When I mentioned my love of audio books to my book club group and suggested we try picking out a book as a group some time, I got sort-of a scrunched eyebrow deer-in-the-headlights response, followed by silence, then followed by comments like "I've thought of listening to them before, but I don't have the time for that," and "I just don't think listening to the book is quite the same as reading it."
These thoughts weren't far from my own originally before I discovered the ease of listening to audio books and the enriching experience that listening to a book can deliver. The top reasons why I love listening to audio books are:
I'm able to 'read' more books. Here's where my book club friends were mistaken. Listening to audio books doesn't require me to carve in notches of time to listen, rather it allows me to enjoy more reading time while I do everyday tasks.
By downloading audio books onto my MP3 player or Kindle device, I can listen to chapters while I walking, hiking, crafting, doing chores, waiting for appointments, shopping- whenever, where-ever. I use the CD's for long car trips and often play them on my laptop, too when I don't feel like wearing headphones.
Narrators immerse me into the 'feel' of the story. There's something very cool about having a expressive narrator with a lovely Irish lilt in her voice or an deep heroic baritone read to you. It opens up a new level of the book to hear the story while you are absorbing the lyrical prose of a timeless fiction classic or visualizing new self-help concepts in non-fiction.
Excerpts are available online and libraries stock them! I have favorite authors and narrators I gravitate towards purchasing, and there are others I'd prefer to have a listen to first before committing to. And there are others still that I maybe want to read/listen, but won't necessarily wish to keep in my permanent library.
Lucky for me (and my fellow audio book lovers,) excerpts of many books are available for listening on websites like Amazon (in the Audible Audio section) and my local library carries a nice array of bestsellers, like Hunger Games, for check out.
The extras are amazing! Not every audio book has them, but when they do, the extras are always a delightful treasure. Author interviews, insights, music accompaniments, history, printable worksheets, links to online content: these are a few of the goodies your audio book may offer that the traditional text does not.
They are fabulous to donate or to gift. When I'm finished with an audio book and decide to make room for new ones in my library, our local women's shelter or nursing home are always excited when I drop them off for donation as they are a terrific asset for their programs.
When I'm in a pinch for a gift idea or have a "hard-to-buy-for" loved one to get something special for, audio books are are a great go-to gift. The special nature of a boxed audio set and a thoughtful selection of audio book to suit the recipient's interest is always a well-received gift.
Why do you like (or not like) audio books? Are there misconceptions holding you back from trying out this variant form of reading?
Looking for a great audio book experience? Check out one of these three new books currently on my favorites list:
A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama. Set in Mao's China 1958, A Hundred Flowers is the tale of one ordinary family facing an extraordinary oppression. Narration by Simon Vance enhances the grace and courage of the story and bonus conversations with the author and editor will enrich your understanding of this delicate, yet harsh journey.
Time Untime by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Part of the Dark Hunter series, Time Untime is the story of Kateria Avani, a woman plagued by dreams she doesn't understand and Ren Waya, a warrior who must sacrifice all that he loves, or face destroying the planet. Narrated by Holter Graham, Sherrilyn takes us on another mystical ride featuring the tortured hero she depicts so well.
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin. A powerful romance, Where We Belong will keep you on the edge of your audio seat while tugging a few heart-strings in the process. Narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, the book has an upbeat tone and thought-provoking nature.
Disclosure: I have received audio books for review purposes from Macmillian Audio. However, I was an audio book fan long before I became a blogger. All thoughts and opinions are that of Rural Mom.