Audiobooks for the Uninitiated – Audiobook Week Discussion

Today Jen @ Devourer of Books, who hosts this great Audiobook week, asks us to share tips for new audiobook listeners.

Let me repost excerpts of her own post to which I totally agree [all the bold quotes come directly from her post, that you can access by clicking on the link just above]:

  1. Listen to books you have already read – Listening to old favorites is a great way to break into audiobooks.
  2. Listen to audiobooks with less complex storylines
  3. Listen to an audiobook with quick pacing – Quick pacing catches your attention right away, and helps keep your interest for longer periods of time, without getting any listening fatigue. Mysteries tend to be particularly good for this, as long as they aren’t overly convoluted

I have to say, I have never had any problem transitioning into audiobooks, apart from the fact that I resisted many years, because I didn’t feel audiobooks were “real” books!!

I think I started listening to audiobooks because I was looking for a book at my library, and at the time, the title I wanted was only available as audiobook, the other formats being checked out.

Also, instead of listening to music while painting, I thought it might be a good idea to listen to books. I wished I remembered which was the first one – I would need a bit of research to find out.

Then, English not being my first language, and with my passion and many years in learning foreign languages, and long hours doing simultaneous translation, the oral world does not make any difference to me.

Reflecting on this question for the day, I was first thinking: our society is becoming again much more related to the oral than the written word, so it should not be a problem; but then I thought about the issue of focus or concentration, and THERE is the problem I believe.
If you try to practice contemplation, you know what I mean: the Fathers of the Church compare our thoughts to monkeys jumping from branch to branch; so to be able to pray or listen to audiobooks with focus, you need to train a bit your mind to stop jumping all around.

So here are my tips, apart from some of Jen’s I just quoted:

  1. Do NOT try to listen to audiobooks if you are dead tired, or very concerned with something, because you will not be able to keep focused.
  2. Stop and wait for a better time if you realize your mind goes away, or rewind a bit until you are back to the last place you remember listening. I like to listen consciously to absolutely every word, just as if I were reading; otherwise, it does not seem to me I really read the book.
  3. Some people focus better if their hands are busy. So try to listen while ironing, doing the dishes, if you are as lucky as me NOT to have a dishwasher!, watering your plants, etc, or doing art, if you are a painter, etc.
  4. Might work as well while walking or running, if you are in an area where you won’t need to cross streets or be careful to bump into many people
  5. Start with a rather short one, not with one having 20 CDs, or lasting 40 hours
  6. Start with your favorite genre: adventure, mystery should go well, but with a simple plot, as Jen said.

That’s all that’s coming to mind right now.

Jen asked a last question:
What are your top recommended titles or narrators for new listeners?
I listened to a very good and simple mystery, very entertaining and easy I believe, and this is what I would recommend for a beginner:
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, by Helen Grant – the link goes to my review; in it you’ll find some words the author sent me, as well as a link to the Audibook Challenge, where you’ll have reviews and good ideas of aduiobooks by many bloggers. Plus Helen Grant is a fantastic person, you can befriend her on Twitter and Facebook and follow her, as she just moved to Scotland!
The narrator is Justin Eyre, she’s really good for that book.
I like some other narrators, such as Orlagh Cassidy, but I would not choose an audiobook just because of the narrator, for me the author and topic still come first.

 


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