I’m a slow reader. Don’t try to assuage me with sweet sweet lies about how I save money on books (I don’t) or that I get to savour my books (really??). It just kinda sucks. It takes forever to get through a book, unless it’s “Harry Potter” type good, then maybe a day or two. Now it takes me even longer because I just don’t sit down and read anymore.
A friend of mine who is an avid reader told me she just doesn’t have time for books anymore, so she listens to audiobooks. I thought that was a great idea, and she suggested I try my local library’s website. If you have a library card you can download audiobooks for free. So I went to my library for a card and downloaded my first audiobook: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami*. It’s a short novel so I finished listening to it in an hour.
I don’t remember the last time I read a book in an hour.
However, the feeling of an audiobook isn’t the same. I’m a very tactile reader; I like to feel the pages, and turn the back cover over when I’m finished. The audiobook experience lacked this kind of satisfaction that I usually get with a paper book. However I was still able to enjoy the book, as well as do something with my hands (I was drawing at the time, but I can see myself doing lots of knitting with an audiobook going).
Having finished my first audiobook, I wanted to try another one — a longer one. My next download was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It always seemed interesting to me but I couldn’t quite get my head into the world. The audiobook helped with that! It was easier, for some reason, to situate myself in the novel’s story which is in the future in between a virtual reality game and real life.
Furthermore, with this second book I realized that the narrator is key to the enjoyment of the book. The narrator of The Strange Library was alright but nothing special. I’m really enjoying Ready Player One because Wil Wheaton is narrating and brings a lot of character and emotion.
I think as audiobooks become more popular (thank you, Audible, for sponsoring all my favourite YouTubers!) the narrators will be better and better, making the overall experience of an audiobook that much more enjoyable. I have already adjusted to not having a paper book when I tried ebooks, so this next step into audiobooks isn’t too difficult for me. I’m still having trouble calling it “reading,” but that’s just semantics. Here’s to absorbing more stories!
* I somewhat regret making this an audiobook choice because once I finished reading it I learned that the hard copy is full of illustrations. It would have been an entirely different experience to read the story the way it was published on paper.