Discussion | What Do You Use Audiobooks For?

Hi folks! Today I bring you a somewhat rare post about audiobooks. This isn’t so much a discussion about which audiobooks I chose or when I listen to them; rather, this is more of a word vomit discussion of a tendency I’ve noticed I have regarding audiobooks. You see, I’ve noticed that I predominantly use them to “re-read” books I’ve already read which may seem pointless but let me explain…

handmaidaudiobookRecently I decided that I needed to re-read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in preparation for watching the TV adaptation which finally started airing in the UK on Sunday nights on Channel 4 recently. I decided this on the preceding Friday morning, when I was already in work, so I didn’t have a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale with me, much less the reading time to get through it by Sunday night. It’s not a particularly long book, but it’s also not that quick of a read, so I was very conscious that I probably didn’t have enough hours to physically read the book at the weekend.

However, a quick search of my library’s Overdrive offerings revealed that they had the audiobook, as read by Joanna David, available to borrow. And I was having a slow day in work, where I needed to input fairly monotonous data onto a spreadsheet and do some research via Google to find out some author details. So, I could listen to something. I had tried listening to a new audiobook and I had tried listening to a podcast (I’m currently making my way through Witch Please, why had I not listened to that sooner?!?), but I just wasn’t feeling it. So I popped on The Handmaid’s Tale audiobook and was very quickly swept up in a re-read of the dystopian classic. Not only that, I listened to the majority of the audiobook in the space of my day at work. There’s something quite satisfying about accomplishing that at the same time as being in work.

ravenboysaudiobookMy go-to, prevailing example to explain my relationship with audiobooks is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. There is just something about this story that lends itself to a slow-burning drawling audiobook that you can sink into, and the narrator Will Patton’s voice has that in spades. I adore Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle (I still haven’t read the final book because I can’t let go yet) and I’m more than sure that I will continue to re-read this series for many years to come. In an effort to not completely wreck my paperbacks, I purchased the series’ audiobooks via Audible and, in the midst of doing a series re-read late last year, I eagerly started to listen to Blue Lily, Lily Blue. That was the beginning of the end, my friends, I’m now hooked on these audiobooks. There’s just something about its narration style that is strangely comforting and familiar and makes re-reads feel so cosy.

By using audiobooks for re-reading past favourites I also feel like I’m not wasting time reading which might not sound entirely logical but stay with me on this one. If I re-read a book (as I am wont to do) I feel as though I’m not reading something new and therefore wasting time. After all, we only have a finite amount of time to read ALL THE THINGS and so many books so little time. My tendency to want to re-read and re-experience my favourite things (it’s a comfort thing, ultimately) clashes with my TBR ambitions. So re-reading via listening to the audiobook makes me feel less guilty, because the only time I listen to an audiobook is when I physically can’t read a book because I’m travelling or doing laundry. It’s all about maximising your free (otherwise dead) time and squeezing reading in with minimal guilt experienced about what you happen to be “reading”.

So that’s what I primarily use audiobooks for but what do you use audiobooks for? Do you use them to “re-read” books like I do? Or do you prefer to listen to only new books you’ve never read before? Please comment below, I’d love to hear your opinions on all things audiobooks.


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10 thoughts on “Discussion | What Do You Use Audiobooks For?

    • Emma 21/06/2017 / 09:23

      You should work on your evil laugh :P Steal away!

  1. Kathryn Gossow 19/06/2017 / 09:03

    I listen to them when I am driving to work – it allows me to have two books on the go at once. I don’t have any criteria about what I might pick as an audible listen, except sometimes I pick a book to listen to instead of reading because I want to hear it in the accent of the country it is set in.

    • Emma 21/06/2017 / 09:50

      That’s a really good idea :) When I had a longer train journey and walk to work I used to squeeze in a lot of audiobook time throughout the work week and it’s satisfying to be able to put that otherwise “dead time” to good use.

  2. allymemes 18/06/2017 / 18:02

    I’ve only really listened to audiobooks once, and it was when I was concussed and couldn’t read lol. But I never thought about using them to reread books!

    • Emma 21/06/2017 / 09:51

      Haha, well, that sure was an interesting solution! :P I use them to re-read admittedly also because then it doesn’t matter if I zone out or drift off slightly as I’m already familiar with the story being told so I won’t get completely lost!

  3. Kate W 18/06/2017 / 10:14

    I tend to use audiobooks for either novels that are really long or for novels that I also have hard copies of – I realise that sounds odd but I do like switching between reading and listening!

    • Emma 21/06/2017 / 09:52

      No, not too odd, I completely understand that! :) I’ve bought the audiobook of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell alongside my paperback copy for that very reason.

  4. MetalPhantasmReads 17/06/2017 / 18:47

    For me, I love certain narrators. If I know that they’re narrating an upcoming book I’m curious about, I’ll get it from my library. I also use audio books for epic fantasy that’s over 500 pages like Sanderson’s stuff for example. You can listen to them while driving, exercising, chores, etc. I find it useful to get stuff done while listening to a story :) great post!

    • Emma 21/06/2017 / 09:54

      I agree about narrators being super important. :) I adore Will Patton’s voice for The Raven Boys; it’s a perfect fit, and if a classic is read by Simon Prebble, I love it because his voice is very precise and easy to listen to.

      Thank you, thanks for reading and commenting.

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