it!

        I had borrowed some audiobooks from the library when I was first trying to get into them and the problem then was that most of my time for listening was while walking or commuting, which in a big city without noise-cancelling headphones feels impossible to hear everything and I was constantly losing bits, plus the reader read so slowly it was hard to hold my interest. But I love informational podcasts so I think a good nonfiction on audio has potential! Will have to try it.

        I can’t wait to hear what you think of Lolita! I always picture Jeremy Irons in that role after seeing the movie, he just embodied it so well and so creepily. I bet he’s a good reader!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! You and Jennifer got me hooked on audio. I have favorite narrators including Andi Arndt, Gabra Zackman, Simon Vance, Davina Porter, STEVE WEST and many more. I tend to listen to fantasy on audio for the same reasons you do; it helps me get into more difficult starts with the world-building because of the performance.

    I had a whole collection of vinyls we listened to over and over from Disney including Swiss Family Robinson, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and many others. You’re right – it’s like the start of my audio book life. Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Jennifer helped increase my interest in audios, too. How interesting that we both like to listen to fantasy for the same reason!

      You know, I’d almost forgotten those vinyls until trying to recall my first audiobook. It occurred to me then that they count as audio listening of books. The only other one I can remember is Peter and the Wolf. Funny, I still remember all the songs from Greyfriars Bobby😍

      Like

  5. I love audiobooks! And I listen to them whenever I’m doing everything you mentioned! I have AirPods and they were the best investment I’ve ever made! Always clean with a book in my ear!

    I’ve listened forever since books were abridged and on tape, industry sure has come a long long way!
    Love this post and thank you for linking The interview!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A year ago, I was meh, when it came to audiobooks. Now, I probably listen to twice as many audiobooks than ebooks or physical books. I find that I have so much time where I am busy with my hands, but not my ears, so I listen to audiobooks. I like cozy mysteries better than others as they are easy to follow and listen to. BTW, when i visited Scotland, I saw the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby.

    Liked by 1 person

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