It’s Grace, here to share some recent audiobook discoveries. I don’t know what it is recently that’s made me into an audiobook person this summer. I’ve shared my love for books on tape (or on CDs, or on iTunes) before on the blog (especially when I had my concussion last summer) and I’ve even reviewed a few. But I was always rather sporadic with them.
This summer, I’ve been listening a lot more. Whether that’s to my mother’s decision to finally spring for an Audible subscription (Woohoo! Alas, unfortunately by Amazon!) or the amount of road-tripping I’ve done as I’ve looked at colleges or even just some more patience, I’ve been a listener.
Part of it might even be due to me starting to understand what I like in audiobooks. I’m very picky about audiobooks and therefore, it’s hard for me to find many that I really enjoy – and therefore, I don’t listen that often. But I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.
I’m here to share with y’all what exactly I’ve noticed about my audiobook taste.
My Audiobook Habits
While I’m doing chores, I’ll obsessively listen to audiobook samples both an Audible and on my local library’s Overdrive website. If it’s a title I’m hesitant about, I add it to the wish list for further consideration, or bookmark it. If it’s a title I’m interested in, I’ll check it out from the library online and listen to it for a while. If it’s a title I know I’ll enjoy – or a voice I love – I’ll buy it. I don’t know anything about finding audiobooks for myself – it’s a lot of guess-and-check aside from my tastes which I’ve compiled here – so it’s a lot of skipping around.
I don’t think I could ever listen to a contemporary audiobook unless it were incredibly engaging, or had a narrator with a distinct personality/voice. This is because I get bored very easily with audiobooks. Jen wrote about switching mediums because of something I told her and I agree with her decision. Certain books, I know I’d hate on audio. Certain books, I know I’d prefer on audio (see: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.)
I prefer my audiobooks with personality. I don’t know why but I just get so twitchy about beautiful voices that read books with little-to-no dramatic effect. No voices. No nothing. I need there to be SOMETHING, whether that’s an accent. I know some people get annoyed by narrators adding flair – which is probably why most audiobooks seem to go the straight-and-narrow route – but I am one of those people who requires it. An accent helps it, naturally. I know some people who prefer British accents in their narrators. I enjoy it, but it’s still rather straight-laced for my taste.
Weird thing that I’ve noticed about narrators: I prefer male narrators? As in, I easily get annoyed with women’s voices (not in reality, just in books on tape.) I think it’s something to do with the way they imitate voices – and also, because I prefer a slightly lower pitch if I’m listening to an audiobook for a long span of time.
10 – 12 hours seems to be the sweet spot for the audiobook duration.
I seem to enjoy listening to audiobooks the most either while doing domestic activities (like laundry, or dishes, or baking) or before I went to bed. For example, at camp, I’d listen to my audiobook at night on my iPod because I couldn’t fall asleep – but I felt guilty keeping my girls up with a flashlight reading a print book. It’s a great way to lull myself to sleep, and it’s the perfect amount of engagement for busywork tasks.
So in short, I’ve started to realize what exactly I gravitate towards in terms of books on tape.
I try to find audiobooks from my local library or on Audible, and although it’s a lot of guess-and-check because I don’t know a lot about finding audiobooks for myself, I have a pretty solid system for sorting through them: wishlist, library, buy.
As for my tastes, it has to be a genre I find exciting, and one that isn’t close to real life. The nice in-between for me appears to be paranormal or magical realism.
Secondly, it has to have a narrator who adds his/her own spin to the story – or at least has an appealing accent that differs up the sound of it. May or may not be a male narrator. I can’t listen to a flat book.
Third, it has to be short enough for me to feel like I can realistically get through it. I can’t spend a really long time on one. I’ll probably listen to it at night before falling asleep or while doing household chores.