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2010 ~ The Year Audiobooks Saved Me

When I began blogging, I wouldn’t have considered an audiobook a “read” book.  Little did I know that in 2010 that they would be an essential part of my reading life.

How audiobooks became “acceptable” was a case of necessity being the mother of revamping my values.  Bedtime has never been a smooth process in our household and I spent a lot of time sitting in the dark waiting on the girls to go to sleep.  After a while, I realized that this less than optimal parenting situation could at least provide some additional reading time – so long as the lights stayed off.  That’s when I looked into and joined Audible.com.  Even then, it wasn’t until I got hooked on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Simon Vance’s narration that listening to audiobooks morphed from something I only did for a little while each  evening to something I did whenever reading print was impractical.  Once it’s more than casual diversion, you begin to develop preferences and a new passion starts to grow.

From a reading and blogging perspective, 2010 has not been the best.  I nearly broke under the weight of review copies and ARCs.  From there, my desire to read in print took a nose dive beginning in the late spring.  When my grandfather passed away in August, it was more than a month before I picked up a book with any real verve.  Looking back on 2010 for the obligatory year and review post, I noticed something I hadn’t given much thought to before.  Through it all, I kept on audiobooking.

  • In 2010, I’ve read 75 books thus far.  22 of them were audiobooks.  Without audiobooks, This year would be my least prolific reading year since 2006.
  • Audiobooks more than anything else I read this year is where I most expressed my desire to read deliberately. With the exception of one audiobook, not a single one I listened to came with any strings attached.  I was free to select anything I desired from Audible or the library.
  • Audiobooks have gotten me started into the world of series.  I started both The Hunger Games trilogy and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series that way.  I ended up preferring print over audio for The Hunger Games series, but I sincerely doubt that I’ll read any of the Outlander books without Davina Porter. She’s fabulous.
  • My book blogging highlight of the year was having the opportunity to interview the man who quickly became my favorite narrator, Simon Vance.  It came about during the height of my blogging malaise.  Devourer of Books sponsored an audiobook theme week.  I took a leap of faith and decided to send him an email requesting an interview.  I will never forget when I found out he said yes.  I then understood and fully embraced my audiophile geekdom.  The interview excited me as a reader and as a blogger just when I needed it the most.
  • When my post about Grandpa Dodde prompted Simon to write about his own grandfather (including a picture of Grandpa), it meant a lot.  I still haven’t left a comment on that post because I just can’t put my feelings into words.  In my eyes, he did me the great honor of making Grandpa famous for a day.  Grandpa would have liked that.  I certainly did.
  • Another benefit just occurred to me – audiobooks in the car have cured me of a really bad habit.  I don’t pick up my current physical book to read in snatches at red lights anymore, meaning that I spark much less road rage in my fellow travelers.

None of this – from the 29% boost in my reading to my interactions with Simon Vance – would have happened had I not given audiobooks a chance a couple of years ago.  That is why I say that they saved me this year. Even if that is a touch melodramatic, sometimes it takes a bold statement to adequately get your point across.

Thank goodness I opened my mind to audiobooks. I can’t and wouldn’t want to imagine my life without them.

20 Comments

  • At 2010.12.13 11:38, Fyrefly said:

    What a nice post about one of my favorite ways to read! I haven’t listened to as many audiobooks as usual in 2010 (with the dissertation, I was spending a lot less time doing labwork and a lot more time writing), but I still wouldn’t have wanted to give them up – they’re sanity savers in a major way.

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    • At 2010.12.13 12:08, Jen Forbus said:

      I share your love of the audiobook, Jennifer. And I too had to overcome my original bias. It’s a fantastic way to experience a story. I was working on a meme that asked “What Book Had the Greatest Impact On You?”. I’ve narrowed this answer down to three books and all three I listened to on audio this year. Interesting!

      • At 2010.12.13 12:17, Simon said:

        This has been a year of discovery for me too! I’ve used Twitter more often and have tried to keep more in touch with listeners/friends through my blog and vlogs.
        In the latter part of the year I’ve fallen a bit by the wayside in keeping those up to date but it has given me a new found respect for people like yourself who find the time, not only to do what needs to be done in life, but to do the extra ‘unpaid’ work that brings us all a bit closer.
        I was very moved by your tribute to your own grandfather and I may also have been swayed by the knowledge that it’s possible I might be moving a little nearer grandfatherhood in a decade or so myself (no rush, sons) – and I’m going to need all the respect I can get…
        Keep up the good work!

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        • At 2010.12.13 12:27, Susan said:

          What a lovely post! I agree wholeheartedly that audiobooks are lifesavers. My job requires long hours of driving and without audiobooks, I don’t know how I would manage – music puts me to sleep and talk radio is an exquisite form of torture. I also use them for deliverance from mind-numbing household chores and my daily 2-mile walk. I haven’t read a print novel (although I do read graphic novels)in over 3 years — but I’ve listened to I don’t know how many wonderful titles I would otherwise never have experienced.

          • At 2010.12.13 13:21, Colleen (Books in the City) said:

            This is a great post! I, too, started the year with a bias against audiobooks and was only listening to humor on audiobook because I felt that novels should be read and not listened to. But with the encouragement of so many audio-loving bloggers, I listened to some novels on audiobook this year and absolutely loved them! I especially relate to your comment re: listening deliberately – I feel I have selected my audiobooks much more carefully then a lot of what I have read and the outcome has been terrific!

            Thanks for the recommendation re: listening to the Outlander series – I have wanted to read it but was daunted by the length – I think I will listen!

            • At 2010.12.13 13:46, Jennifer said:

              Thank you to everyone for your comments. Audiobook lovers are in such good company.

              I would highly recommend Outlander in audio. It flies by that way.

              • At 2010.12.13 14:28, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

                I used to scoff at audiobooks too, but now I wouldn’t consider taking a trip without one. I’m having to go back and forth to my parents a lot these days and audiobooks have helped so much.

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                • At 2010.12.13 14:58, Martha@Hey, I want to read that said:

                  Oh my gosh, I never wanted to admit I though listening to audiobooks wasn’t “reading” for fear of offending someone. Then, like you, I found a whole new appreciation of audiobooks. Now, after years of audiobook snobery I feel I am now an audiobook lover.

                  • At 2010.12.13 15:18, Melissa said:

                    I love audioboooks. They make it possible for me to read so much more. I’m glad you’ve really gotten into them this year.

                    • At 2010.12.13 19:43, Sandy said:

                      You don’t need to twist my arm on this one, as you know! In fact, in preparing my “Best of” lists for the year end, I went on a similar tangent when it came to my best audios. 40% of my books are audios, so they are a very important part of my life.

                      And stand by while I just swoon that you are Simon Vance are BFFs.

                      • At 2010.12.14 10:49, Michelle said:

                        Hooray audiobooks!

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                        • At 2010.12.14 14:15, Shelley said:

                          My writing is in honor of my grandparents’ lives, and I was sorry to hear of the loss of your grandfather.

                          And speaking of grandparents, another blessing of audio books is that they are a blessing for those with macular degeneration.

                          • At 2010.12.16 16:35, Carrie K. said:

                            I’ve been enjoying audiobooks for the past several years, but was especially grateful for them this summer when Natalie was in the hospital. I had such a hard time sleeping on the couch in her room, but if I left the light on to read, it kept her awake. So night after night I would (finally) drift off to sleep with the sounds of an audiobook in my ears. I don’t know how I would have handled those sleepless hours without something to distract me from the worry.

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                            • At 2010.12.16 16:42, Jennifer said:

                              Carrie, that is a wonderful compliment for audiobooks. I can only imagine how awful those nights must have been for you and your daughter. I’m glad audiobooks came to your rescue, too.

                              • […] ~ From Jen at Literate Housewife: The Year Audiobooks Saved Me. […]

                                • At 2010.12.20 12:50, Laurel Corona said:

                                  So glad you blogged on this! I’m a historical novelist, and when I am writing, my brain simply gets used up with both the writing and the research. I find that I not only don’t want to read for pleasure, but really, truly can’t. My brain and eyes won’t go there. I have started listening to audiobooks while jogging, and I get my daily exercise plus an hour of a great book to entertain me. I’m listening to Geraldine Brooks’ Year of Wonders right now and just finished David Fuller’s Sweetsmoke. A complete pleasure, and good for both body and spirit!

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                                  • At 2010.12.27 16:18, stacybuckeye said:

                                    I’ve always listened to audiobooks in the car and loved them. As a new mom I’m driving lots less and trying to figure out how audiobooks will fit into my reading.

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                                      • At 2011.06.02 13:09, Karen White said:

                                        Hey you’re a winner in my audiobooks contest.
                                        Please email me at kewbel@gmail.com with your top 3 preferences from my list of books here http://karenwhiteaudiobooks.com/audiography/ and your snail mail address and I will get them to you ASAP!

                                        I love this post – especially the part about you not reading books in the car anymore 🙂 but of course also the part about Simon and your grandfather and his.

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