Audiobooks, or the story of how they changed my reading habits 📻

netgalley book tag(1)Hi everyone!

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?

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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.

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☁️ 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.

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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:

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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?

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27 thoughts on “Audiobooks, or the story of how they changed my reading habits 📻

  1. I adore audiobooks! I work at a job where most of what I do is data analysis and the hours drag by without listening to something. Sometimes my entire lab will listen to a book together over the sound system. Audiobooks have made reading a lot more accessible for me both for times when I’m needing to use my eyes for something else or not feeling well enough to read for whatever reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s such a lovely thing between coworkers, I love it! ♥ Do you talk about the books afterwards? And I’m glad they help make your work more enjoyable! My work has me on the phone all day (I work at an assistance call center) and I love my job but I can’t listen to audiobooks while working. I’m so glad they help you make reading easier for you!

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  2. That’s amazing news! I’m glad to see that you are able to read more and still enjoy them!
    Hopefully your work doesn’t wipe you out too much!
    I’ve never actually listened to an audiobook! Eek!
    I’ve requested my first one from the library, but my school doesn’t provide many and the ones at the public library take soooooooo long :/
    – Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thank you so much Emma! ♥ My work usually doesn’t wipe me out like this! I work in a company that needs to be open 24/7 so I rarely get the same shift twice in a row and even more rarely five days of work in a row because our hours are all over the place. So those five days were an exception, but at least they inspired a blog post! It’s a win 😀 Oh I’m sorry access to audiobooks isn’t easy for you, I wish they were more accessible for sure. Let me know once you get the one from your library, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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  3. I only just recently (within the last 6 months or so) got into audiobooks and I’m so glad that I did! For so long they just didn’t appeal to me as much as a physical read but now I’m able to get so much more reading done! It makes me feel much more productive with my time and I completely connect with you on how you only used to read one book at a time because I was the exact same way! I recently listened to Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda as a reread and I thought it was really well done!

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  4. I must confess, I don’t think audiobooks are for me, but it’s for the same reasons you mentioned that you didn’t like them at first, so maybe I’ll magically fall in love with them. I suck at paying attention to words. Even at school, when a teacher is talking, I just CANNOT pay attention. The same goes for audiobooks–there’s a guarantee that I’ll miss a paragraph or two every time i listen. This problem is especially obvious when I’m listening to audiobooks without having a hands-on activity to distract me, because my mind will immediately drift off some place else. Plus, I don’t really use earphones, and I mainly listen to audiobooks in the shower, so the sound of the water always drowns the book out. I don’t know, I just feel like I’m cursed to not be able to listen to audiobooks.

    But I’m so happy that they worked for you!! I can easily see why audiobooks have changed your reading habits! Out of curiosity, what speed do you listen to them in? The most I can do is 1.5. anyone who listens at 2x or above is on another plane of existence 😂

    Great post!! I loved reading it 💚

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    • That’s exactly how I would described what happened for me: I magically started loving them. I get after a few years, we obviously change, and start enjoying things we might not have enjoyed before and vice versa. I don’t know if you play video games, but I’ve enjoyed listening to an audiobook while playing the sims. It keeps me busy but doesn’t hinder my focus on the book itself. And don’t worry about it if you don’t end up enjoying them: not every type of reading is for everyone. It’s perfectly okay! And I never listen in the shower because the water covers the sound, so I get it.

      I usually start at 1.70x to get used to the narrators(s) and I go to 2x quite quickly now. It didn’t happen at first though! I finished my first one at 1.80x. I think the more you listen, the easier it gets! 🙂

      Thank you so much lovely ♥

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  5. I’ve been wanting to try an audiobook for a while now. I’ve always been a bit apprehensive about whether I would like them or not and then I recently fell in love with podcasts – so I’m eager to give one a try now. I hadn’t thought of doing a re-read or listening to an extract first though – so thank you for that advice! 😀 Great post!

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    • Oh, if you love podcasts, you might enjoy the audiobook I’m listening to right now: Sadie by Courtney Summers! Part of the storytelling is told throughout podcasts episodes, and it also has a full cast of narrators. I’d check out the trigger warnings though. And thank you so much! ♥

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      • I’ve seen the cover of Sadie but haven’t had a good look at the blurb for it (until now). It seems like an emotional read. I definitely have to give it a try. Especially as it has podcasts in it. That’s a unique element to a book that I haven’t encountered before. Thank you for the recommendation! 😀

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  6. Audiobooks well never be my preferred reading format (I’m too much of a visual person for that), but I loved getting the free Audible trial for trying out some audiobooks! I really liked my expericene as it’s nice to listen to a book while doing chores or other things that don’t require much thinking 🙂 Sadly, I find it hard to get ahold of audiobooks, as Audible is too expensive in the long run and my library doesn’t really have good access to audiobooks 😦 I wish we had something like Overdrive, because then I think I’d give a lot more audiobooks a try! 🎶

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  7. This was such a lovely discussion post, and I have to agree with you in all these points!! Audiobooks have been such a gamechanger for me, especially during my college years when I feel too tired/busy to pick up a physical book. Audiobooks just let me sneak in little pages every now and then which actually makes such a great progress in the long run!!

    I also listened to THE POPPY WAR on audiobook and I think it was SUCH a great decision since it’s such a dense book. I’ve been really wanting to listen to JADE CITY on audiobook because I keep getting stuck with the physical book. It’s not a bad book at all!! but I think listening to it versus reading it would make it so much more digestible for me! Great post!!

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    • Thank you so much Tiffany, I’m happy to hear they were such a gamechanger for you as well! It does make a huge progress in the long run, I didn’t think it would but I would not have read so many books in August without audioboooks.
      I’m glad you enjoyed The Poppy War, I thought the narrator was brilliant! JADE CITY is spectacular as an audiobook, you should absolutely try it! It might make a big difference for you ♥ Let me know if you do!

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  8. This is a wonderful post! ^^
    I’ve given audiobooks a try already but I’m not 100% sure they’re perfect for me. My biggest problem is my short attention span. The audiobooks are not in my primary language and therefore I have to pay extra attention to every word, otherwise, I get lost. They’re not really effective if I wanna do something else that doesn’t require as much of my brain, such as cleaning, as my mind gets all kinds of thoughts when multitasking. I’ve found the only way I have of decently keeping up with audiobooks is while exercising, going for walks, … Anyway, it was a nice experience. I’ve been listening to audiobooks due to my two month free trial of scribd and it’s almost ending :/

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    • Thank you so much Marta ♥
      I can totally understand that, they’re definitely not for everyone and that’s perfectly okay. They’re not in my first language either, and I understand needing to focus on them for sure. I’m happy you gave them a try, and them not working out for you is totally okay! 🙂

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  9. I am so glad that audiobooks have made such a wonderful impact on your reading! I’ve tried audiobooks a few times, and even though I’ve started a few books that I’ve really enjoyed, I’ve never managed to finish one! I’m going to keep trying though because I can definitely see it being a wonderful addition to my reading!

    The book I’ve come closest to finishing on audio is The Book Thief! The narrator was fantastic, and although I eventually switched to the physical book, I still highly recommend the audio format!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much ♥ And I hope you find that perfect audiobook for you one day! Even if it is just one, it could be so much fun!
      Narrators do make a huge difference for sure. What made you switch to the physical format in the end? 🙂

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  10. Shame that I’m not really an audiobook person, because every time I’ve read this type of post where someone rambles excitedly about how audiobooks have been changing their reading game for good, I can’t help but feel jealous! I only tried it once, but I completely struggled! Maybe it’s the narrator, or maybe I’m just not in the right mood, but I guess I’ll try it again in the future.

    I’m happy that audiobooks works wonder on you, Noémie! I hope you enjoy your current audio-read! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah don’t be jealous OMG, it’s totally fine if they’re not your thing! Don’t feel like you have to try again because of these posts, do it only if you feel like you might like it! ♥
      I just bought a new audiobook, so I’m curious to see what I think of it!

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