3 Reasons I like Audio Books

LIBRARYYou can read to me anytime.

I love listening to stories. I rest my eyes and sink into an imaginary world created by someone else.

Yesterday, during my two hour ferry trip to see my grandkids, I listened to a story through ear phones connected to my spiffy new, Nexus 5 cell phone. Gotta love new technology.

I’ve been listening to audio books for a few years, but usually in the privacy of my home while I wash dishes, or take steaming hot baths. I’ve tried listening to books on beach walks, but I don’t like that as much. I like to hear the sounds of the outside world. In fact, after hours on the computer, I crave the connection.

But yesterday, I found myself in the middle of a good book and I didn’t want to stop listening. I thought…what the heck. I’ll just look like one more crazy islander with ear phones.

As I listened to Charlaine Harris’s second Sookie Stackhouse paranormal, Living Dead in Dallas, I wandered in and out of lines, bought a no-fat latte, boarded the ship and slid into a somewhat comfortable chair. Looking normal during erotic scenes confounded me. I’m sure I blushed from head to foot.I know my heart pounded during the fight scenes.

It was an odd feeling to be in a crowd of people engrossed in a story they couldn’t hear, kind of like being in a bubble. You’d think it would be the same as reading a book, but it’s different, because the experience of hearing a story, I believe, goes deeper.

I looked around me every few minutes, thinking someone might hear my story leaking out of my wires, or worse my expression. But no one stared. I faded into the scene. Just another connected-crazy. After a few uncomfortable minutes, I melded into my story and forgot about the world.

3 Reasons I like Audio Books

  1. They helps me as a writer. I can hear when the author takes me into deep POV (Point of View), pulls me into a setting, thrills me with a good metaphor, and stuns me with a plot twist. I can hear it in their prose.
  2. They allows me to enjoy stories without taxing my eyes.
  3. Listening to them feels good. There’s something primal about being told a story out-loud. I don’t need a wood fire, just the sound of a voice sharing. My shoulders drop a few inches. I breath more deeply. And I connect with the story.

Is it Always Magical for me?

No. Not all audial renditions of books are equal.

Recently, I listened to a bestselling book that I couldn’t finish. The story was well-written, but the reader added a layer of arrogance to the voice of the main character that irritated me and made me dislike the character.

The Sookie Stackhouse stories are  fun on audio and are by far my favorite, because the reader, Johanna Parker, is adept at southern American accents and is able to change her voice easily to cover both male and female characters. I also enjoy Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse cozy mysteries. 

Your turn. Do you listen to stories?

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

Jo-Ann Carson writes a saucy mix of fantasy, adventure and romance. Her latest stories are in the Gambling Ghosts Series: A Highland Ghost for Christmas, A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day, Confessions of a Pirate Ghost and The Biker Ghost Meets his Match. An anthology of the novellas will be coming out this summer. Currently she is working on Midnight Magic, A Ghost & Abby Mystery, the first book in a spin-off series from her Viking ghost story. Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, playing Mah Jong and drinking good coffee. You can chat with her on social media: You can find all her links on her website - http://jo-anncarson.com

12 thoughts on “3 Reasons I like Audio Books”

  1. So far I don’t. The one I started I ended up going to ebook on. It was a best selling author with a good narrator. Just to me it wasn’t how I ‘heard’ the story or character in my head. And it wasn’t convenient for me at that time. But that doesn’t mean never.

    In college we had to do a radio theatre production and (after I threw up before going on-stage) it went very well. But I definitely learned to appreciate the art of telling a story using audio.

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    1. Hi Pat
      OM goodness. Your debut sounds memorable. lol
      I think what you said about the character is exactly what happened to me. The voice of the narrator changed the story in a way that didn’t meet my expectations. I’m fascinated with how fragile a story is and how different ways of presenting it can effect it so much.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      It’s freezing but sunny over here on the mainland. I hope you’re staying warm in Victoria.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  2. I can’t remember listening to an audio book, Jo-Ann. Gave some thought in the years before I discovered writing to try to be the person reading them. But that’s almost as big a process to break into as into the print world. I think for long trips driving or riding the ferry like you were that might work. I can remember some long drives across west Texas and New Mexico when there is very much of nothing and not much in between. An audio book might’ve worked for me then. But I usually talk to help keep DH awake in that kind of setting. (I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you. :)) And besides, I think I know how those lines should be read. LOL So bad, I know. There’s also the time involved. I can read an e-book or print book way faster than anyone (myself included) can read it out loud–at least if it’s done well. Having thought through all this, I guess I’m not much of a candidate for an audio book. I know lots of folks besides you love them. Certainly for someone sight impaired, these would be immensely valuable. Thanks for another thought provoking post.

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    1. Hi Marsha
      Mmmm I envy you the long drives across west Texas and New Mexico. I bet it’s beautiful.
      But yeah, I can see you talking with DH and keeping him awake instead.
      I got “fired up” about fitting audio books into my life after reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing. He talks about how writers should be reading all the time and if it’s not convenient to sit and read, he suggests audio books. I’m challenging myself to one book a month squeezed into spare moments. Like I said, some I love and some I don’t. After a year, we’ll see if I keep my subscription.
      I am fascinated with the how hearing the story is different for me. You know the educator in me can’t let go of the wonder of learning.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and chat. You’re the best.
      Jo-Ann

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      1. West Texas is beautiful in an eerie, moonscape sort of fashion. Like how did anyone every cross this area in a covered wagon? It’s mind boggling. I confess, that while I have the King book, I’ve never gotten too far in it. I’m not a very analytical kind of person. Or I am, but in more of a nuts and bolts kind of way. I do see that symbols are cool for you. I think our basic learning styles must be different. I always love what I read on your blog, but I’m always thinking, “Wow!” LOL
        I probably do read one book a month now. I read late at night on one of the e-readers and I know this is just so wrong, but during commercials. (Not because I’m missing those, but because it shortchanges the book.) Okay off to watch a rerun of Castle and look for a ring that’s missing. Take care, Jo-Ann.

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      2. Hi Marsha
        I love Castle too. Lately, I’ve been hooked on Covert Affairs on Netflix. I can’t seem to get enough of our genre in all forms.
        I hope you find your ring.
        Thanks again for visiting.
        Best
        Jo-Ann

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  3. Think of all the old radio shows like The Shadow! Back before TV people gathered around radios to listen to weekly shows which often had huge audiences. Sound effects were an art in themselves. I think I’m off track here so I’ll say goodnight.

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    1. Hi Pat
      I love “the off-track” comment. The Shadow rocks. I takes a score of people to create radio dramas but that’s another way to bring stories to life. Thanks for the comment.
      Cheers
      Jo-Ann

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  4. I haven’t read/listened to an audio book since I was a teenager. Maybe it’s time to give it another go although I don’t like the idea of the speaker putting on different voices for male and female characters. I think that would actually put me off.
    I’d be blushing in public too listening to Sookie’s vampire adventures!

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    1. Hi Emma
      Yes, I agree–some of Harris’s scenes are shall we say, imaginative.
      I find when audio-book readers don’t manage the male female voices well, I fall right out of the story. But the Sookie series is well done. Sookie sounds like a humble young southern woman with spirit and a big heart. Bill sounds wonderfully male, cold and dead like a vampire hero should. It’s quite remarkable.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Happy writing
      Jo-Ann

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  5. When I was assisting a friend with a ski-condo in the interior, and traveling for hours, we would listen to books-on-tape all the way to the front door. The time seemed to evaporate. We would remain in the vehicle in the parking lot right up to the end.
    I haven’t taken any of those trips for awhile, so have fallen out of the habit. A great reminder of another way to get ‘book language’ subtly into the brain.

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    1. Hi Jodie
      Love your story about travelling with a friend and listening to books on tape. I think the only thing better than enjoying a good story is sharing that experience with someone else.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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