18 November 2017

When to Listen to an Audiobook

Traveler's Notebook & postal pouch by SojournerUSA, coffee by Starbucks' Breakfast Blend
In trying to make blogging my regular habit again, I took a look at my Audible cloud list, and realized how many books I've listened to over the years that still resonate with me today. To those who are new to audiobooks or feel it's something for people out of touch (hey!), fret not. I also had a hard time adapting and learning how to listen to a book versus reading it. It just wasn't something I was used to and after many failed attempts, it then became an acquired skill. It changed once I found a story I immediately connected with and was read by an engaging narrator. I was then forever hooked to this new way to "read." (Side note: Many years ago, I was at the mind-blowing BEA in New York and attended the APA Audiobook and Author Tea side panel. I choked up, as did many, when an attendee who was blind stood up and said, "thank you for making these audiobooks and doing them so well now. I can finally read again.")

But when should you listen to an audiobook? (Whenever.) Are there specific ways to listen to it?  (No.) What if you're not used to it? (Okay. So what? Try.)

Simply put, all I need is my iPhone and earbuds (iBuds? earphones?) and that's it. I do have an Audible membership, but you can always download books from your local library as well.

When to Listen to an Audiobook
  • Errands (grocery store, post office, etc.)
  • Long road trips
  • Short road trips
  • Any time in the car
  • Silent moments between partners in the car and you can sneak your headphones in
  • Staring placidly out at any body of water, drinking coffee or tea
  • Running (this I highly recommend. I found when I listened to music, I used to run at the pace/beat of the song. Thus, if I needed to slow down but was listening to a fast song, I would run faster than I should. Listening to an audiobook helped me control my pace. And trust me, It, by Stephen King and read by actor Steven Weber is entirely MUCH freakier while running at night. Passing sewers is a completely different experience.)
  • Cleaning the house
  • Then really cleaning the house
  • Then using the Flylady, Clutturbug, or Melissa Maker techniques and really CLEANING the house
  • Taking a shower (No lie. I will use the Bluetooth connection to a small mobile speaker and listen to the book while I take even a short shower.)
  • Gardening
  • When Netflix has too many options (or Amazon or Hulu)
  • When taking the crazy toddler to the playground
  • Journaling and needing background noise
  • Playing with art and watercoloring away
  • Bible journaling
When Not to Listen to an Audiobook (Say what now? When to NOT listen?)
  • I... well, I guess when you're trying to nap
  • If something is on fire?
  • ...
I've listened to so many audiobooks that my commute anywhere is not right without a story filling my head. Right now, I'm listening to Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen Meany that was part of Ti's Book Chatter readalong and that I optimistically dove into but failed miserably to read while she was hosting it. Then, as my history would predict, once any readalong timeframe concludes, I jump into it only then, and with full enthusiasm.

The main message is this: Try. Just try it out.

Find something that you think you might like and start listening to it while heading on a road trip or doing long errands and just pop it on. Don't get overly ambitious and first try with a thirty-four-hour audiobook; instead, pick something that has rave reviews for both story and performance, fitting in a genre you like, and pick something around eight to ten hours long, maximum. Something that would fit in your "wheelhouse," as we say in the corporate world, when most of us don't know what it means. Try. If you're not connecting to it, move onto something else. But always give it a shot just in case. You might be missing something that you end up truly loving. That was how it was for me. Now, I can't go a single day without at least five or ten minutes with a story. That is one habit I don't quite anticipate ever giving up.


  1. Amen to all of this! One of the few things I miss about working is listening to audiobooks on the commute.... I am never without a book in progress.

    1. I can never be anywhere without having an audiobook or podcast on; I really don't even know what music is out now and I love music! It is much needed to balance the two, but I do so love my audiobooks!

  2. I miss audiobooks so much! Now that my commute is less than five minutes, I don't listen nearly as much as I did. Plus, my work now does not make it easy to listen while working. I miss that too. I would fly through audiobooks at work at my previous job. I do try to fit in audiobooks while cooking, paying bills, or getting ready for bed these days. I miss the large chunks of listening time though because I find myself not quite as engaged and missing large swaths of the story when I listen in small windows of time.

    1. Oh, my goodness, having a position that allows you to listen to audiobooks is amazing! I can see how that would keep you very methodical and focused on the task at hand. I have worked from home for a number of years and it is always a struggle to find the time so I try to sneak time in as much as I can also!

  3. Oh I agree with what you say about an engaging voice. If the narrator has a voice that is too pert or affected or actor-y I just can't listen!

  4. I am a big fan of audio books. I am in my car enough to give me plenty of listening time. And my local library has a a lot of audio books to borrow. I also listen while doing housework, knitting, and running. I am a fan.