This week’s topic:
Much has changed since the last time I reviewed audiobooks on here. For example, I’ve listened to more audiobooks since then and now realize that whether or not I enjoy an audiobook depends on who narrates it.
Such was the case in my last audiobook review, where I discussed listening to the audio version of Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief, a YA novel by Rick Riordan, and You, a thriller novel by Caroline Kepnes. I had vastly different experiences with both audiobooks because I hated the former but loved the later.
My experience with the audiobooks I’ll mention in this post is similar — I love one but hate the other, — but there is a difference. Up until this post, I’ve only used audiobooks to reread books. I did so because I feared that my mind would wander as I listen and I would miss important parts of the story. Also, since I’m a visual learner, I thought that I would miss certain details that I love to pay attention to when I read the physical/e- book, such as the author’s writing. I thought that listening to an audio version of a new-to-me book would lessen my reading experience of it. And after listening to The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, narr. by Finty Williams, and The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, narr. by a cast of actors, it seems I was right.
Though I enjoyed listening to The Girl with All the Gifts and parts of The Two Towers, I missed parts of both stories because my mind wandered as I listened. I can’t help it. I daydream all the time, especially when reading (or in this case listening) to a story. With a physical/e- book, I can easily locate the point where my mind began to wander and pick up with the story. But the audiobook keeps going and it becomes tricky to rewind until I find the point where I tuned out the story and started to daydream my own version of it.
This made me wonder if listening to an audiobook should be considered reading for me because it feels like a totally different experience. Sure, I remember some parts of the stories I listened to, but this reading experience wasn’t as engaging as it usually is when I read the physical/e- book. I completed the audiobooks not really gleaning much about the author’s writing style, which is a huge disappointment for me because that’s one of my favorite things about reading — admiring how the author writes. However, I could sense that if I’d read the physical/e- book, I would have loved how M.R. Carey writes.
I also couldn’t identify any quotes or passages to highlight, which is something I often do when hooked on a book. Words fly through one ear and out the other when I listen to audiobooks because when I listen to something — music, discussions, conversations, audiobooks — it’s not the words that I pay attention to but the images they evoke. It’s a weird thing about me, I guess, but sometimes I translate words spoken to me into images in my head to understand what is being said. It’s different when engaged in a visual activity, such as reading a book. I pay attention to every word, though I still sometimes create images in my mind to help me along.
I’m not sure if listening to new-to-me books is something I will do again. I had to force myself to stay present and listen and still I missed some things. I think I’ll continue to simply reread stories using audiobooks so if I miss something, it’s not a big deal because I’m already familiar with the story.
I’ve completed both audiobooks and will post reviews of them next week, but all you need to know, really, is that The Girl with All the Gifts is great and you should totally read it!
What I’m currently reading:
The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
Yep, I’m still on this one and am still enjoying it.
The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer
I began this recently and am curious about it and like the writing so far. I believe it is YA fantasy and it has a fairy tale quality to it.
1001 Islands by K.T. Munson
I wax and wane with this. Sometimes I’m really into it and other times it feels as if it drags. I think that’s because of the short chapters and multiple switches in perspective coupled with the slow-ish pace. The short chapters give the impression that the plot should develop quickly, but the many and often switches in perspective staggers the progress.