Audiobooks: the best thing since, well, books


About eighteen months ago I got suckered by a free trial into joining a subscription site that lets you pay a monthly fee in exchange for cheap(er) audiobooks. You may know the site I mean. And suddenly the number of books I was reading per year went through the roof.

At first, it felt a bit like cheating — like, I wasn’t actually reading the books, was I? Could I count them against my total books read for things like the Goodreads challenge? But then I realised how silly that was. Would I say a blind person listening to audiobooks wasn’t really reading them? Is their engagement with the story any lower than that of someone who absorbs words through their eyeballs? Hell no!

Since July 2014 I have listened to 51 audiobooks. And here are some of the reasons why I think they are most excellent.

Long car trips with children are easier. Of those 51 audiobooks, more than 15 have been childrens books. My son isn’t up to reading chapter books yet, but on long car trips with him, nothing beats a well-told story. Often there’s something in it for me too — for example, did you know David Tennant narrates the How to Train Your Dragon audiobooks by Cressida Cowell? In his divine Scottish accent? True story.

Commutes without children are easier. When I don’t want to listen to the news and there’s nothing good on the radio, I can while away the time listening to someone else’s story. Peak hour traffic is a breeze when you’ve got a talented voice actor pouring a fabulous tale into your earholes. (I’m a little bit in love with Marguerite Gavin’s version of Trent Kalamack from The Hollows series by Kim Harrison.)

Chores and exercise become tolerable. As Mary Poppins said, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Having company for those boring jobs — cooking dinner, cleaning the bathroom, folding the laundry — makes them just fly by. And when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to walk the dogs, rewarding myself with a half hour of stories is a great motivator.

Hard books are less daunting. I never read a memoir before 2015, when I listened to two of them on audiobook. I had also stopped reading epic fantasy novels of the sort that give you concussion if you doze off while holding them in bed. But I recently re-embraced my love of epic fantasy by listening to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which Goodreads tells me is 662 pages.

Colouring is twice as nice. Okay, this may be a weird one, but hear me out. I’ve recently gotten into adult colouring books. (I blame Lauren.) Colouring is a great, meditative way to keep my hands busy while my mind is off on a fantastical adventure. It’s more fun than folding the washing, and more satisfying than driving the car. Don’t colour while driving, though. #protip

I got a Doctor Who colouring book for Christmas. I know right?

I got a Doctor Who colouring book for Christmas. I know, right?

The downside

I wouldn’t be totally honest if I didn’t admit there was one drawback to audiobooks. This is it: when I go to review audiobooks, I often have to google the character names etc, because I don’t know how to spell them. :p

Are you an audiobook junkie like me? Please leave a comment so I don’t feel so alone!

Cassandra Page is an urban fantasy author and audiobook addict. She dreams of the day when those two worlds collide.

Cassandra Page

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