I’ve recently discovered audio books, y’all. And I’m afraid I’m completely hooked now.
My first audio book experience was in 2005. I had downloaded a book to my mp3 player to listen to it on a long flight to New Jersey. I don’t remember what it was… might have been something by Ken Follett but I’m not sure.
It didn’t take long after I got started, that I realized that I couldn’t concentrate on it. My mind started wandering… I kept drifting off… I had to repeat chapters because I couldn’t remember what was said. And so I decided, that the audio book format wasn’t for me. I decided that I had to actually read the words myself to fully experience and understand a book.
Switch to 11 years later. S has become an avid listener to audio books for a while now. She says, she can combine her favorite coloring with reading… errr… listening to a book at the same time. She said, she’s able to fully concentrate on the audio while coloring, her mind is not drifting to other places, and she loves the experience. She’s also tested the audio book experience on longer drives alone in her car and said it’s awesome. Time flies! You don’t even mind standing in traffic jam anymore.
Naaah… I thought. Not for me. I don’t really color that often, I love listening to music in my car…
Then came a day where I listened to one of Lainey’s (www.laineygossip.com, yes I’m an avid reader of her blog, deal with it!) podcasts. I normally don’t do, but I was through with reading every word on her page and she had a special theme for that very podcast, so I thought I’d listen. Meanwhile I kept coloring. And then the podcast was over and I thought “well, that was nice!” and kept looking for other podcasts on her site. I liked listening…
So does that mean I should give the audio book a try after all? Hmmmm…
S told me about Audible.de (a US audio book company that belongs to Amazon, Audible.com on the international market). The thing with Audible is, that you can buy yourself a subscription that costs EUR 9.99/month and you get one audio book per month. If you want to buy more than one book per month, you have to pay EUR 9.95 for each other book. That is cheap if you check, how much audio books normally cost outside of such a subscription.
I wasn’t sure about that. What if I don’t like it? Well, you can stop with your subscription at any time, so there’s really no risk. Also, if you sign up you get the first book for free anyway. So if I find out it’s not my thing, I can cancel everything right away.
Fine. So I signed up.
First book I downloaded was the latest by highly popular German author Juli Zeh, called “Unterleuten”, (more about that in another post) and began listening.
And oh my God.
Not only the book… which has found its way into my personal book hall of fame immediately… one of the best books I’ve EVER read (heard)… the listening experience was extraordinary. I can’t even begin to say how much I have enjoyed it! Yes, listening and coloring goes along well, but not just that. I listened to it while being out for a walk. While preparing food in the kitchen. While eating. While cleaning. While ironing. Or just so… laying on the couch, doing nothing but listening. My mind never drifted just once, which is also of course thanks to that AWESOME book! No doubt. But I’ve since listened to some more books and I can say that, right now, I don’t feel like reading myself anymore. Which is absolutely crazy! I LOVE reading! But I’m also sure I wouldn’t have read as many books in the same time like I have listened to audio books. Because you are able to do other things while listening. If you read a book, you sit somewhere and read it and you’re not able to do anything else. The funny thing with an audio book for me is – and that’s exactly what S has described – the more you’re doing, the better you can concentrate on it. True! No matter what it is: be it housework, coloring or walking… I am able to 100% concentrate on what is being read to me. Much more than just sitting there and only listening. Why that is? I don’t know. I would really like to know if others have the same experience. I wonder if there are audio book lovers who HAVE to sit still to concentrate or if it’s a very typical thing that the more active you are, the better you can concentrate.
I’ve spent 4, 5.. sometimes 8 or 9 hours listening to a book. Depending on the length, that makes one book per day, sometimes 2 or even 3 days, when it is a veeerry big chunkster ;-). On weekends at least. It might have helped that I’ve only worked 4 hours per day for the last 1.5 weeks and therefore had more time to spend with a book. Fact is: working or not, I don’t stay actually reading a book for so many hours at once regularly. It’s more the exception, really.
Whatever the case. I’m hooked. I’m so crazy hooked right now that it’s getting a bit, um, expensive. The whole eBook reading has already become expensive because it’s so easy and tempting to just click on the buy button in your app. I would have NEVER bought all the paperbacks/hardcovers of all the books I’ve downloaded over the past year. Me. The “I’ll never read eBooks ever!” shouter. But don’t worry… I’ve eaten my own words about a thousand times by now.
And now I’ve gone from eBooks to audio books. WTF???
And it’s getting worse.
Yesterday I checked Audible for English audio books. Would I be able to follow an English narrator? I have read the one or other English book and was usually able to follow just fine. But listening to the spoken word is a different thing. I’m still not able to follow an original movie because it’s just too difficult for me to understand the actors… especially when they speak in accents, speak very fast, or when there’s a lot of action noises around. Now is narrating an audio book not like acting in a movie, so I guess it would be easier to understand.
When opening the section for English books on Audible, the first thing that jumps into your eye are the Harry Potter books.
I’m one of the 5 people on this planet who hasn’t read Harry Potter. I’ve seen the movies because S has read all the books and totally loved them (is there even anyone who has read and NOT loved these books?) and wanted to see the movies. The movies were alright but nothing that has ever inspired me to reading the books. Never had the desire.
Now here were all Harry Potter audio books, narrated by Stephen Fry, a British comedian, actor, writer and overall well known public figure. I clicked on audio sample. 5 Minutes. 5 Minutes of Stephen Fry, in a wonderful, irresistible very British accent, reading the first sentences of the first Harry Potter book.
Can you believe I was sad when it ended? Can you believe I was totally charmed by these first words and the way they were read?
Jeeeesus. Where does this lead me to? 😀
I went back to the book I was listening to at that time, now wishing the narrator would hurry up (the book wasn’t exactly a 5 star winner anyway) and I kept wondering whether I should start my own Harry Potter experience with the audio book version.
Skip to this morning, I’ve just bought and downloaded it. I will keep you posted…
My goal is also, to write some reviews about all the books I’ve recently, um, listened to. (Kind of funny to say I’ve listened to a book. But I have a feeling you and I better get used to it…)