If you would have told me last year at this time that I would write a post about the joys of audiobooks, I would have slapped you in the face.
I have long been a print industry snob. I will defend printed books for the rest of my life! There really is nothing like holding a real book in your hand, especially if it’s a loved one—full of dog-eared pages and perfect creases. And my favorite places in the world are bookstores, obviously.
Warren, however, the man with 14 computer/phone/surface screens (I counted once), has been pushing me towards kindles and audiobooks for a very long time. He actually bought me one of the fanciest kindles and when I saw it, I immediately went on a rant about printed books and he kept it for himself for two months before he even told me it was mine. (I’m a jerk sometimes.)
Now, I love my kindle! You want to read a book right that second? You’ve got a kindle. You want to read classics for free? You’ve got a kindle. You want to take the whole world of books on vacation? You’ve got a kindle.
As soon as I realized I could buy physical books AND kindle books, I fell in love.
I still buy any physical book I love or want on my shelves and read the majority of my books this way. But having a kindle for those trashy beach reads, huge books, and free books has been amazing.
Even though I gave into the kindle, I was real reluctant on audiobooks, because I love to see the words in front of me.
Finally, though, I realized there might actually be a limit to the number of times you can listen to Hamilton on your runs and made the switch to listening to audiobooks while running. If you listen to books too, you can consume EVEN MORE BOOKS! And isn’t that the point anyways?
One of my sweet readers wrote me asking for audiobook recommendations and oh boy am I excited to share my minimal wisdom on the subject with you! Also! Write me! I love it!
Here are my top tips for selecting audiobooks to listen too and a couple of my audiobook recommendations.
Choose a book you can enjoy if you only get 90% of what’s being said.
Most of the time you’re listening to a book, you’re also doing something else. Even if it’s just running or commuting, you still can’t commit all of your attention to the book. So if you get a book on, like, astrophysics or something (why?), you’re not going to do well.
Don’t listen to two series (or similarly themed) books in a row.
This rule probably applies to actual reading too, but when you listen, you really need a break in between very similar books. I once listened to two running books in a row and I was REAL over it. I also listened to two Outlander books in a row and I have to tell you: 68 hours in one world is too many hours.
Listen on 1.25 speed (at the very least).
You think normal reading speed is fine, because you’re probably a normal reader, but good god no. Normal reading speed is INSUFFERABLE. Bump that speed up to 1.25. You’ll still get everything and you won’t be lulled to sleep.
Pick something you want to read, but maybe don’t care about that much.
I still love to read read and for beautifully written books, I want to see the words in front of me. For books that I know are significant and important to read (like The New Jim Crow), it’s important to me to let them resonate more than audiobooks can. But I also like to read kind of ridiculous books and funny books and I’m sure you do too. Choose those.
Use audiobooks to tackle those huge long reads.
Audiobooks can help you get through books you want to read but are struggling to get through, like Alexander Hamilton (if you’re a super fan psycho) or Roots (because you really care about reading it but feel like you might weep through the floor if you read it read it). Listening makes it easier! Well, if you count sobbing while running as easier.
Here are some audiobooks I’ve enjoyed while running.
Okay, I generally do not like romance type novels, not because I’m a prude, just because I don’t enjoy it (instead of making me blush, it makes me roll my eyes). But Outlander is different! Kind of? It’s much more than a romance novel. Scottish time-traveling! The first 10 hours might be a little eye-roll inducing, but then you will be super invested. Jamie forever.
My Year of Running Dangerously
This is my favorite running book! It’s funny (for non-runners and runners alike), inspiring, and not annoying (a lot of running books are at least a little annoying). It felt pretty meta to listen to him talk about training while training, but in the best possible way. Short and enjoyable!
This, so far (I’m still listening), is audiobook gold. It’s a vague retelling of Jane Eyre where Jane is a serial killer, so basically it tries to be like a classic (which I love), but it’s also trashy (which I also love sometimes). Silly and interesting!
Enjoy your world of even more books!