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Audio books are just not the same?!

(62 Posts)
JacktomyDaniel Mon 04-Mar-19 21:16:38

I’m desperately trying to get into audiobooks. I’m an avid reader and can lose myself for hours (or could if I didn’t have the kids!) in a good book. Recently I’ve been struggling with lack of motivation to do anything and anxiety and a few people recommended this. Lie back, eye mask on and listen. I want to love it but can’t. I feel like a child being read to with all the different voices and the slow pace. Is it worth persevering? Would I be unreasonable just to give up a couple of chapters in?

GrubbyHipsterBeard Mon 04-Mar-19 21:19:47

I hate them too!

Thebookswereherfriends Mon 04-Mar-19 21:22:42

I always find I can’t concentrate on the story. When I’m listening to an audiobook my mind wanders terribly and I realise I’ve missed a chunk of the story. The only time I’ve got on with them was when I was commuting an hour each way for work and I would listen to a cd in the car. I could focus then because my mind couldn’t wander so much.

Goposie Mon 04-Mar-19 21:24:17

I can’t get on with them. I either find them hard to follow or fall asleep!

Blackcherrylatte Mon 04-Mar-19 21:24:26

I love audio books! I used to love books more but I've too many kids and not enough free time to actually read, it takes about 2 months to read a book, and when I get a moment in bed, one page in and I fall asleep.
So for me audio books are perfect, I can get through 2 a week. Connect to headphones and listen while shopping, or walking, or in the kitchen cooking or doing chores round the house, dishes etc.

rioroller Mon 04-Mar-19 21:25:50

They only work for me if I’m driving

In any situation where I COULD be reading.... I’d rather be reading.

Wellit Mon 04-Mar-19 21:25:57

I absolutely love them. I simply do not have the time to read. There are some I can't stomach but most narrators are fantastic. Harry Potter read by Stephen Fry is just magical!!

fleshmarketclose Mon 04-Mar-19 21:27:04

I've always been an avid reader but my eyesight is failing and I really struggle to see to read now. I found the switch to audiobooks quite difficult initially but I persevered and now really enjoy them. Try listening to a book you have already read to start with.

Justonemorepancake Mon 04-Mar-19 21:29:24

I use them only for driving, walking (ie scenarios where I can't read) and to fall asleep. I have insomnia and reading a book will see me still reading it at 3am. Any other time, I read. You do need to get a good narrator though so it's worth listening to samples first.

CurlyMango Mon 04-Mar-19 21:29:43

Audio books are fab. I read loads but also love being read to, it’s so relaxing. Listen to them at work, in the car, in bed or whilst hobbieing

Myusernameismud Mon 04-Mar-19 21:31:12

I still love reading books, and read as much as I can, but I always have an audio book on while I'm doing housework/cooking etc. I've got a really good, small Bluetooth speaker that I connect my phone to and listen to my hearts content. Occasionally if my mind wanders and I miss a bit, I'll just skip back 2 mins or so and re-listen.

I also love the BBC iplayer radio app, for all the Agatha Christie series and assorted other crime radio play thingys. Not a lot on there atm, but every so often there's a glut of really good stuff on there.

Madcats Mon 04-Mar-19 21:31:38

I listen to the radio to fall asleep so I find I need to be active (cooking/in a car etc) to listen to an audiobook.

Some narrators are better than others.

Does your local library hire out audiobooks/downloads? That might be a cheaper way to find your genre.

JacktomyDaniel Mon 04-Mar-19 21:32:23

Hmmm mixed reviews! I’m trying chalk man because of the great ratings but I just can’t take it seriously! I like my head to make the pictures and it’s like I can’t “see” past the voices! I’ll keep going but not sure it’s for me!

CallipygianFancier Mon 04-Mar-19 21:33:13

I always find I can’t concentrate on the story. When I’m listening to an audiobook my mind wanders terribly and I realise I’ve missed a chunk of the story.

Yes, I'm exactly the same. No good for me when driving either, I'm concentrating on driving and tune the book out, same when working. I have a friend who really likes audio books and podcasts when driving or doing repetitive work, but my brain clearly just doesn't work that way.

lovetheweekends Mon 04-Mar-19 21:34:00

I agree with pp, it totally depends on the narrator.
Also you can prob listen at 1.25 or 1.5 speed if it's too slow.

BlueSkiesLies Mon 04-Mar-19 21:34:55

I love audiobooks but I have to enjoy the narrator. Some I don’t get on with.

Also you can adjust the speed - sometimes I have to turn it down and sometimes speed it up.

Amfeelingfline Mon 04-Mar-19 21:39:04

I agree with some pp you have to have a good narrator or it’s rubbish, i’ve Listened to the crackanory series which are fab, even if you’ve seen them, some are more like interviews and I quite like that too, if you have amazon prime you can get a 90 days free trial so you can get an idea of it, and you can “return” the books if there is something you don’t like about them 🙂

Amfeelingfline Mon 04-Mar-19 21:39:42

I meant audible

Whathappenedtothelego Mon 04-Mar-19 21:40:17

I like them, but only when I am doing something with my hands. I can't just lie there and listen.
If I'm doing something repetitive and boring but quiet, like sewing on name labels, ironing, painting/wallpapering - or driving - then they are great.

If you are trying them in order to relax, could you try doing something "mindful" at the same time - adult colouring book? jigsaw?

theonetowalkinthesun Mon 04-Mar-19 21:49:20

I love them as long as the balance is the right: I don't listen to them when I'm just sat down/doing nothing because I'll get bored and impatient, and I don't listen to them when I am concentrating such as replying to a text message because I'll miss chunks.

But what they are PERFECT for is for a long walk (or other commute)- I really enjoy listening to them on my walk home and if I go for an hour's walk or if I'm on the bus somewhere - it's just right.

Would never just sit down to listen to one when I could just actually read a book. They're perfect for walking when you can't actually read the book. As PPs have said. Persevere! For walks!

Gentlemanwiththistledownhair Mon 04-Mar-19 21:50:28

I read very different books to the ones I listen to iyswim. So anything that I'm really interested in, I read. Audio books are for things like crime thrillers and lighter books that listen to whilst doing other things. (Lighter not a derogatory term btw.)

So, I've really enjoyed listening to things like the Robert Galbraith books or Harkness trilogy.

Maybe stopping completely is too much right now. Perhaps rather than just closing your eyes grab a colouring book? Then just try to get absorbed. Eventually you can just listen, but work up to that. I'm guessing the idea is trying to take yourself out of daily life for a while?

WonkoTheSane42 Mon 04-Mar-19 21:52:12

Listen while you’re doing something else that requires enough concentration to keep you awake but not enough to make your mind wander. I listen while cross stitching, crocheting, playing a video game without much story interaction, or driving.

Vitalogy Mon 04-Mar-19 21:57:04

I love audio books. Although it needs to be the same narrator all the way through or I find it very distracting. End up focusing on the voices/accents other than the story. I need to like the voice.

Lostthefairytale Mon 04-Mar-19 21:58:44

Audiobooks are my best stress relief tip. I have a really stressful and intense job. I listen in the car to and from work. I focus on the story rather than replaying whatever frustration i’m struggling with at work. If I find myself missing sections I realise quickly and refocus back onstage story. I also listen while i’m cleaning, that’s nothing to do with stress, I just makes a mundane task more interesting.

Disney2 Mon 04-Mar-19 22:04:50

Yes try listening when driving or doing a repitivw household task that doesn't require much concentration.

Also try Becoming my Michelle Obama, she reads it herself and is lovely to listen to. I wasn't massively into her beforehand but it's very inspiring and empowering.

IWantChocolates Mon 04-Mar-19 22:20:35

I listened to audiobooks while pregnant and finding it hard to sleep (saved me putting a light on and waking DH). It definitely depends which narrator you get but I found some great ones on YouTube with no adverts that were perfect ('Libravox' recording?). I've listened to some classics that I'd probably never have read otherwise.

binkyblinky Mon 04-Mar-19 22:21:26

I LOVE audio books. I listen to them and crochet. Last year I listened to over a month worth of books!

ZippyBungleandGeorge Tue 05-Mar-19 02:06:04

I like them if I'm doing something else; driving, cooking, gardening, makes household chores more bearable. If I could be reading an actual book though I prefer it, I just don't get as much time as I used to, an audiobook is a good way of multi tasking. The only exception is an autobiography read by the person, these are better as audiobooks because it is like someone just telling you about their life

JacktomyDaniel Tue 05-Mar-19 03:01:21

Thanks everyone. If I’m being honest was looking for a way to sit and relax without wine! I failed and fell asleep tonight!!
Will keep for other tasks and try some other strategies for unwinding at night

hazell42 Tue 05-Mar-19 07:23:32

I love both. I can only listen to audio books whilst doing something else. Walking, driving, cleaning. Then I can lose myself in a good audio book. I definitely couldn't put an eye mask on and listen
I'd be asleep in 5 mins. You do need a good narrator though. Some of the free recordings done by volunteers are bloody awful

GreeboIsMySpiritAnimal Tue 05-Mar-19 07:29:59

I love them but I couldn't just sit down and listen to one, I have to be doing something. I find they're perfect for housework - which I find very boring otherwise, and doesn't require much concentration so I can follow the story.

TheQueef Tue 05-Mar-19 07:35:11

I second listening to a book you've already read.
I like to listen to GOT if I'm distracted or if it's a new book sit in the kitchen and listen properly until I get enthralled.

If you are trying Audible don't forget you can return the book of you don't like it.

Justonemorepancake Tue 05-Mar-19 07:39:12

Rather than rewatching seasons 1-6 of game of thrones I am listening to them (never read the books) Loving it but it's a lot of hours to get through!

BarkandCheese Tue 05-Mar-19 07:48:20

I like to listen to them while cooking or doing chores, but I can’t just sit and listen, and if I listen to them in bed I fall asleep. I’ve found complex, nuanced fiction difficult to follow because I’m doing other things, however Jilly Cooper is perfect.

bananabagel Tue 05-Mar-19 08:56:52

I read a lot and I really enjoy audiobooks but I always had them as a child. I do think some literary books don't work as well as an audiobook and that I'd rather read them. Some of the performances are rubbish or the sound quality is poor so I try to be selective.

I use them when I'm cleaning, walking or doing a task that does not require too much thought. My recommendation would be to start with something that is a more straightforward narrative read by an actor you like.

downcasteyes Tue 05-Mar-19 14:48:44

I think some books are much more suited to being audiobooks than others. I suspect really trashy reads aren't that well suited, because you're just reading to turn pages, really, and you can do that so much faster with a paper book. Something a bit more substantial and rewarding by the kind of prose stylist whose work sounds good out loud can be great though!

DarlingNikita Tue 05-Mar-19 15:23:09

I find it hard too. Without anything to look at, my mind wanders and I get tempted by fiddling with my fingernails/rings/phone/etc.

Also, a lot of them are abridged and I really don't see the point of listening to an incomplete version.

I didn't know you could return Audible books shock

Zwischenwasser Tue 05-Mar-19 18:45:55

I totally agree with the others who say that the audio books that work for you won’t necessarily be the same as the ones you would want to read.

Narrator makes a bigger difference than the book to me tbh. I’d definitely say to get an audiobook of a book you have read, then it won’t matter if you zone out or fall asleep as you already know the plot.

If you fancy a challenge and you did a Language GCSE at SchooI you’d almost certainly be able to follow a teens/ young adult novel in that languagE. Audible has a good selection of books in French, German Italian , Spanish and Russian.

Sybil606 Tue 05-Mar-19 23:04:01

Try podcasts! I was wanting to get into audio books but can't stand most of the mundane and monotone voices used. I like an audio book with different voices or with at least some varying degree of lilt to their voice when reading. Fed up of searching I turned to podcasts! What a surprise! Try it may surprise you as it did me!

YesQueen Tue 05-Mar-19 23:43:58

I hate them. Hated being read to as a child and don't like someone trying to read something out to me blush
I read fast though over 1000wpm so I think that's why it annoys me

MsAwesomeDragon Tue 05-Mar-19 23:49:45

I love them, but only when I'm doing something else as well. So I listen to an audio book while I'm driving, or out for a walk (like walking to train station type walking, not if I'm out in the country and wasn't to listen to nature). Last week I was decorating and I listened to 3 audiobooks while I was sanding and painting. I loved it, time to myself, doing something productive but not getting bored while doing it.

I do still prefer reading for myself, as I read quicker than they do, and I like imagining my own voices for the characters. But listening is an alternative for when I can't physically read because I'm busy.

pallisers Tue 05-Mar-19 23:53:57

I think they are an entirely different experience..

I use them primarily when I am driving. I've listened to slow-moving books that I might have given up on if I was reading them. Wendall Berry's Collected Stories is one - it was wonderful - I loved getting into the car every day. But I doubt I would have read it. So in some ways that audio book was better.

It is a very different experience though. I couldn't listen to a book if I could have one in my hands instead.

bumblingbovine49 Tue 05-Mar-19 23:57:06

I prefer podcasts books. I love those and listen to lots of different sorts. They are the main reason I would really miss my phone if I didn't have it.

Calvinsmam Tue 05-Mar-19 23:58:11

I love audiobooks.

I always have a non fiction and a fiction book on my kindle and then an audiobook on audible, at any one time.

I listen to them while I’m cleaning or cooking or walking to work.
My house is always spotless if I have a good audiobook on the go, if I’m not enjoying my book my house gets neglected 😂

Me and my sister share an audible and kindle account and when we talk about books we always have to say If we read it with our eyes or ears.

HomeMadeMadness Tue 05-Mar-19 23:59:47

I like biographies via audiobook (especially autobiographies read by the author) but I couldn't read anything that wasn't quite light.

EllenOlenska Tue 05-Mar-19 23:59:52

There are various ones by Agatha Christie read by Hugh Fraser that are very good. has quite a few on their site.
They also have the ones done by David Suchet and a lot of the BBC drama adaptations (if that's your thing) though it's clear there is a wealth of audio of many genres on there.
I'm re-listening to Jeeves and Wooster radio plays with Richard Briars at the moment

Pinkjellyfish Wed 06-Mar-19 00:50:52

I love audiobooks! I needed them to get to sleep when I was a child. I get them either through audible or my local library (via BorrowBox). I need to be either in bed going to sleep or doing some kind of non-mental task like housework to concentrate though! Agree with @Ellen the Agatha Christies read by Hugh Fraser are brilliant!

Grace212 Wed 06-Mar-19 12:48:44

I'm not a fan of audiobooks either OP.

you say you are in that space where you have anxiety and cba to do anything - I don't think battling to persevere with something that you don't like is the way forward. Just because others love them doesn't mean we will.

Jebuschristchocolatebar Wed 06-Mar-19 13:10:12

I love audio books. I am a book worm and I read a lot. I also list to audio books in car, on the train, out walking. As others have already said it’s all about the narrator and the pace of the reading. We listed to them as kids all the time so I think the love of them has always been there for me. My 5 year old will listen to books for hours becuase he can’t read yet!

Bluebell878275 Wed 06-Mar-19 13:30:26

I love audio books. Usually listen to them in the car driving to and from work. Sometimes I listen at work to drown out the boring radio noise - I'm going to go mad one day from the repetition. I also listen to help me go to sleep.

I listen to Agatha Christie, random ghost stories, Harry Potter, Stephen King. Love it - just disappear into my own world.

paddlingwhenIshouldbeworking Wed 06-Mar-19 14:08:37

I can't get on with them either. I find I've missed huge chunks of the story as my mind wanders.

outpinked Wed 06-Mar-19 14:14:50

I personally don’t mind them but they’re not for everyone. Don’t worry about it, find something else that does help you.

ScatteredMama82 Wed 06-Mar-19 16:40:23

I think it depends on both the book and the narrator. FWIW I love them, I listen in the car to and from work and at night when I am too tired to even read I set up my audiobook on a sleep timer and it helps me to nod off. I used to read all the time but since having kids and DH working away all week for a while I'm just too tired to read so these are a good alternative.

VeganCow Wed 06-Mar-19 17:08:22

I normally hate the narrators voice so don't listen to many audiobooks. But recently I used the free Audible trial and listened to Set The Boy Free by Johnny Marr, and he narrates it too. It was bloody great, for any Smiths fans out there.

JacktomyDaniel Wed 06-Mar-19 19:00:36

Thank you everyone! I think right now it’s probably not right for me and Grace I think you summed it up!
I adore reading but find with a book just now I end up putting it down and wandering off or can’t focus on it. Was hoping audio would make me lie and relax! Definitely not right at the minute!
Maybe in the future!
So far I’ve hated podcasts. I hate the sound of people chatting so that’s a no go!

GregoryPeckingDuck Wed 06-Mar-19 19:02:18

I can’t tollerate slow paced rhetoric whether it’s reading aloud, a lecture or a conversation. I struggle to concentrate and get very frustrated and feel like banging my head against something hard.

Lovingit81 Wed 06-Mar-19 19:05:47

I love them, can't get enough!

misskatamari Wed 06-Mar-19 19:07:13

I think a lot really depends on the narrator. My absolute favourite is Ready Player One, read by Wil Wheaton - he does such a brilliant job, and the book is fantastic. I really enjoy his narration so have read a few other books purely as he's reading them. Stephen Fry is great too. He read the Harry Potter books and they're great on audiobook thanks to that. I also really enjoyed The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle on audiobook as well.

SachaStark Wed 06-Mar-19 19:27:27

I trained myself to use audio books about ten years ago when I stared my literature degree and realised I would never get through my reading list whilst also working part-time (and wanting the student night life as well!). I say "train myself" because it did take me a while to get used to taking in the story whilst doing other stuff.

Now, I love them! I listen to them every morning while getting ready, on my commute in the car, and whilst doing housework in the evenings. I read between a hundred and a hundred and twenty books per year, and there's no way I'd get as much reading done as I can with audio books whilst also working sixty hours a week.

itsbritneybiatches Wed 06-Mar-19 19:32:19

I can only my really listen to books I've read. I can't remember people names or details otherwise.

I only listen to it when I'm on the running machine it helps to distract me and gives me something else to focus on that's not running. Or jogging who am I kidding lol.

I prefer a book book. I read in my kindle ap but you can't beat the feel and smell of a book

Acrasia Wed 06-Mar-19 19:33:45

I often listen to an audiobook when cleaning. I hate the slow speed of the narrators, so I speed them up to at least 2x the speed. The Naxos Classics are usually excellent, Juliet Stevenson narrates most of Jane Austen’s novels.

1Wildheartsease Fri 12-Apr-19 07:37:06

I'm a devoted reader too but am getting to love audio books.

Some work really well. (Do try 84 Charing Cross Road. The letter format is a bit dull to read but great to listen to.) Some don't.

I find it impossible to relax by lieing still when anxious. My MIL persuaded me that learning to knit would work... and amazingly she is right. (She always said that there would be fewer wars if only more people knitted.) I love to listen and knit - or cross-stich - or crochet.

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