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Audiobook Week 2011!

It’s Audiobook Week, hosted by Devourer of Books (http://www.devourerofbooks.com/) and I couldn’t let the week go by without writing about my love of audiobooks!  (Although I’m SUPER-DUPER frustrated right now because for some reason WordPress is saving my document as BLANK!  Third time is the charm???  I’m learning and actually typing this into a word document so that I can save it and see if I can eventually publish it!  Yikes and Ugh!  Has this ever happened to anyone???)

As I say over and over again, I am currently listening to the Harry Potter series on audio and enjoying every minute of it (when I’m done I’ll have to figure out exactly how many minutes I spent listening!).  I cheated and didn’t listen to book 1, as I forgot what was book 1 and what was book 2 and so I started with book 2.  I’m currently on book 6 and really looking forward to book 7!  It has been some years, but I read all of the books before and some of them I remember more than others.  Listening has just brought them to a whole new level.  Jim Dale is an incredible narrator, providing voices for all the characters that are recognizable and not at all distracting.  What an incredible series.

I have been a commuter for 18 years, driving at least 30 miles one-way each day.  I have never minded commuting because I choose good stuff to listen to in my car.  I am totally unaware of top-40 music, but I am well-read!  I frequented the small-town library where I lived, and they had an extensive number of audiobooks so I read every book that I wanted to, and even some that I didn’t know I wanted to read.  I have listened to memoirs, thrillers, non-fiction, children and YA literature, and fiction.  When I bought my car in 2005 it only had a CD player, so I had a cassette player installed so that I could continue my habit!  Fortunately, books are now on CDs (and they were in 2005, too… just not as many!) and with the purchase of my iPod I also checked out digital audiobooks from the library system.  I live in a bigger city now and the library audiobook section is overwhelmingly large, so I often reserve a book I want to listen to rather than browse the many shelves.

Some of my favorite audiobooks include:

  • Diane Mott Davidson’s catering mysteries are always light and fun
  • Lillian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who… books are also always light and fun
  • Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series were unexpectedly interesting to me
  • Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries were also fun and interesting – Kinsey Milhone
  • Audrey Niffenegger’s books were good listens, although The Time Traveler’s Wife was difficult to follow with the dates and ages changing at the beginning of each chapter
  • Life of Pi was a beautiful listen
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was fun to listen to because I felt like I was in the boy’s head
  • Same with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (although I missed the visuals that are in the print version, so I re-read that one)
  • Anything written and read by Bill Bryson is a good time – he’s witty with a dry humor
  • Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto was a beautiful book, beautifully read

The thing I love best about audiobooks is that it fulfills my wish to be immersed in a story at all times.  I can listen while cooking dinner, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn and vacuuming, exercising, and driving.  Someone complained to me recently that they dreaded the tedious drive down Broadway, but getting into the car is something I rarely dread.  Thankfully my commute never entails rush hour traffic, but I think with a good audiobook I could even abide stop-and-go traffic.

I remember things differently when I listen to them rather than read the print version.  When I listen to a book I remember fewer details – like names and dates – but I remember more about the visuals drawn by the author’s words and the feelings that are evoked by the story.  So listening to a book I’ve read or reading a book that I’ve listened to is never a bad thing.  Each provides a different experience.

What are your favorite audiobooks?  What’s the longest audiobook you’ve ever listened to?  Do you find you remember things differently by listening?

Well, off to read!

4 thoughts on “Audiobook Week 2011!

  1. I forgot how much I like to listen to Bill Bryson read his books! He’s pretty great. And I have a much longer commute with my new job come this fall, so hopefully I’ll be like you and appreciate the time I have listening.

  2. Great post! I love the Potter books too and Jim Dale…wow right? Like you, I cold not tell you what the top songs are now… but I can tell you what I like in audio. 🙂

    I should try the Curious Incident on audio… i tried to read it for book club many years ago and just got stuck in it.

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