I found time to tackle the daily topics for Audiobook Week before I left for vacation, but since I found I didn’t have quite enough to say for any of them to warrant separate posts, I’m condensing it all into one.
- Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen? This is your chance to introduce yourself and your general listening experience.
I’ve averaged just over one audiobook per month for most of the past year, which is just about what I plan for; I divide my audio time between books and podcasts, and that works out about right if I don’t want my podcast listening to get too far backlogged.
2012 was my first full year as an audiobook reader, and the first time I included an audio selection among my Books of the Year. I’ve discovered that “genre-influenced” literary fiction (it’s a thing, I swear) seems to work better for me in audio than more conventional fiction does (although not always); that I particularly enjoy comedic science fiction in audio format; and that audio may be becoming my preferred format for memoir and autobiography, particular when read by its author/subject.
How do You Choose Your Audiobooks?
- How do you decide what you’ll listen to? Do you mostly listen, or split time between listening and reading? Particularly if you split time, how do you decide what you’ll consume in audio and what in print?
I still read print more than audio, but adding audio to the mix definitely allows me to read more overall. (I’m still kicking myself over the fact that I didn’t turn to audiobooks until just two years ago, but I’m pretty sure they’re here to stay!) It also has led to my reading more in the “entertainment memoir/autobiography” genre specifically. Celebrity memoir has long been guilty-pleasure reading for me–for years it was so guilt-inducing I shied away from it entirely–but since I’ve had some very pleasant experiences with these in audio, the guilt has dissipated (but I’ll still read these only when alone, in my car, with no book covers to be seen, so I guess it’s not all gone).
- What do you do while you listen? Any particular tasks or games that you find amazing for audio time?
This is the “reading” I do during my daily commutes, and while that theoretically gives me a good ten hours each week in the car to devote to it, that’s not usually how it works, mostly because I’m not always alone in the car. I love that audiobooks have given me a way to feel like I’m accomplishing something while creeping along the freeway, but while most of what I listen to wouldn’t necessarily be inappropriate for my most frequent car companion–my 13-year-old stepson, shuttling to and from school and/or his other parent’s house–it probably wouldn’t be terribly interesting for him, either.
That said, my best listening experience of 2013 has probably been sharing the audios of the original Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy with Spencer, which I posted about earlier this month; he read the whole series in print for the first time last year. I’m not sure I’ll ever read it in print again–I enjoyed the audiobooks that much.
- Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? Buy your audiobooks? Share your secrets with the rest of us! We’d particularly love to know what narrators or publishers are active in social media or do a great job communicating with listeners.
When I decided I was ready to take the plunge with audiobooks, I signed up for a monthly-credits plan with Audible.com–they’ve been the source of every audiobook I own, except for the Harry Potter ones (digital downloads of those are exclusively available at Pottermore.com). I think that the digital-download format–as opposed to boxes of CDs–was a big factor in my willingness to try audiobooks at all, and Audible’s app has a prime spot on my iPhone screen.
Audible also does a good job of bringing quality audiobooks to my attention, both on their own site and as a frequent sponsor of the Slate Culture Gabfest (part of the podcast rotation I mentioned earlier). However, this is a format where I’m more likely to look for reviews and recommendations from book bloggers than for any other reading that I do–those I rely on most tend to come from Candace, Sandy, Jen, Jennifer, and Michelle, but I’ve always got my eye out for something good, so please feel free to leave a recommendation in the comments on this post!