Friday, June 8, 2012

June is Audiobook Month!

Hurray! I just found out that June is audiobook month! Today, I am going to dispel some common audiobook fears, as well as give you list of my favorite audiobooks, readers, and production companies.

First off, I started listening to audiobooks during college. Do not ask me how long ago that was! Simply realize that it was a while ago, and I am now an audiobook veteran. :) Being a commuting college student, I drove to and from campus everyday, and anyone who has driven in Northern Virginia knows how long, frustrating, and stressful commuting can be. With driving taking up hours of my day, I began to notice a disturbing lag in my personal reading. For someone who grew up with the ability to walk behind her mother in the grocery store, while reading, and never run into her mother or anyone else, you can imagine how poignant a decline in my book intake would feel.

I do not remember exactly how it happened, but one day, I walked out of the library with an audiobook. I cannot remember what book it was (which is usually a sign that it was not fantastic), but in spite of that, I have been an enthusiastic audio listener ever since. My listening has even extended to times when I am doing indoor or outdoor chores. Audiobooks also make a great listening option when you are running on a treadmill at the gym!

This is SO true! For both music and audiobooks!

One common complaint, that audiobooks are boring or put you to sleep, is not unfounded. There are audiobooks that have really annoying readers or whose readers are just plain boring, but do not let that scare you away! There are TONS of fantastic readers. Readers who you cannot stop listening to; readers who maintain dozens of unique character voices at the same time. They are out there, and you will never want to stop listening to them. I guarantee it!

Another complaint I have heard is that audiobooks are expensive, which is quite true. Buying audiobooks from a bookstore can get expensive, with prices ranging from $20 to $60 for one book. However, these prices can be easily avoided by borrowing audiobooks from your local public library. I have borrowed dozens of audiobooks from my library, and I only purchase the CDs or MP3 files if I really, really love the book. With libraries carrying the great selections they do today, there is no need to buy every audiobook you listen to.

Believe it or not, there are even health and knowledge benefits to listing to audiobooks. Numerous studies have shown that people who listen to audiobooks have a better vocabulary than those who do not, especially children. For myself, I find that I am less stressed during and after my work commute. I also find that I am more interested in new or unfamiliar topics. I have even branched out to a few non-fiction books, like Carrie Fisher’s “Wishful Drinking”.

This is not so scary when you have an audiobook!

Currently, I have two new audiobooks to listen to (The Night Circus and Eat, Pray, Love). With a little encouragement, my boyfriend recently picked up his first audio books (Dune and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Here is a list of some of my favorite audiobooks, readers, or producers:
  • The Harry Potter Series – the audiobooks are really well produced and fun for all ages
  • The Kushiel series and the Naamah series by Jacqueline Carey – tons of fantastic books for adults. Some have different readers, but they are all good.
  • The Millennium Series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) – another great series
  • Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series – fun teen girl series
  • Wishful Drinking – written and read by Carrie Fisher
  • The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan – a random find that I loved!
  • Grimpow by Rafael Abalos – great boy’s book!
  • Jim Dale – the audio reader for Harry Potter, Peter and the Star Catchers, and other fantastic books
  • Listening Library – consistently wonderful producing company
  • Tantor Audio – another good producing company
I hope this helps get you started on choosing an audiobook for yourself. When you find ones you enjoy, be sure to pass them on to others as well!

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