Audio Adventures: Perks of Being a Listener

Welcome back to my Audio Adventures! Last time I shared some of my audio pet peeves, but today, I thought I'd go positive and share all the great things about being an audiobook listener. I give you my

Perks of Being a Listener

1. Multitask like a boss / bye bye boredom 

Rory Gilmore is a woman after my own heart. I too love to always have a book with me wherever I go, but sometimes, it's not convenient or even possible to lug a physical actual book. For instance, I just went to a hockey game and I had a 30+ minute train ride to get there. You don't really want to take a bag to a sporting event or a concert or something, and without a bag, a physical book is out. But EVERYONE always carries their phone. Boom. Grab your earplugs, and you're in business. 

But that's a special event, and I know some people might say I could read an ebook just as easily. That's true, but there are so many lost moments in our daily lives. Getting ready in the morning. Taking out the trash. Driving to work. Unloading the dishwasher. Mowing the lawn. Reading emails at work. All of these things (and plenty more) make our eyes unavailable for actual reading, but I can totally multitask and listen to a book while I do them. Most nights I listen for about 15-30 minutes after I get in bed and have turned out the light. I'm no longer messing up my brain by watching tv or scrolling mindlessly on my phone, and it's a soothing way to fall asleep (most of the time). And sometimes I like to listen 15-30 minutes in the morning if I've woken up early and don't want to get out of bed.

Once upon a time I was spending about 15 hours a week commuting between two jobs. I only listened to audiobooks on CD. Now, my commute is much shorter, but I'm listening to digital audiobooks on my phone during all those little moments so I can usually bang out one audiobook every 2-3 days. 

2. Listen more, read more
Every year since 2012 I have read fewer and fewer books for various reasons, the biggest of which is that I now work a full time job. My free time has decreased significantly, and as much as I love to read, I don't always want to use what free time I do have to sit around and read (blasphemy, I know!). BUT since I'm now listening during those little moments above, I can get through an audiobook in 2-3 days, which means I'm killing my reading challenges.

Granted, my weirdest reading quirk is that I only listen to audiobooks that I have previously read, which means I'm not actually listening to more titles, just more books overall. I have Reasons for this, although most people think I'm weird (I am, but whatever), and I'll share them in another Audio Adventures post soon. This leads to perk #3.

3. Reread a series without messing up your TBR
We've all been there. We make grand designs regarding monthly or seasonal TBRs only to mess it up when a beloved series has a new installment and we throw everything else aside to immerse ourselves in a favorite world in preparation. OR you actually plan to reread the series, but because you are swamped by other commitments and Shiny New Books, you never get to your reread and have to rely on recaps (note: nothing wrong with recaps! They're just not like reading the real thing) or your own sometimes faulty memory when you just dive into the new book and hope it comes back to you.

Have no fear; audiobooks are here! Three major sequels have released this year, and each one deserved me revisiting the first installment, but I didn't have time to reread Illuminae (599 pages), A Court of Thorns and Roses (416 pages), or Six of Crows (465 pages) before I read Gemina, ACOMAF, and Crooked Kingdom. Thankfully, I had the audiobooks to get me back in the world, and I could keep my TBR intact.

4. Read a favorite book for the "first time" again
When I love a fictional world and its inhabitants so much, it can be really hard to say goodbye. The worst thing about reading is that you can never really read a book again for the first time. I don't understand people who have waited 20 years to read Harry Potter, what with its relevance to current pop culture and the fact that it's a gosh darn cultural icon and the fact that nearly everyone on the planet has read it already, but I am jealous of those people who are reading it for the first time. I can never read it again that way. OR CAN I? The cool thing about audiobooks is that they're books I love, but they're an entirely new experience, just like movies are. So I CAN read that book again for the first time while also reading it a second time. Cool, right?

I haven't listened to the Harry Potter books yet. I feel like I'm "saving" them for some time when I really need them (and also Harry and JKR and I are kind of on a break right now, but that's a post for another time), but I've definitely listened to a lot of my favorite books in the last couple years. It's glorious! 

5. Get a new perspective
Along these same lines, because listening to an audiobook is different from reading the book the same way watching a movie adaptation is, listening to audiobooks can give you a cool new perspective on a story. A good example is Illuminae, which is a very visual book/series. I don't love the ebook since the art is separated, and you can't see the full spread on a phone so I was apprehensive about the audio, which would have NONE of the art. You know what? Listening Library KILLED it. It doesn't have the art so you can't see formatting like the unipedia pages or the blood spatter on one particularly gory page or the swirl and bounce of the words on some pages. It didn't matter. The narrators were brilliant, and the effects really brought it to life. It sounded like a radio drama, like Orson Welles's War of the Worlds, and it worked really well. There are some particularly challenging pages in Gemina, but after hearing what they did with Illuminae, I'm not worried.

Also, when you listen, it's easier to hear the language of the book. Passages and gorgeous quotes are so much easier to hear, and with an audiobook, your brain and eyes can't skip ahead. You're wholly in the moment. Words really pop out at you when you're listening. I guess this one is a bit doubled-edged because you'll also hear if an author relies on one word or phrase heavily (Sawyer Bennett loooves the phrase "on someone's doorstep," and I got so tired of hearing it), but for the most part, you won't remember those moments. You'll remember the story.

6. Audiobooks are comforting
When I was a kid, my dad used to read The Little House on the Prairie with my sister and me before bedtime. My mom was really the one who got me into reading, but those nights with my dad were really special. We'd curl up on either side and feel his voice rumbling through his chest. There's something really comforting about someone reading to you as opposed to you reading. Think of how sweet the movie The Princess Bride was when the grandfather shared a beloved book with baby Fred Savage. I have some favorite audiobooks, and whenever my brain is too tired to read or I feel stressed or need a laugh, I have scenes I can play (the drunk email from Illuminae is a go-to if I need a quick laugh!) to find a bit of peace and comfort.

7. Reread more
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a book lover in possession of a good personal library must be in want of more time to read new books but also reread old favorites. This goes with #2, which is read more, but every book blogger and librarian I know always wants to reread more. We find these awesome new books, but there are always awesome new books, and that means that sometimes the awesome old books lie by the wayside as we struggle to find a spot in a bursting TBR pile. With audiobooks, since I can read them relatively quickly, it's no trouble at all to give a beloved book another go, particularly if I'm in need of some TLC courtesy of #6.

I know I have 10 items on my pet peeves list and only 7 reasons listed here, but I'm having trouble coming up with non-redundant items. Plus, even though there are only 7, I think the joys of listening to audiobooks far outweigh the negatives. Being able to fill the tiny boring minutes in my day with something I love has made a huge difference. Do you agree with my list of audiobook pros? Do you have any of your own? Share in the comments!


  1. I haven't listened to an audio book in years and the one I did turned me off of them so I never went back. But maybe they've improved with better narration talent. I love the part where you say audio books are comforting. I never thought about it that way. I wonder if I'd fall asleep?

    1. Listening to audiobooks doesn't really put me to sleep unless I'm listening right before bed. The cool thing is that audiobook apps have evolved, and there's a SLEEP TIMER. So I can climb in bed, set it for 15 minutes, and not worry that I'll miss the story when I zonk out.

  2. I have a new love for audiobooks! They make driving to school so much better! :)

  3. Yay for multitasking! Though I can’t listen before going to sleep, I just can’t stop after 15-30 minutes. Lol. Now I’m really curious why you only listen to audiobooks that you have previously read. I listen to books that I haven’t listen, and I actually prefer to listen to the audiobook and reread later. The reason is that I imagine characters while reading books, and it include their voices. So when I try to listen to the audiobook after reading the book, it’s like “oh, now this is not how this character should voice”.

    Actually Harry Potter was the first audiobook I’ve ever listened in English. I’ve listened to the audiobooks narrated by Stephen Fry and I highly recommend them to you. He is fantastic! I totally agree with your Get a new perspective point. I noticed that I to listen to books with beautiful writing (Maggie Stiefvater for example).

    Fantastic post, Mary! As a person who loves audiobooks I really appreciate it.

    1. I can *usually* fall asleep just fine after 15 minutes, but I have noticed that if I'm at a particularly interesting part or the narrator gets loud, sometimes I wake back up, and that can be frustrating.

      I'll be posting another Audio Adventures in a couple days where I talk about only listening to books I've previously read, but that's really cool that you can hear the narrators' voices when you read after listening. I have experienced that before as well, especially if the narrator had a great accent. I think it might bother me, though, if I didn't think the narrator fit.

      HP is definitely on my list, but I think I'm going to hold off for just a bit. I absolutely want to listen to them, but I think I want to keep them for a time when I REALLY need a little bit of magic in my life.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Ksenia!