25 Before 25: Read an Audiobook

audiobookTo be very honest, my 25 Before 25 list might be a little ambitious. I still have time, but with Student Internship being so much more than I thought it would be, I might struggle. I did manage to complete one thing so far, namely reading an audiobook.

I grew up listening to stories my dad made up on the fly, and sometimes I listened to children’s books being read on the radio. I think that is the closest I got to audiobooks, because they are not that “big” in South Africa, except for the South African National Library for the Blind that has a collection on tape. To give you an idea of their scarcity, I know of only one library in my home town that stocks audiobooks, and I have not encountered any libraries with audiobooks in Cape Town.

Anyway, I did this “challenge” with George Orwell’s Animal Farm narrated by Timothy West. It is a book I’ve been meaning to read, and it is short – a little over three hours’ recording.

Starting with the book itself – an excellent story, and not hard to see the parallels Orwell draws with the Communism vs. Democracy debate. One only needs a sliver of an historical background to notice it, understand it and enjoy it. (Since you asked, my favourite character is Boxer. What a sweet old horsey.)

I know there are several audio versions of this book, but I thought Timothy West did an incredible job of the narration. I adore the many different accents he employs when various animals are speaking.

I definitely found it difficult to concentrate while listening to the audiobook – which is probably to be expected. I like the idea of seeing words while I read and I think the problem is that I always listened to the book when I was not doing anything else – which lead to me losing concentration a few times. I think if I had to commute to work, audiobooks would be awesome to listen to – at this point, it is just a five minute walk to work. I might also consider listening to audiobooks while running, but at this point I am so unfit that I wonder if I would be able to hear anything above my gasping breath!

Do I think that listening to a book constitutes reading? Absolutely! Even concepts of neuroplasticity will support this notion, I think. BookRiot has a very cool post about audiobook misconceptions, and Reading Rockets has a cool article about the benefits to audiobooks here.

I think that for now, hardcopy books will remain my preferred medium, but provided the supply increases in South Africa (or I begin to earn a salary so that I can download them), I will definitely try audiobooks again.

Updates on other 25 Before 25 goals:

#7: I’ve cooked one easy dish so far, and baked nutella cupcakes – both turned out good.

#8: I’ve been running three to four times a week, most weeks. Even in the cold, guys – that’s tough. I’m definitely feeling better, my body is more tones, and people are noticing.

#9: Still eating too much chocolate. This one is HARD.

#11: I sewed a button onto my favourite shirt! Now I need to replace the millions of buttons on my winter coat (winter is supposedly over but it is still cold in Cape Town).

#17: I’m paying attention to anatomy in every rotation and making special notes for it. This is going well, slowly but surely.

#20: Of the 15 books I’ve read since 19 June (when I posted my goals), six were books I own as physical copies.



  1. TrishaDM says:

    Three things:
    1. I struggled with focusing on audiobooks too. I have only listened to one and did quite like it (during the whole concussion thing, which now, when you point out the neuroplasticity thing probably explains why my headaches got worse when I listened). I have a hard time thinking of when I would normally enjoy them. Plus, I would rather just have a hard copy.
    2. Anatomy is HARD. My field is full of anatomy and I feel very inadequate. Apparently I should be gaining that on my off-service rotations. If it isn’t covered on an OSCE station, I probably don’t know it. One day, I will learn it.
    3. Yay running. It feels good, even if it feels like death at the time. I am just learning this, so I had to encourage the venture.

    1. Thanks, Trisha! Glad I’m not alone in struggling with Anatomy. As for running, you said it. I hate it during, but love the after.

  2. I love audiobooks, but can totally relate to sometimes losing concentration. For me, it’s all about choosing the right audiobook for me – which means listening to 5 or 10 minutes and then deciding if I’m going to continue or not. Also, I tend to choose fast paced stories, while others prefer non-fiction etc. All this to say – picking the right type of audiobook for you is what will keep you interested – every genre won’t work.

    1. Thanks, I guess I still need to find out which genre will work for me!

  3. tight shoes says:

    a) I’ve only ever listened to one audio-book. It was “My Life” by Bill Clinton and read by the man himself. When I heard that his autobiography was 1,000+ pages long, I immediately made the decision to go the route of audio or risk some sort of carpal/shoulder injury for having to lug that book around. I’m glad I did. The tone was conversational and easy to follow and I may even opt to “read” other auto-/biographies in that manner.
    b) Having said that, I’m not sure if I could listen to an audio-book and work-out. I’d probably pay more attention to the book and skimp on my work-out.
    c) If you ever come into the city centre, Cape Town Central Library has a good collection of audiobooks. I’ve yet to check any of them out, but if their CD’s and DVD’s are anything to go by, then their audiobooks must be in a good condition. Also, you can check items out for six weeks at a time if need be by requesting the “holiday check-out.”

    Good for you for keeping up with exercise in this weather. I have completely slacked off. Between the craziness of this semester and the cold, my takkies have not seen the light of day.

    1. Thanks! I would also be weary of carrying a 1000-page book around… or reading it, for that matter!
      Thanks for the info about Cape Town Central – I’ll definitely try to visit there, if I manage to find my library card!
      As for exercising, it might be procrastination. Heh. Also, I find it easier to exercise than in the heat, for some reason.
      Good luck for the rest of the semester! I hope it goes well!

  4. nisha360 says:

    i LOVE the 25 Before 25 idea. I hope you reach your goals.

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