Audiobooks — A Reader’s Best Friend

We asked Sandy Nawrot to share with you today about audiobooks and how they can be a busy reader’s absolute best friend. Sandy is an avid reader, a book blogger, and audiobook evangelist. She is also a member of the She Reads Blog Network. And to prove our point, we’re giving away the audio copy of Joshilyn Jackson’s latest novel, A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY, to one lucky reader today. Just leave a comment on this post.  

Sandy Nawrot

So tell me, does this sound familiar?  Get up around 5:30am, go for a walk, make breakfast for the kids, get the kids up and chauffeured to school, run an hour’s worth of errands, go home and clean the house and pull a few weeds, clean up some cat vomit, wait for electrician/plumber/cable guy to show up and fix something, eat a bite of lunch, take a quick shower, pick the kids up from school, drop one kid off at football practice, and the other to horseback riding lessons, sit and wait for said activities to finish up, bring the kids home, make dinner, feed the hungry natives, clean up, take a hot bath, and collapse into bed at 10:00pm.  Some of you might work outside the home full time, some might have more or less kids and different activities, but we are all singing the same anthem.  We are ALWAYS ON THE MOVE.  I like to think of us all as the Sisterhood of the Busy Pants.

Until their kids head off to college, many of my friends have abandoned all hope of ever reading anything but e-mails from the school, rules of conduct for sports activities, and maybe a Facebook post or two.  So how on earth do I manage to read 150 books a year?  I have always been a master at multi-tasking my day…we all are, because it is a matter of survival.  I just put those skills to use to enable my reading addiction, and the answer, my friends is THE AUDIOBOOK.  A busy woman’s BFF.

I am always plugged in.  For Christmas a number of years ago, my husband got me the biggest iPod he could find (160 gigs), and I loaded that puppy up and away I went.  I listen to books when I’m cleaning the house or the pool (take care not to fall in…I’ve done it).  When I’m doing yard work.  When I am exercising, when I’m driving, when I’m cooking, when I am doing my hair and putting on my makeup.  I’ve even gotten my kids into audios, so sometimes we listen when we are all in the car.  We spent one entire year once listening to all the Harry Potters.  Please know that if people are around me, I do take the headphones off…but often I’m on my own, so why not kill two birds with one stone?

Listening to audios is definitely a learned skill.  It is easy to get distracted and miss an important reveal or fact, but as you get used to this method of “reading” it becomes easier.  Your ears become more nimble!  You can become frustrated when there are numerous names and all kinds of complicated plots, but I have learned that if you just relax and let the story wash over you, the important names and events will float to the top and make themselves known.  In some cases, it is a huge advantage.  Take the Stieg Larssen series for example.  I would have driven myself crazy reading all those Norwegian names, but with Simon Vance purring them out and making them sound like a love song?  Painless.  As a blogger who reviews audios, I guess I do miss out on being able to easily capturing great quotes that I can use, but it is amazing how much you can find with Google.

I have two main sources for my audio needs.  First, my library has an absolutely AMAZING inventory of audios, and they get everything new that comes along as well.  They not only have the physical CDs, but MP3s, playaways (like a little box that you plug your earphones into), and downloadable content through a free app called Overdrive.  There is very little I cannot get from the library.  I also receive new audios from Hachette and Penguin for whom I write reviews in return, so if you are a blogger you might give this some thought.  But if you have a small library and aren’t in the business of audio reviews, one excellent place to turn is Audible.com, where you can pay a monthly prescription and receive credits towards downloads.

I maintain that an audio, in the hands of a seasoned narrator, can take a good book and convert it into a mind-blowing experience.  There are a number of narrators that are like Rock Gods to me, and there are some novels that I will adamantly REFUSE to read in print.  If you get the chance to listen to Cassandra Campbell, Simon Vance, Robin Sachs, Hope Davis, Lenny Henry, Jonathan Davis or Barbara Rosenblat, give them a shot and I’m pretty sure you will agree that they could read the phone book and make it sound good.  (And honestly, there are probably two dozen more I could give you.)

But one particular author, who has narrated all of her books except one, bears a special mention, and that is Joshilyn Jackson.  First of all, her books themselves are amazing…full of strong Southern women who laugh to keep from crying, who you will wish were in your lives.  But when Joshilyn, in her girlish little twang of a voice, brings them to life?  You’ll want to weep when its over.  And the best news yet?  She is now narrating OTHER authors’ books too!

So if you are a card-carrying member of the Sisterhood of the Busy Pants, and love to read and miss your beloved books, I’d give audio a try.  If you have an iPod but don’t know how to figure out the uploading thing, ask your kids to help.  Or if you don’t have an iPod or MP3, go out to the dollar store and buy a “Discman” (yes they still exist, I know because my mom got one for this very purpose).  Prepare to have more fun than you ever thought possible while waiting in a carline.

Sandy Nawrot (You’ve Gotta Read This)

Sandy is a stay-at-home mother of two teenagers, and has been blogging for four years.  She is obsessed with reading, half of which is done via audiobooks (it is all about multi-tasking).  She reads and reviews all genres.  When she isn’t doing bookish things, she is running, golfing, volunteering at the kids’ school, chauffeuring the little darlings to their activities, traveling, or partaking of a fine wine.

Twitter:  @youvegottaread

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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29 Responses to Audiobooks — A Reader’s Best Friend

  1. Elizabeth Towns September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I multi-task as a way of life. Audio books are a part of that same way air is a part of breathing! I want to win this audiobook, but I also wanted to say I always ease people into listening by suggesting authors who are well read (ha) onto audio, just as you have. One of my fave is Dean Koontz, Intensity. Listen to that as a mystery fan and you will be audio hooked!

  2. Alison Law September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sandy, your post made me laugh. I hope your iPod didn’t drown when you fell in the pool! I often don’t think to listen to audiobooks because I spend so little time in the car. Joshilyn Jackson recently read the audiobook for Lydia Netzer’s debut novel, Shine, Shine, Shine. You should add it to your listening list.

  3. Nancy J September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I love audiobooks too! As a family, we have always chosen a book to listen to as we were driving. We have many family memories of sitting in the car after we had arrived because we were at an exciting part of the book and no one wanted to turn it off! Thanks for your post today!

  4. Nancy September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I try to have an audio book available when I make the 8-hour drive to visit my daughter in Kentucky. A good audio makes the miles fly by! Just be careful not to laugh or cry too hard that you can’t see the road!

  5. Gwyn September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I love listening to audio books. I end up traveling alot so in my card goes another book on CD!!! This one sounds like a great book.

  6. Charity September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I’m totally a member of the Sisterhood of the Busy Pants, and often lament how I miss reading since my children came along (they are four and two). So this sounds really interesting to me!

  7. Evelyn September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    My husband and I always listen to books on tape when we travel, but have not yet tried it for everyday “reading”.

  8. Susan S. September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I totally relate to the description of your day and add in working outside the home full time. Since I have a little bit of a drive, I listen to audio books during my commute. Love it! In fact there are days I look forward to my drive just to hear what happens next!!

  9. bermudaonion(Kathy) September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I didn’t discover audio books until I started blogging and I love them now! There is a learning curve involved but it’s not very steep. No need to enter me in the giveaway.

  10. Kandra September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Yes! We love audiobooks for long trips, but I also keep one in the SUV to listen to on my way to and from work. I just wish I could find more of them in the genres I prefer.

  11. Nancy September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Love audiobooks. Have listened to them for years while in the car. I will try incorporating them into my daily activities. Thanks.

  12. Robin Mitrani September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I LOVE audiobooks. My family lives in another state and so when I go visit I always have a book with me to listen to.

    We went on vacation and my husband and kids wanted to hike up a mountain. It was cold and wet. I didn’t want to go. My kids said “Mom, you drive up and listen to your book and then you can drive us down”. They know I often have a book in my cd player. It is how I get most of my reading done.
    -Robin

  13. Kari September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I love reading audiobooks. Thank you for this post!

  14. Gwen September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Would love to win this book, so I can start the wonderful adventure of audiobooks. I keep putting it off, hope this will give me the extra push I need to get started. THANKS!

  15. Nicole September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This sounds like a fun read — or in this case, “listen!”

  16. zibilee September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sandy is the only person that was able to get me to give audiobooks a real chance, and now I listen whenever I can. I am especially lucky to have a book narrated by Simon Vance up next, and I am really looking forward to it. This was a great post, and it really highlights just how audiobooks can make a reader out of anyone who thinks they might not have the time.

  17. Katherine Jones September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sometimes multitasking has it’s place! Love to accomplish mindless tasks while engaging my imagination with audiobooks.

  18. Beth September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    We listened to The Help on a long drive to Atlanta from Houston and back. The whole family enjoyed it! I’d love to hear Joshilyn Jackson read her book!!

  19. Linda September 17, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to win this audio book and start my adventure with this type of reading. I always have a book in my hand and enjoy the escape to “somewhere else with someone else” world.

  20. Janet September 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I admit I’ m a book fiend, but have not tried audio, but it sounds like I should! I spend alot of time in the car & waiting for practices & reading my kindle seems like I’m ignoring the children, but hmmm w/ I earbud , I can listen & sorta pay attention!! :)

  21. Patt September 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I totally get that the narrator can make or break a story. Those who can speak in multiple voices and accents give life to the written word.
    I have found multitasking gets hard as I get older. Knitting and listening, basically two things are my limit.
    Patt

  22. Veronica September 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I’ve listened to a few audiobooks. The Left Behind series An experience in sound and drama were very cool. Different artists and sound effects. I find that I don’t retain the story as well as reading it though.

  23. Tony Atwell September 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    At this day and age, you don’t have the luxury of taking leisure times due to the work load. People have to work to survive, this is reality. Most of our time, we are on the move especially those who have house chores or family to take care of. You did a good job in finding a way to incorporate what you love into your busy schedule.

  24. Lana September 18, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    No more frustration over time to read. Can’t wait to try audio books…..and with a good southern novel to start with!

  25. Constance September 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I have been listening to audio books for years. As a mother of 4 all with lots of after school activities I found it was sometimes the only way I would find time to “read”. My car hours were much more pleasant with a story being read to me! I look forward to discovering the Joshilyn Jackson books.

  26. Susan G. September 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a great read! I have listened to the bible on tape/cd but have never listened to a regular book. I have received one from a friend, but have yet to listen to it…I love to hop into bed at night, grab my book and read away the night…:)

  27. Poof Books September 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Audiobooks Sandy are wonderful words to my ears. I discovered them when I was a road warrior and could not shake my passion for them years later.

    I still cherish my time spent with them in the car. I also will give many genres a chance in audiobook form vs a traditional read. There are some great listens out there waiting for everyone.

  28. Heather September 23, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    “Sisterhood of the Busy Pants” LOL I love it! So true. I also love audios and though I don’t listen as much as you Sandy, I agree with your assessment of Joshilyn Jackson. She is a goddess.

  29. Literary Feline September 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I’m still in the learning phase of fitting audiobooks into my life. I’ve always been more of a visual learner, even in school. So, there’s that adjustment. And then finding the time . . . You make it sound so easy! I wish it was for me. I am trying though. Right now I’m wishing I had a slightly longer commute to work . . . I had to stop at a really good part in my current audio book and won’t be able to listen again until tomorrow morning.

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