If there is anything more I like than listening to audiobooks, it’s talking about audiobooks with others. So, when Jen announced Audiobook Week, I asked a few of the most influential audiobook lovers I know to see if they’d like to have a little chat. I couldn’t be happier when they agreed.
Today my Audiobook Week interview is with Candace from Beth Fish Reads. In addition to her audiobook evangelization, I love her blog for the way it features imprints (fantastic idea) and her non stop love for all things bookish.
Literate Housewife: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I’ve enjoyed your blog and respected you from the moment we came into contact. My initiation into the world of audiobooks is due in on small part to your praise of them.
Beth Fish Reads: Awwww! You are too kind.
LH: How long have you been an audiobook fan?
BFR: For close to 20 years.
LH: I can distinctly remember when I “got” audiobooks. Did you have a similar experience yourself or has your relationship with audiobooks been more fluid?
BFR: I was hooked from the beginning. The only things that held me back were the expense of buying tapes and the poor selection in my library.
LH: Do you remember the first audiobook?
BFR: I believe my first audiobook was Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. It was probably a great choice for me because I was going to like the book no matter what the medium. In addition, I loved that I didn’t have to imagine the characters’ accents or try to figure out how to pronounce the Chinese.
LH: Where and when are you most likely engrossed into an audiobook?
BFR: Ha! Any ole time! I did a photo post for last year’s Audiobook Week that shows just some of the times I listen. Here’s the deal: I listen as much as possible, which on a weekday means when I walk to from the post office to get the mail in the morning and from when I quit work in the evening until we sit down to dinner. Then I listen on the weekends whenever I can; I even listen when I’m in the grocery store! I’d say I have an audiobook in my ear about 25 hours a week, sometimes more. As my husband often remarks, “God forbid you miss even one second of opportunity to listen to a book.
LH: Describe yourself as an audiobook reader. Do you have a favorite genre for audiobook reading? How many do you listen to on a yearly basis?
BFR: Eclectic! Truly I’m as avid a listener as I am a reader. I listen to everything: literary fiction, young adult, fantasy, mystery, nonfiction, memoir . . . If it’s on audio, I’ll listen. However, I think the genre I’ve listened to most is mystery. I used to listen to close to a 100 titles a year. In the last year or so, I’ve probably dropped to around 80.
LH: As a listener, what are you most looking for in a reading experience?
BFR: Hummm. Probably the same as I’m looking for in a print book: good writing, engaging story, good characters, good descriptions. Of course, I also need a good narrator and one who is well matched for the book.
LH: Do you have any audiobook-related pet peeves?
BFR: Yes, here are two of them. (1) Sound effects and/or music that is played under the narration; it is usually distracting and muffles the reading. (2) A narrator who struggles with a accent or uses the wrong accent (I listened to a book this year in which the narrator used an Irish accent for a Scotsman).
LH: What is your favorite thing about audiobooks?
BFR: I’ve said this before, but here goes: First, remember that I’m a full-time book editor and I read and edit manuscripts all day, almost every day. Audiobooks give my eyes a rest. I want to read for pleasure, but I don’t always want to stare at the printed page in the evenings. Second, I can’t always escape my profession, and I am often assessing the editing at the same time I’m reading for fun. Audiobooks help me turn off my editor’s brain and simply enjoy the story. Third, audiobooks increase my reading time dramatically. I don’t have to choose between reading and my other activities (cooking, cleaning, exercising, gardening, lacing . . .); I can multitask.
Thanks so much, Candace! You are definitely one of my audiobook heros.