For What It's Worth

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Audiobook Tag: How I finally learned to (mostly) love audiobooks

The Audiobook Tag

Kit from Metaphors & Moonlight has struggled with audiobooks much like myself. I saw their Bookish Musings post for the The Audiobook Tag (which was found on Lovely Audiobooks. You can find the original from Books and Things on YouTube)

I'm not tagging anyone but feel free to join in and let me know if you do. 

Kit changed a couple of questions and I kept it that way because this format is new to me too and Kit's interpretation was a better fit for me as well.

1. Have you always listened to audiobooks, and if not, when did you begin?

Nooooo, I have not. This has been a decade long process for me that I have just recently, sort of, conquered.

2. What is your favorite audiobook? What is your favorite thing about audiobooks?

* For the past year, when my brain just could not process words on paper, audiobooks were a lifesaver. I could not read at all but audiobooks finally broke through my reading haze.

* I can read while driving (I am not an audio multi-tasker yet though)

* Hearing the pronunciation for things is so great!

* For some reason, I can listen to genres that I can't *read* like mystery/thrillers, fantasy, even more angsty YA. It's really expanded my reading world so much.

* Double the books! I seem to be able to handle two books at once when one is on audio and the other is an e-book or physical copy. I can keep them separate. 

3. What Is your least favorite audiobook? What is your least favorite thing about audiobooks?

* While audiobooks are great for pronunciation - they are horrible for spelling lol Especially if you are planning on reviewing a book later. I have to look everything up after.

* I can't always bookmark or easily look back. I listen when I'm in the car or with my Bluetooth speaker at home and it's not easy to just grab my phone and bookmark. Plus, with physical books, I just know where something was and can flip back to it or use tabs. I oftentimes like to look back quick at something in a previous chapter. If I drift off then I might have missed something important and it's a pain to try to find it again.

* I'm still super picky about narrators - although I'm getting better.

* Oddly enough, I mostly can't read my usual genres. The voices come off weird to me.

Especially romance. - Guys are too growly, women too perky - both too whiny - when they do each other's voices I usually hate it and the drama seems like it's lasting FOREVER lol (see next point below)

 Cutsey YA or even rom coms feel too over-the-top for me. Which is odd because humor is one of my FAVORITE things in books. But not on audio.

And don't get me going on sex scenes out loud booming through my car or house on my speaker lol

* I'm so sloooooooow reading audiobooks!!! I can't multitask with only a few exceptions. Even driving and listening took me forever to master. So I only listen an hour or so a day unless I sit and do nothing else and commit myself to it. The average audiobook is 8+ hours and I listen at 1.00 or max 1.24 speed. Meanwhile - I can read a physical book in 4-6 hours. That's the MOST frustrating thing for me. 

And like I mentioned earlier - the drama seems like it's lasting a year instead of a week to me lol I'm like...move on people! but I'm only 20% in the book.

*I've been very lucky getting on's arc program and my library has had a good selection - so most of my audiobooks have been free because otherwise they are too expensive or you need to get a subscription service (& still buy the books, although cheaper)! 

4. What do think is the difference in experience between reading a physical book and listening to an audiobook?

I find I get more immersed in the world with audiobooks. I feel like I can see what's happening more and really know the characters because they have more personality with actual voices and emotions. 

I often think of the characters more as friends and like I'm hanging out with them rather than reading. I actually miss some of them when I'm done. 

5. How and when do you find you listen to audiobooks?

Mainly in the mornings in my car while running errands. Then I usually switch to an e or physical book once I get home.

Oddly enough, I can visit and comment on blogs or read emails while listening (but not do chores or walking or anything lol) so I might squeeze in another hour or so at home.  

6. What style/genre do you prefer on audiobook?

Because I struggled so much at first, I've been really open about trying different genres in this format since my usual reads did not work.

I'll pretty much try anything on audio and have read more non fiction, women's fiction, fantasy and more. Things I would NEVER read with a physical book. It doesn't always work out but it's been one of the surprising things that happened.

7. Give some recommendations for audiobooks. (this is my twist on this question) Give me some tips for learning to like audiobooks.

I got a lot of tips when I was trying to adapt to audiobooks. Almost none worked for me but I'll share a few tips of what did.

* One thing that everyone got right though was listen to podcasts. Training your brain to focus on audio is a skill you learn with repetition. Start with short ones or about topics you're already interested in then expand from there. Add in podcasts that are short stories or have more of a production like quality with a cast and or music. 

* Everyone told me to listen to your favorites because you don't need to pay as much attention and it's ok if you drift off and miss something. That did not work for me. Probably because I don't like romance on audio. Also, familiar material made me drift off even more. So trying new genres were key.

* Try books with less of a narrative. Biographies (Michelle Obama's was my favorite), celebrity style books, even anthologies or essay style stories. Something short or easy to skip if it's not working for you but a win if it does! Maybe a mystery or something that has a hook so you need to keep reading to find out how it ends.

* Try different production styles. Both Sadie by Courtney Summers and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid were full cast productions. Sadie even had a podcast within the story. Both are fairly bummer kind of stories though (especially Sadie) so keep that in mind. 

Fantasy works better on audio for me because I feel immersed while in print I'm bored to tears reading about leaf & sky colors. It comes off as an adventure and there's usually a larger cast to follow.

* Play around with it - you might like more characters, one pov, intense, lighter/funny, certain accents etc. 

* Look for celebrity voices that you love as narrators so you'll already have a sense of familiarity. 

* Keep your initial reading bursts short. Just give yourself 15 minutes or 1 chapter at a time (or whatever works for you). Then increase it. 

* Play with the speed. Sometimes I need it real slow but other times I can and need it to speed up. 

I'm sure my long time audiobook loving pals out there can add to these! 

Final thoughts on audiobooks

It has taken me YEARS to be able to listen to audiobooks and I honestly didn't see the point of trying anymore but once I experimented some and figured out what did and didn't work for me it's been the only reason I've been able to read as much as I have this year. 

A few resources:

Jen from That's What I'm talking About blog has a list of links about audiobooks and co-hosts an audiobook challenge (that I still need to join!) 

Netgalley has a good beginners guide with great tips to get you started.

If you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited - a lot of books come with free audiobook versions to try out before/instead of buying an audible subscription. they also have a lot of original podcasts on there. Spotify is great too.


  1. I like the changes you made to a few of those questions and agree with some of those points. I love hearing how certain names, etc are supposed to be pronounced and being able to "read" while I do something else (drive, clean, shop). I don't really review-review audiobooks, but I like to write something in GR, and I will be searching for names and how they are spelled for my mini-reviews.

    1. It has been a loooong process for me and I'm always surprised by what I can (angsty, more literary style stories) and can't (romance) read on audio but it has opened me up to more genres!

  2. Most of the time I can not do fantasy, I have tried some, like 100% being YA, eh.
    Oh and angsty YA works so well in audio! But reading meh.
    It really is funny how that works

    1. It's really weird! I can't read any of my usual books on audio! Lol

    2. It took me years to figure that out and quit forcing it.

  3. Funny how it's a common occurrence to struggle with audiobooks but get better with them the more you listen. Ugh, yes, it is so hard to just go back and find something with audio! Cuz yeah I usually have no idea where it was and can't easily skim.

    That's so weird to me that you can't multitask by doing things physically, but you can blog and whatnot. Cuz I can do mindless physical tasks while listening (like cooking), but I cannot do anything that involves words or too much thinking.

    1. Probably because I have to concentrate when I cook lol

      But it's a process. I'm getting better all the time. I almost lost hope because it took YEARS and then one day -w ith the right book/narrator - it clicked.

  4. To be fair, my "cooking" is mostly just taking things from the freezer and putting them on a pan ๐Ÿ˜„

  5. It kills me that I went so long turning my nose up at audio books. Feeling like wasn't *really* reading. Gah! Something shifted in the last 4-5 years and now I can't imagine going without! There will always be books I prefer to read traditionally (top fave authors, for example), but now hardly a day goes by that I don't listen to an audio book at some point. I will say, it does get tricky come review time, like you mentioned. Spelling of names always has to get checked. :)

    1. I never felt the it's not reading thing but I just couldn't do it. For years and years!

      I think it's because I went too big at first with longer books and kept trying to read romance and it just does not work for me on audio.

  6. This makes sense. I've been avoiding audio-books because I don't want to give up reading paper-books but I'm wrong in viewing them as a replacement; instead, they can supplement my paper-books, like the suggestion about listening to them in the car. I could never read a paper-book there so an audio-book fills a gap that'd be otherwise empty. Good post!

    1. The epiphany for me was when I started reading outside my usual genres when I couldn't read (physical books) at all. It only added to my reading. Now I almost always have one audio and one physical book going.

      It's definitely not an either or situation.

  7. The biggest downside to audiobooks are the bookmark thing or marking off quotes and things. It can be so difficult when listening to an audiobook. But I love listening to them. Or they are great if a book is slow reading at first, and they can help me get into a book.

  8. I've tried listening to audiobooks but just can't concentrate on it. Plus I read fast. I can read a 200 page book in 2 hours. Audiobooks are too slow for me to enjoy.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Same. That was one of the more frustrating things about audio. But I want reading at all so it helped me get back in. I find myself doing both now.

  9. I don't do audiobooks mainly because I get distracted but honestly I've just never tried them that much. I'd probably love em if I took the plunge. :)

    I think mysteries on audio might be fun. I have listened to a few scary podcasts and I feel like if it gts my blood pumping or it's creepy that will make pay attention ha ha.

    1. It has taken me years to not drift off lol
      I think trying different genres is key. I've found more tv-ish type stories work best for me. I can almost *see* it.
      Thrillers have worked too. And I can't usually read them.

      But you're right, something with a hook.

  10. These are some great tips!!! I agree about the genre. I actually prefer to listen to fantasy and even UF rather than read them. I am one who recommends starting with a favorite series, but I didn't think about the genre. I started with Kate Daniels - so a non-romance. I listened to several UF before even trying a romance. I wonder if that helped me?! I would love to add this post to my resource page (which I haven't updated in FOREVER) - would you be okay with that?

    1. See, now I can't do UF. I tried Kate and they're other series on audio and I drifted.

      I'm getting better with romance though. I seem to get better with it as time goes on.

  11. I fought my sister for years about audiobooks. I thought experiencing the story would be different in a negative way. Then I accidentally hit myself in the eye with a scrub brush that had straight up bleach on it, so my eye was out of commission for a couple of months and the other eye had sympathy tearing. I broke down and started listening to my ebooks on text-to-speech while my eye was healing and audiobooks were an easy transition after that. ๐ŸŽง

    1. OMG I just laughed so hard. Sorry lol

      That's one way to start audiobooks ;-)

      They are kind of different for me - I get more of a visual with them because I assign certain voices and inflections tot he text than with reading. But then reading a physical book lets my imagination go more.

      They're both great though and I consider them both *reading*

  12. These are all great tips. I've tried different audios and I just cannot focus, or I find myself repeating back what was said so it's very annoying. I still want to try again someday - maybe with a full cast production or something.


    1. It's really a skill you hone. It took me years and years and it still has to be the right kind of book/narrator or I lose track.

      If you can handle a darker open ended type of book - Sadie was a great audio.

  13. Great answers, Karen. I like the tweaks to the original questions too.