I have a long commute back-and-forth from home to work every weekday. About 2 to 3 hours is spent only in the car, going through routine roads and being stuck in traffic jams. I mostly use the time to listen to many podcast episodes or the same 100 songs on my Spotify playlist on loop.
It was only 1 month back that I’ve decided to re-visit my all-time favourite novel in audiobook format – Ender’s Game. I have always been more of a visual reader, so I did not expect myself to be quite accepting of the audio format. Reading using audiobooks immediately grew on me that I decided to set this up as my daily commute routine! I have now finished Ender’s Game and The Game: Penentrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss (review coming up for this), and I’m almost done with Cinder by Marissa Meyer.
So here’s a little summary of my first few experience with audiobooks.
Why It’s A Gem
- PERFECT TO SQUEEZE IN EXTRA READING TIME. I’m ecstatic that I was able to turn a long-hours compulsory routine into practicing the hobby that I do enjoy – reading. I no longer minded too much about getting stuck in traffic jams since I get to enjoy reading longer that way.
- LONG “READINGS” ARE MADE MORE EFFORTLESS. I do like to read for long hours, but it can sometimes be a physical pain. My muscles would ache if I maintain a reading position for too long, or my eyes are just too tired, or the thick book is just too heavy to be holding onto for hours. In the case of audiobooks, I’m free to go about my other routines as long as I have my ears and attention to spare to the stories that I’m listening.
- IT’S A LOT LIKE LISTENING TO A STORYTELLER. With audiobooks, the readings sometimes have more drama and emphasis because the narrators are acting along with it. Reading a drama in your head and listening to the drama as it unfolds through your ears can give very different effects.
Why It Can Be A Rock
- READINGS ARE NOT DONE TO YOUR IMAGINATION. The thing with having others physically reading the book for you is that you are more prone to be stuck to THEIR voices, Rather than whatever other voice that you might have imagined in your head. If the narrators’ voice and acting fits your taste, then you might enjoy the experience a bit more than if it conflicts with your preference.
- YOU MISS OUT ON POINTS MORE EASILY. Unless it’s a familiar material, you might find yourself not understanding certain things in audio format. With visual book formats, you can easily re-read certain passages and go back if you don’t understand it the first time. It’s a lot more challenging to do that in audiobooks though. I especially felt disoriented when I was first listening to Cinder, trying to understand this new unfamiliar world and systems that the author has built. I just had to be okay with moving on with the story without understanding certain parts of the passages. And as a visual reader, it drives me crazy that I don’t know how to spell certain weird character names just by listening to it. An example is Doctor Erland (which for the longest time I thought was spelled Doctor ‘Earlong’) and Extramask (whom I thought could have possibly been spelled as ‘Extramass’ or ‘Extramasque’).
- YOU CAN’T MARK YOUR FAVOURITE PARTS. I like to capture some of my favourite parts of a book so that I can easily revisit them in the future. With e-books, I take a screenshot of the pages. With my physical books, I fold the pages at the top. But how do I mark my beloved pages in audiobooks? I’ll just have to either commit them to memory or love them enough to revisit the min other ‘markable’ formats instead then.
In the end, I’m absolutely delighted that I was able to turn a compulsory routine of being stuck in the car into a leisure activity that I actually enjoy. I find myself actually looking forward to being in my car and long drives everyday so that I can continue my reading! I also was able to finish more books than I normally would have (I usually finish about 1 book a month) and got to reading books that I did not have physical copies of.
Sure, there are pros and cons to all the different reading formats. But as long as it’s still about reading, I think I’m pretty happy with that.
Are you also into audiobooks? When do you listen to it?
Has it changed your reading style? Would love to know of your audiobooks experience in the comments below.