Audiobooks – not all terrible!

Recently, Jen at Devourer of Books held/started/came up with Audiobook Week and the audiobook love was to be found everywhere: Jen @ Devourer of Books obviously; Literate HousewifeBeth Fish Reads (and some older audiolove from Shelf Love).

I’m an audiobook newbie, preferring as I do greatly the written word to the spoken one (I gave up on attending lectures very early on in my university career, although in my third year at least I was in the library morning day and night with the textbooks and notes), and being a very fast reader, the idea of spending hours and hours listening to something I could read in 3 hours max just seems such a huge waste of time. I even tried out an audiobook – Helen Dunmore’s Counting the Stars, which I found tedious and unable to engage or hold my attention. I listened to another half hour of it the other night and realised that it’s basically just about a love affair in ancient Rome – not my cup of tea, even written down.

I was not a fan.

So, determined to recoup my cycling time as reading time, (I’ve complained in the past about how my newly-discovered passion for navigating London on two wheels deprives me of all that reading time sitting on the Underground) and remove some of the monotony from my hour’s cycle into work, I set off this morning with one non-noise-excluding earphone in my left ear, listening to Stef Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves. Now. This is different kettle of aquatic creatures.

Firstly, one of the narrators has a Scottish accent. I married a Scot (not only for his accent, I hasten to add) and I watched Case Histories last night on iPlayer and sat enchanted listening to the Edinburgh brogues, so Sally Armstrong’s accent was nectar to my tired, traffic-noise-loaded ear.

Secondly, it’s a sort of murder mystery, coupled with historical North American settler drama, ooh and there’s a missing son, and two missing girls from fifteen years ago, and a daughter who died… the intrigue! How could I not get sucked in?

Anyway, off I pedalled… and it was wonderful! “Those poor girls” (who disappeared) had their story told as I battled up Chancery Lane hill (yes, I loathe hills of a morning!); Laurent Jamais’ gruesome murder was described as I cursed the street sweepers of Whitechapel who sweep broken glass from the footpath – into the bike path… The cycle was less tedious and the audiobook was something I could do while doing something else – and we all know how I love to multi-task.

I think I’m on to something here…

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8 thoughts on “Audiobooks – not all terrible!

  1. Audio Books 22 June 2011 at 8:19 pm Reply

    I love listening to books while i am working out. it really helps me focus on what i am doing and als oto keep going for longer periods of time. What kind of books are your favorite to listen too?

    • readingwithtea 24 June 2011 at 12:05 pm Reply

      Well I’m only just getting started but I think I will find the more plot-driven novels out of my literary tastes will appeal to me as audiobooks – not the literary fiction so much.

  2. Eva 23 June 2011 at 8:39 am Reply

    I’ve been a fan of audiobooks since I had horrible migraines in high school! I am also a fan of Scottish accents, so I ran over to the library catalogue to see if I could get Tenderness of Wolves. But nooo, they only have it in paper form. *sigh*

    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman is an excellent audio; the narrator does some delicious Caribbean accents. And I v much enjoyed Ireland by Frank Delaney: the book’s style really suits oral telling and the author’s Irish accent is nice. That’s a long one though!

    • readingwithtea 24 June 2011 at 12:06 pm Reply

      Sorry to hear about your migraines – I’m a migraine sufferer too, although fortunately infrequently. I can’t stand sound when I have a migraine though so audiobooks wouldn’t work for me then! I’ll look out for the two you recommend!

  3. A Damned Conjuror 23 June 2011 at 7:31 pm Reply

    I’ve never been able to get into audiobooks, I tend to lose focus and start thinking about other things like what should I make for dinner?

    I don’t mind audio plays though

    • readingwithtea 24 June 2011 at 12:07 pm Reply

      I can’t concentrate if listening is the only thing I’m doing. If I’m walking or cycling though, it takes up just the right amount of my brain. I’m going to try cleaning and listening this weekend 🙂

  4. musingsfromthesofa 24 June 2011 at 6:51 pm Reply

    I do struggle with audiobooks because of the time they take. So I tend to keep them for when I can’t be reading, like in the car or at the gym. I recommend Jeremy Irons reading Lolita. It’s amazing, because of his voice, because of the oral quality of the writing that I only noticed when listening to it.

    • readingwithtea 25 June 2011 at 2:49 pm Reply

      Jeremy Irons does have a beautiful voice. I’ll look out for him as a narrator.

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