For some reason, there’s a lot of resistance to change within the book community, but I am all for it. I’ll read a physical book, or I’ll read an ebook, or I’ll listen to an audiobook. I started listening to them when my family would make cross-country trips to visit my grandparents, and we’d drive the whole way. We’d pick up a couple of mysteries, listen to them in the car, and drive for 20-30 hours straight.
Last year, we joined Audible, and it’s totally transformed my days. Audible is not, by the way, the only way to get audiobooks. They’re available from multiple sellers in electronic formats, including iTunes, but they’re also available on discs that you can put into your computer and import to an mp3 player. I rent them from the library sometimes too, and you can always check interlibrary loan.
Listening to an audiobook makes my early morning walks with my dog more interesting. Rather than music, I’m currently listening to Dracula. In April, when I had to clean up sand that I’d used to protect our basement from flooding, I listened to The Great Gatsby. (see my Gatsby video, here) I listen to audiobooks while I’m doing dishes, while I’m driving, while I’m doing yardwork or walking the dog, and while I’m knitting on the couch at night with nothing to watch on tv.
Transform your time and bump up your reading list.
Audiobooks transform your busywork time, exercise time, or driving time into reading time. If you’re like me, and you worry about not reading enough outside of school books, listening to your books can really up your book count. It doesn’t eat away into your school time, it doesn’t keep you from doing what you need to do, but it still makes headway on your TBR pile.
Understand the difficult works.
For older books with weird, old diction, sometimes listening to it makes it easier to understand. That’s why English teachers will have students read aloud in class. It’s been proven again and again that reading things aloud, or listening to them, increases comprehension.
Appreciate the care in composition.
Even older books, things that were originally oral tales, like The Odyssey or Beowulf, were meant to be spoken aloud, and listening to them you pick up the puns, the slant-rhymes, the rhythm of the original composition. Not only does it make more sense this way (as does Shakespeare when read in Original Pronunciation), but you can appreciate the care the author (or authors) put into making these work, or that the translator put into maintaining these puns.
Audiobooks are for everyone. They’re especially helpful for those with a difficulty reading – including a friend of mine from high school with dyslexia who listened to all of her assigned books, and always did well in our AP English classes – but they’re not just for people with difficulties. There are a lot of great reasons to listen to audiobooks, and these are just a few.