I had been wanting to read ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ by Celeste Ng for the longest time. It had become one of those books that everyone had read and I was lagging ridiculously behind. (Yes I know. It’s not a race.) A friend of mine quietly shared that she had a copy, and I was quick to ask if I could borrow it. But as luck would have it, there was a ‘waiting list‘ for it. When you reside in Doha, new book titles are hard to come by, so the notorious wait list is your only hope!
I had checked the Qatar National Library earlier when the book had been released, but didn’t have much luck. Nevertheless I persisted and when I checked a few weeks later they had all 3 formats of the book! The paperback, an e-book and an audio book! QNL was my savior!
I had never ‘read’ (is that even a correct term to use), an audio book, or listened to one, but I stared at my screen longingly, the book I had wanted was only a download away! This was tempting!
I’ll be honest though, it felt like I was ‘cheating’! There was this gut wrenching guilt of ‘would it be fair to the actual book’? But the joy of having the book I had longed for in my hands in a matter of seconds made my heart flutter. Minor love affair with books going on here! Temptation got the better of me, and I began to download my anticipated read!.
Starting off the audio book was a little odd at first. I had to pay attention to each and every word, otherwise my mind would wander off and I would have to rewind the last 15 seconds – multiple times! It required concentration to follow. But it wasn’t long before it felt like someone was telling me a story and I was mesmerized! How long had it been since someone read ME a story?!!
Probably one of the most desired benefits of an audio book is that you can listen to it while multi tasking! It’s been a godsend for my commute. Doha traffic has nothing on me, as I listen to my audio book. It actually takes the stress away! I had caught on so well, that I found myself sitting in my car waiting for the chapter to finish before I got out!
I took my audio book to the gym and listened to it while I was on the elliptical. The result? I lost a pound. You can enjoy your audio book almost anywhere. During a long haul flight, while folding laundry, or if you’re like me, even when your spouse or kids are telling you inconsequential details about their day. Just make sure the ear phones are inconspicuous!
Having said that, there were some concerns I had with the audio books. Since you have to process the book aurally, the narrator plays an important role in the book. It can make or break the story. It is the character’s voice! As the emotions change, the voice changes. It can’t be read in monotone like we do in our head sometimes.
A good narrator takes on the voice of the character and is vital to the story. Having heard a few narrators now, I do prefer some over others.
If you were to venture into the audio world, I would suggest hearing a sample of the book, to see if you like the sound of it.
Annotate the book
Another issue, (and this is probably just me!) was I couldn’t highlight the passages as I listened to the book. Usually with a book in hand, I page mark the passages that resonate with me and affect me personally. I also love highlighting my favorite quotes in the book for my reviews and couldn’t do it with my audio book.
Audio books average approximately 12 hours. But some go as long as 19 hours so it takes a long time to get through them!
If you are a really fast reader, then you could finish reading a book much sooner. It definitely took me longer to get through an audio book. Again, not a race. You do have the option of increasing the speed at which the narrator reads, so that is always an option. But really fast readers might find audio books too slow for them.
An average reader reads at 250 – 300 wpm.
An audio book narrates at 150 wpm.
Ever wondered what your reading speed is? You can check find out here .
Where are the acknowledgements?
The last couple books I listened as an audio version, did not read the acknowledgements. There is a great deal that goes into writing and the acknowledgments provide an insight into the authors work. The extensive research that goes into producing such a work of an art should not go unnoticed. I really wish more audio books had the acknowledgements section!
Is an audio book for me?
The tactile sensations that an actual paper book provides far outweighs the benefits of an audio book for me. The turning of the pages, being able to flip back to the cover or blurb, the weight of the book in my hands are immeasurable. But the audio book is a great alternative to when titles are not available to me, and when I am driving or doing some mundane task. Also, I can get through far more books this way and hit my yearly target! Again not a race!
As a side note, if you’re looking for an audio read, Little Fires Everywhere is excellent!
What is your most preferred way of reading? Have you tried audio books and what are your thoughts on them?
Until next time!