Why You Should Try Audiobooks
I don’t know about you, but my holidays were spent indulging in down time. I spent hours lazily reading away, with a blanket outside, a coffee in hand and enjoying some incredible reads. My favorites from last vacation included Burial Rights (Iceland), The Strays (Australia) and Pachinko (Korea and Japan); making it a most enjoyable (and international) break indeed!
However, all good things must come to an end and now I find myself hurrying again. Rushing to get ready in the mornings, commuting to work, sitting at my desk, inhaling my lunch, commuting home, shopping for groceries, preparing dinner, doing the washing and using any spare moments I have for personal projects (such as this blog!) I used to think this meant I couldn’t read so much anymore. I saw reading as an indulgence that I could only really enjoy during the holidays.
But all of that changed when I discovered audiobooks.
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Audiobooks are a blessing. They allow you to multitask, engaging in a story while completing other activities that don’t require your concentration. I used to think this was a crazy approach, but once I started thinking of all the times I listen to music or podcasts it made sense. I’ve found that listening to stories while completing tasks actually makes me calmer. I stay focused on the story and can finish other things while doing so. Here are some ideas to try it out yourself!
1) Sign up for Audible’s free trial
If you’ve never tried audiobooks, I highly recommend signing up for Amazon Audible’s free 30 day trial to test the waters and see if you like listening too. Audible is a subscription service, which offers an incredible audiobook selection. In the US your first two books are totally free with this link, no tricks. You can play titles on your iPhone, Kindle, Android and loads of other devices. Best of all, you can cancel at any time and you get to keep your books forever – even if you cancel. 🙌
2) Choose your next read
This is always the most difficult part! Choose a book to try out. If you’re stuck for book ideas, take a look at my location-based reading lists for ideas. Something to keep in mind is the narrator, as this can make or break a book for some listeners. I often find the first chapter the most difficult, adjusting to a new voice inside my head. However, I tend to adjust quite quickly after that and I get used to having them around. When the book is finished, I even start to miss them! 😔
3) Try listening at different times
It turns out there is ample opportunity for listening to Audiobooks. I’ve discovered there are so many moments in the day when I can squeeze a cheeky chapter in here and there. Some ideas for places to try listening include:
- when you sit down with your morning tea or coffee
- while cooking breakfast, preparing lunch or cooking dinner
- while doing the dishes
- while walking or running (I personally find listening and running difficult!)
- while at the gym or exercising
- while cycling (just ensure the volume isn’t too loud and you can still hear traffic around you)
- while commuting on the tram, train, subway, bus, boat (it’s great as you won’t miss your stop!)
- while driving (whether commuting or on long road trips)
- while at work (only while completing menial tasks)
- while shopping for groceries
- while standing in line (at the bank, the post office, the doctors and so on)
- while cleaning the house
- while doing the washing (sorting, hanging, ironing)
- while gardening
- while working on projects (such as crafts)
- while traveling (especially while flying, my personal fave of course!)
- while laying on the beach
- while painting your nails
- while soaking in the tub
- before going to sleep
4) Share your audiobook experience
If you try them out, I’m curious to know how you find audiobooks as they are contentious topic among readers. Some people love them and others, well don’t. Are they are part of your daily life? Do you prefer to read printed books? Do you have an Audible subscription? What do you like to do while listening to audiobooks? Have you listened to any amazing audiobooks lately? Do you have a favorite narrator? Please let me know in the comments below!
And, I confess, audiobooks and a discreet earbud even work while parenting! Wonderful article, thanks, from an Overdrive and Audible devotee.
Hi Jordana, I love this, such a great tip for parents indeed! Thanks for commenting, I’m a huge Overdrive fan too 🙂
I cannot believe I have only just discovered you! We are certainly kindred spirits when it comes to travel and reading. I have become an audiobook junkie. I teach Parenting and have even got several moms hooked on them because they feel they have no time to read. I encourage them to “read” while doing all their mom chores and hours in the car – while alone. Car time should be for connecting with your kids whenever possible. I’m sure if I would have had the technology of earbuds and audible when my kids were littles, I would have been sneaking in an audiobook all the time. Just finished Pachinko and am now listening to The Secret Diary of Henrik Groen – read by the amazing Shakespearian actor, Derek Jacobi. It takes place in a care home for the aging in Amsterdam. Anyway, love your blog and knowing I now have a go to place to find books to read when I travel. Oh, also, just finished The Last Castle because we went to the Biltmore in Asheville. That’s probably already on your list. I will share your great website on Facebook today for all my travel reading friends to enjoy as well.
Hi Tracy, so nice to meet you! Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I’m so happy to hear you are sharing your love of audiobooks, I’m totally hooked too! I absolutely loved Pachinko and am now living in Amsterdam myself – so have added The Secret Diary of Henrik Groen to my list of books to read. Thanks so much for the wonderful recommendations and for sharing Tale Away too! 🙂
Hi Ash, really nice to meet you!
You have great content and very interesting recommendations! I have a project to help Spanish People creating an English Immersion Habit (and English People a Spanish Immersion One). I totally agree with you about the Audiobooks I also like Podcasts a lot. I create lists of all of these to help people with their Digital Immersions. I find your recommendations and lists really helpful!!
I think you may help me out with Audiobook Ideas: What Audiobooks would you recommend me for someone who is not yet advanced in English or Audiobooks of not more than 4 hours that are interesting. I find it hard to find things for Beginners and Intermediates ; )
Love your Challenge of World Reading also. I’m going to suggest it to my Immersion Students!
Thanks for this great project!
Hi Ana! Thanks so much for your lovely message, my apologies for the much delayed reply! Love the sound of your project. What a coincidence, I was once an English educator myself! We used to use a lot of digital materials to help our students immerse themselves in language too. However, we didn’t use many audiobooks or podcasts at the time, so I’m afraid I’m not much help there. What we did do, was really focus on using TED Ed an educational tool by TED Talks. It’s fantastic as you can filter videos by difficulty, language and duration. You can also turn on the English subtitles to read along too. I highly recommend it! Wishing you all the best with your project! 🙂
Just found your page from a link that was shared on a Facebook travel site. I am loving it. I do not have an Audible subscription, but do have a Libby app. Libby is a free library app that allows you to borrow audio and kindle type books from your local library, and it is free! Not all books are available since they only have what the library pays for, but as a way to get started with audiobooks, it is great! Thank you for the amazing reading lists and other resources and tips, can’t wait to download my next book!
Hi Linda, thanks so much for sharing your tips and for your kind words too! I’ve started using Libby a little bit too, it’s such a fantastic app, though as you say, also a bit limited depending on what your local library has in it’s collection. I’ve discovered I can request titles from my library, so I’ve started making requests where I can. Fingers crossed for more titles in their collection soon! Hope you have a wonderful year of reading (and listening) ahead!