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More Than Just Words: Audiobook Love!

ArmchairBEAToday’s topic at Armchair BEA is “More Than Just Words”:

There are so many mediums that feature more than just words and enhance a story in a multitude of ways. Examples may include graphic novels and comics, audiobooks, or even multimedia novels. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just the words and use other ways to experience a story. Which books stand out to you in these different formats?

I’d like to talk about audiobooks, because they’re something I “discovered” for myself shortly after I began MsBookish.

For years I’d told myself audiobooks just weren’t my kind of thing. I’m a really fast reader – I confess to skimming through boring sections in books, and even when I’m reading every single word, I do so very quickly. There was no way an audiobook could replicate that for me, and when I looked at the duration of various audiobooks – 6 hours, 13 hours, some even 19 hours (yikes!) – I just couldn’t see how an audiobook could fit into my life.

And then one day I discovered several Agatha Christie novels put out as BBC Radio Crime Full Cast Dramas. Only a couple of hours long, this series adapted my favourite Christie novels into plays. I listened to one, and I was hooked.

It’s kind of like how I came to eat sushi. When I was younger, the texture of the raw fish really put me off. But then one day I had smoked salmon, found I liked it, and in the process, I got used to the raw fish texture. Suddenly, there I was, eating all kinds of sushi, not just the smoked salmon sushi.

It was the same with audiobooks. I got used to listening to these BBC radio adaptations, and when I got through all the ones I could find, I decided to give the full-length Agatha Christie novels a try. I fell in love with Hugh Fraser’s narration of the Hercule Poirot mysteries, and from there, things just took off.

I now listen to at least one audiobook a week. The strange thing is that I find if I just sit down to do nothing but listen, I have a hard time. Unless the book is very exciting (and there are some that are), my mind wanders. All over the place. And with an audiobook, a few seconds spent pondering whether you really should do another load of laundry can mean missing something vital, especially if you’re listening to a mystery.

But if I’m doing something on the mindless side – cleaning, chopping up food, folding laundry or my favourite thing to pair with an audiobook, an iPhone or iPad game – I get a beautiful audiobook listening experience! So for me, an audiobook is a great way to multitask and get all those boring chores done without feeling like you’ve done anything at all.

What about you? Do you enjoy listening to audiobooks? Are you on the fence, worried that you won’t be able to last through the hours of narration? If you like audiobooks, what are some of your favourite listens? Please let me know in the comments below, because I’m always on the lookout for a great book in audio!