I’d like to start by saying I’m really sorry I was not as present on the blog this month. I thought my many shifts at work wouldn’t impact my blog and my writing, but it did. I was often exhausted, and inspiration wasn’t there, as much as I wanted to write a blog post. I missed it so much and I missed you. For my new post today, I wanted to talk about audiobooks!
I find it very difficult to understand how sometimes, I still see a debate on whether listening to audiobooks is “real” reading or people saying it isn’t. It should not even be a question, because of course listening to audiobooks is reading. Can we please stop saying reading physical copies is the only, “true” way to read? It’s incredibly ableist and hurtful to so many people. Also, what even is “true” reading in the first place?
For so long, I understood why people listened to audiobooks, whether it was because it was their only way to enjoy stories or simply because they liked the format. If you have fun listening to an audiobook, that’s great! They’re a great ressource all around; I wish more books had an audiobook version and that they were more affordable and accessible. Yet, while those were my thoughts, when I tried listening to one a few years ago, it didn’t feel like it was for me; I could not focus and I felt like I wasn’t remembering the story as it was told. So I never tried one again until this year, in May, and it was a whole different experience for me. I couldn’t stop listening, I was so engaged in the story and getting attached to the characters came so easily. What happened, I have absolutely no idea. I guess I changed? All I know is that, suddenly, I enjoyed them a lot. So in this post, I want to talk about what exactly I enjoy about them and how they’ve changed my reading habits.
☁️ Reading multiple books at once
I used to read only one book at once with physical copies or ebooks. I was always amazed at people with several books in their currently reading section on Goodreads, because I simply could not. If I did, I didn’t feel like I was truly invested in the stories I was reading. My mind was drifting between both of them, and it had an impact on my enjoyment of a book. In May however, while I was listening to The Lovely and The Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, I sort of missed reading ebooks (since they’re the format I read the most). So I tried reading two books at once, and it was perfect. They were in two very different formats, that they were really separated for me and I was invested in both of them equally. In the end, I loved both the novels! Sure, reading two books at once is not a huge achievement or a requirement, but I enjoy it a lot since there are so many books I’d love to read someday.
☁️ Rereading more books
Most of the audiobooks I’ve listened to since May have been rereads of previous favourites. Before, I wasn’t a huge rereader, even though I really wanted to, especially before sequels to remind myself of a story. I just did not find the time for them in between all the new books I wanted to get to. Listening to them on audiobooks became a sort of compromise: I listen to a novel I’ve already read, and read the ebook of a new novel. Since May, I’ve already reread three novels and each time has been an incredible experience. For Jade City by Fonda Lee & The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, I completely fell in love with the stories and characters again. The narrator for Jade City was an absolute favourite, I loved his narration and portrayal of the characters so much and I’ve been saying it ever since. And after, I was perfectly ready for the sequels of both these novels as the stories were so recent in my mind. I also listened to Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, which was a book I rated 3 stars and I never intended to continue with the series. But after reading Six Of Crows, I wanted to give it another chance, and while my rating ended up being the same, I enjoyed the story a lot more and I will probably continue with the series on audiobook as well. I felt like they brought the characters to life in a different way, while being the same characters I loved. Audiobooks have changed how often I reread books, and I couldn’t be more happy about it.
☁️ Keeping up with my goal to read a least a little bit each day
This is very much inspired by these last few days for me. I had five days of very early shifts at work, and I usually read the most in the evening, before going to sleep. For the past couple years, I did not read as much as I would have liked and so, at the beginning of the year, I decided to try to read at least one chapter in the evening. I’ve mostly kept up with my goal, except when I was really sick or I had late evening/night shifts at work because I didn’t have as much time. With my early shifts however, time to read was not the issue; I simply couldn’t focus. No later than last night, I was staring at the words on my kindle, finding it really difficult to focus. I’d close my eyes every few seconds and I had to reread paragraphs several times. With my audiobook, I discovered that I could still have my reading time but it was not as tedious. I could lay down, close my eyes and rest a little instead of trying to follow written sentences (and completely failing). I found a different way to enjoy reading, and I still cannot believe I did not enjoy audiobooks a few years ago.
As someone who thought she wouldn’t enjoy audiobooks, I am so glad I still decided to give them another try. I think the narrator of the story plays a huge, if not essential, part of how much I enjoy an audiobook which is why I always listen to an extract before I decide to listen to one. I really recommend doing this and maybe you’ll find that one novel, with that one narrator you’ll think you’d greatly enjoy listening to. I have listened to only four audiobooks so far (and I’m currently listening to a fifth one), but they’ve changed so many of my reading habits already. So here’s a list of the ones I listened to:
- The Lovely and The Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and narrated by Emily Lawrence
- Jade City by Fonda Lee and narrated by Andrew Kishino
- The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang and narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and narrated by Lauren Fortgang
Do you enjoy audiobooks? If so, why? If you have any audiobook recommendations, I’d love them since I want to listen to more! What are some of your favourites?