I’m linking up with The Broke and The Bookish for Top Ten Tuesdays for “Ten Reasons I Love [X]”. Join up, link up, click through and see what everyone else loves, and why!
I only started listening to audiobooks two years ago. I’m pretty easy-going when it comes to books: while print will always be my first love, I’m not the type to scorn ebooks and audiobooks. Reading is reading, and I love it! That said, there are some reasons I have grown fond of audiobooks:
1. It’s a bonding experience for my dad and me
My dad is legally blind and even though he can read with assistive devices such as text-enlarging tools, it takes painfully long. I used to purchase audiobooks for him, but the market for audiobooks in South Africa is so small that it used to break the bank. Since I signed us up for Audible, though, it’s been heavenly. Once a month we browse through audible and pick a book. We listen to it on our own time, and discuss it every night. My mom and I have often bonded over books, and it’s nice to have that experience with my dad now as well.
2. I can listen to it during my commute
I drive to and from work, and I always feel like the time really is dead space. It’s not uneventful enough to be spent on meditation. Listening to an audiobook means that hour (or more) a day is not wasted. (I have not mastered listening to audiobooks while running.)
3. Long books become much easier to digest
I love a good epic, but ever since I’ve started working, I find it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by a book that takes too long to read.
4. My eyes get a break
Sometimes I’m not really tired but my eyes object to doing any work.
5. Pronunciation matters
I recently read (listened to) Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa, which is set in Palestine and has some Arabic and Hebrew phrases. It doesn’t matter that I don’t speak either of the languages, I still appreciate having an idea of the pronunciation and also being forced to pay attention to the words I don’t understand. Does that make any sense? It does to me.
6. I’m more likely to react emotionally
I’m a very withdrawn reader. I rarely laugh or cry while reading a book, but I’ve noticed it happens a lot more often when I’m listening to a book. I have giggled, guffawed, and cried unexpectedly. And I like that a book can make me do that.
Most audiobook narrators I’ve encountered so far are just brilliant voice actors. I love their different accents for different characters. The exception is male narrators who read all female characters in the same breathy high-pitched voice. Super annoying.
8. I visualise more
I read a study a while ago that took functional MRIs of people while listening to audiobooks. It showed that most people have a preference: either they empathise with the book, or they visualise it. I think when I read, I am a more empathic reader (nothing wrong with that). When I listen, I am more likely to visualise, and I enjoy the variety it presents.
9. I can’t speed through it
(Technically I guess I could, if I set the app on double-speed.) Sometimes I’ll speed-read, and usually not on purpose – when I’m tired, have an appointment, or when I’m excited to see what happens next. Invariably I’ll read that page again looking for a specific quote and see a paragraph I have no recollection of ever reading. Provided that I’m paying attention, this does not really happen with audiobooks.
10. It spreads the joy of reading
This is one of my favourite reasons, because it ties in with #1. I’m a huge fan of making literature accessible, and I love that audiobooks make reading accessible to people who can’t read, or don’t like to read, or simply read really slowly. Now if only audiobooks became cheaper, or more available at South African libraries.