Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Musings #1 (Audiobooks: Awesome? or Awful?)

Today I am introducing a new feature of sorts to the blog. It is obviously titled Monday Musings. Monday is a relatively boring day here on the blog. There aren't a lot of memes on Monday, and no one just wants to read one review after not getting a lot of content over the weekends. So I've decided that on Monday I will just do a "me" post. There's often a lot of topics that come up over the blogosphere, and I will do a post highlighting my opinion on a given subject or reasons behind why I do something a certain way. I probably won't have something to talk about every week or I might have a ton of stuff to say about something and use up two weeks talking about it. Sound good to you? this week, I think I will start of by talking about audiobooks. 
Audiobooks: Awesome? or Awful?
So recently, I've seen a lot of chatter about some followers who want to get into audiobooks, but don't really know if they would like them. In our crazy busy worlds with kids, business meetings, houses to clean, jobs, conferences, school, hobbies, and all the other thousand things some of us do outside the blogging world, sometimes we just don't have the time to whip out a book and get reading.  What's a bookie to do when her reading time is never enough? Well...besides sending your kids and hubster on a weekend at grandma's, one option is to give audiobooks a try.
Before this year, I had never really given audiobooks a chance. I listened to one a loooong time long ago that I don't even remember what it was or who read it. I swear, it was like listening to someone reading out of the dictionary. I fell asleep about 4 times before I got through disc one, and had to quit because I just couldn't take Captain Monotone anymore. After that first bad experience, I shelved audiobooks for a good 10 years, until last summer when I came across an amazing blog that features a ton of audiobooks. Mickey at I'm a Book Shark had such glowing reviews and really great praise for so many that I gave in and decided to try again. I went out to the library and got an audiobook (one that Mickey gave 5 stars...gotta trust that chick's opinions man..they're spot on). It.Was.Fabulous. The narrator really made the characters come to life, and was able to put so much personality and depth into those characters that I doubt you would get with print books.

Since that day, I  have become an avid supporter of audiobooks. I have a two and a half hour drive between home and my university...which totally bites by the way...I used to pass the time listening to the same CD over and over again or listening to crappy radio. Now, I spend that two hours in a much more productive and fascinating way. Also the time passes way quicker. What used to take lifetimes now seems to take only a half an hour or so and I get disappointed if I haven't finished a book by the time I get there. I've been known to circle the block a time or two so that I can finish my chapter lol.

So do you feel like giving your eyes a rest and turn your ears on for a change? Do you think that audiobooks could possibly be evil and deserve scorn and ridicule from all "real" book lovers who look upon listeners with disgust and shame? are some pros and cons to help you decide which side of the fence you're on. 

The Pro's:
Size: Some of us have so much crap to carry around that it's hard to find space in our purses to carry a book or even an e-reader. Depending on the format of your audiobooks, listening can be as simple as downloading to your iPod or MP3 player, or streaming to your Smart phone, laptop or tablet. I for one LOVE this. I hate to admit it, but I would rather be curled up with a book and a cup of delicious coffee for 5 hours than to show my face at the gym for 10 minutes. By downloading audiobooks to my iTunes account, I can put them on my iPod and I tell you NOTHING makes you run faster when you're on the treadmill than having a good chase scene playing out in your mind and you have to run from the terrifying werewolf behind you.They also take your mind off the excruciating pain you are inflicting on your body so you can continue to inflict pain until you're skinny...fabulous!...sort of.

Versatility : Whether it's in the car on the long commute between work and home, on an airplane with tons of chatty passengers, or just on a walk to the store or around the block, there's always going to be those times when you want to tune the world out or just pass the time. Cars are especially great places because you can't (safely) drive a car while holding a book...not that I haven't tried reading an actual book...especially in rush hour-bumper-to-bumper-traffic-jams...however, I believe that might be illegal and is definitely not the safest driving technique so I advise you listen to audiobooks on the drive...I myself like to listen to audiobooks both in the car and in the house while cleaning. There's nothing more boring and horrific to me as having to clean the house. However, I am in slightly less cleaning induced pain when I can again, distract my mind with delightful audiobook stories.

The Con's
Price: While some subscriptions to audiobook websites can be as little as 9.99 a month, for the most part, audiobooks can be freaking expensive. The CD versions especially. You are paying for typically 7-15 discs worth of audio, and when compared to buying ONE CD for 14$ at Target or something, 60$ seems relatively reasonable. Until you realize that you are paying 60$ for someone to read you a story that you could buy in paperback for 7.99$...That my friends, is why I end up usually getting the audiobooks from garage sales and at the library. There is NO way I'm spending that much on one book...sorry, but I could buy 6-8 other books with that money...not.gunna.happen. On the other hand, site's like try to reduce the price of audiobooks, and they are downloadable to almost any computer, smart phone, etc. But when I say reduce the price I still mean over 200$ for only 24 books a year.

Size: This is actually only if you buy the CD versions. They are kind of large. And that is a LOT of Cd's that I have the potential to lose. It's like carrying a chapter of a book around at a time. You could lose just one and then the whole book is ruined. SO if you're prone to losing things or don't have the space to keep 15 Cd's for each book...go the download-able route or the regular book/e-book route. Well actually, size is an issue on some iPods and things too...I can usually fit one audiobook at a time on my iPod. I literally have to delete it after I listened so that I can add another. If that doesn't bother you, then go for it...I do it all the time. But if you want to keep all of your books in one listening device...good luck...I advise that you find yourself a Tablet or something.

My Opinions:
I love audiobooks...I like to listen to them while walking between classes, driving to work, to read me to sleep, to clean to...lots of stuff that is usually boring can be made so much better with audiobooks. I do have my own complaints though...One HUGE thing that can bug me is the narrator. A good narrator is hard to find, because it is them who really makes or breaks an audiobook. If the narrator reads in a monotone, boring,dry voice, you probably are going to lose interest and hate on that book. On the other hand, I can't stand it when a narrator is too dramatic. I get that it's hard to read with emotion, but I've had narrators who had me rolling my eyes and wishing that they would just shut up already. When a narrator and a book really click, now that's pure magic. Two series that are done particularly well are the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer and The Otherworld Series by Kelley Armstrong. The narrators are fantastic and they make the stories come to life completely. If you're an audiobook newbie, I would try them to see if you like it

Well, sorry to have gone on forever and a day. I could probably write a crap-ton more about audiobooks and my experiences with them, but I doubt anyone is still reading this, so I will stop now. So anyways... those are my thoughts on audiobooks. I hope that you are now informed, or entertained, or enriched in some random way that I can't think of right now. Have an excellent week and I hope your Monday isn't too awful right now :P
*disclaimer* I don't think there is a Monday Musings feature on any other book least that I have been able to recover in my research. I am not trying to steal other blogger's features...It's pretty hard to be completely original these days...I thought "Mercurial Mondays" sounded good but makes no sense. "Manic Monday" doesn't fit right either..You try to come up with something that goes with Monday and fits the if you have a problem let me know and I will try to figure out something that lets us both be happy and talk about our thoughts on Mondays...Awesome? Awesome. *disclaimer*

P.S. The button used today was made for a Bride's Blog in the U.K. I am borrowing it for the week and will have the actual feature button by next week...hopefully... Later lovlies!


  1. It really depends on how much you like the narrator when it comes to actually listening to it.

    For example, White Cat by Holly Black has Jesse Eisenberg for the narrator. His voice goes well with the main character, Cassel. Some other good examples are the Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan.

    Some bad examples are Twilight. The narrator is monotone and doesn't change the infliction of her voice to indicate when other characters are speaking, and also

    When I listen to an audiobook, I want to be able to mind the voice for the 6+ hours.

    But yes, the price is high and if you get a hard copy of the audiobook, it's a lot of CD's and it really creates a hassle for something that should save you time.

  2. The best audiobook that I've ever listened to was Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. Stina Nelson was absolutely AMAZING! I cannot stress how absolutely wonderful that audiobook was! Planning on asking for the rest of the series on audio for Christmas. Great points.

  3. Yeah Megan, It really does come down to the narrator. I adored the Harry Potter series. The narrator really added a lot to what was already fantastic

    @wordslikesilver OMG I actually just read my first Louise Rennison book yesterday! It was Withering Tights and I just realized that it's kind of a spin off of another series of hers. I LOVED her writing style and I bet it would be hilarious in audiobook form! I'll have to take your advice and run out and get Angus, Thongs, etc.. asap!

  4. I'm so glad you tried audio books and love them again! And man, I'm scared and flattered that you trust me that much.. LOL. You're way too sweet.

    Definitely go with Angus. I listened to those, and eventually the author narrates the books. Usually that is kind of blah, but Louise Rennison brings her characters to LIFE! It's all so hysterical. Hope you enjoy them!!!

  5. The only audiobooks I have are downloadable ones. But I'm not a super fan of them because the narrator can kill the book. I prefer to read it and give them a voice.
    Really nice post!

    - Mary | Anxirium

  6. Don't forget the library! You can get CDs as well as eAudiobooks through most libraries. I do that a lot, and I also have an Audible account, and I use both. I love audiobooks, if you didn't already guess.

    Another wonderful narrator is the woman who reads the Chess Putnam by Stacia Kane. I loved all three books, and I'm looking forward to book four.

  7. i was the same about audio books i didnt know if i would like them i was very much on the fence since i like the feel of a hard cover in my hands nothing beats reading an actual book. I have also had an ereader but totally lost interest in it.

    old skool thats me lol.

    But i did give in and I've listened to a few some have really been bad while others have been awesome. I have read books and thought ah its ok but then had an audio reader bring it totally alive for me.

    my favorites are:

    Delirium and All these things ive done.. totally amazing. I recently listened to destined pc cast and that reader was amazing its all to do with how charismatic the reader is.

    They do cost more but get in touch with macmillian audio or even your online town library system

  8. Narrator is crucial! No matter how good the book is, a bad narrator can kill it. Toward that end, I curated an iPhone app with only the best narrated audiobooks in the children's section of Titles like Little Women, Aesop's Fables, The Jungle Book. It's called Audiobooks For Your Kids -- only 99 cents.

    No hassling with CDs, great value, we've sorted out the narrators for you. Classic literature!

    Check it out:

  9. I just popped over here from your Audiobook Week 2012 post, and enjoyed your pros and cons list and the rest. (I did read to the end!) I with your other commenters that listening to the Georgia Nicholson series that starts with Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging is definitely the way to go. If you're at all into YA chick-lit-style humor, they will have you laughing out loud.