Like most authors I know, I choose reading as my preferred way to relax and unwind. Like most humans I know, I have far too little free time to do this as often as I’d like. In fact, sitting down to read has become more of the exception than the rule, which means I’ve had to take steps to ensure I get my daily literary fix.
How do I do it? Audiobooks. And I’m not alone.
Audiobooks are currently the fastest-growing digital format in the book industry, a trend I’m happy to be a part of. Whether I’m going for a jog, washing dishes, folding laundry, or acting as family chauffeur, I love being able to plug in my earphones and travel to my favorite fictional worlds in a flash. I don’t, however, travel to just any fictional world: I tend to travel to the ones I’ve been to many, many times before.
See, for me, it’s difficult to listen to a book I’ve never read before. I think it’s because I feel pressured to pay attention; I love things like word choice and sentence construction, and these are harder to pick up on in audio form. I always end up forgetting things and replaying entire chapters so I don’t miss important parts. (Especially if I’m listening to a mystery, where one small clue can change everything.)
This means that instead of discovering new authors in audio form, I turn to my favorites time and time again. In fiction, I can often be found indulging in Georgette Heyer, Elizabeth Peters, and L.M. Montgomery. (Though don’t get me started on the narrator who mispronounced Avonlea every time.) For nonfiction, my rules aren’t quite as strict; I love listening to autobiographies from the author’s own voices, even if the book is new to me. Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler are particular favorites.
Like turning on a favorite movie to play in the background, listening to these old favorites allows me to “read” as many books as I want while still attending to all those daily needs that come with having a family and a job. It’s not quite the same as sitting down on a beach lounge to read for eight hours straight, but it’s pretty close.
I also studiously avoid listening to my own books in audio form. I know a few brave authors who will do this to pick up on writing crutches or to re-familiarize themselves with their own worlds, but five seconds is more than enough to have me throwing the phone across the room and declaring, "Never again."
How about you? Do you audiobook? What kind of listening do you prefer? Any narrators you particularly love?
Tamara Morgan is the author of thirteen contemporary comedy romances and the new Penelope Blue series. Her books combine fast-paced antics and humor with heartfelt sentiment, and have been described as both “utterly unconventional and wonderfully smart.” Her debut novel was chosen as the Smart Bitches Trashy Books book club pick in April of 2012, and her books have since gone on to receive two starred reviews from Library Journal and three Romantic Times Magazine Top Picks, one of which was nominated in the 2014 RT Reviewers' Choice Awards in the Contemporary Love & Laughter category.
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