I Tried Audiobooks — and Here’s What I Thought

As an English major, reading has always been a passion of mine, always having my nose in a book since I was young. Now that we are in a digital era, nothing can be as comforting as picking up a good book and reading it in complete silence with no interruptions.  

That being said, I was always against audiobooks. I could never imagine myself listening to a book for hours on end. I always wanted a hard copy to feel complete. However, my freshman year of college showed me a completely different side of reading that I was not fond of. I previously saw reading as a leisure activity, and when I was assigned reading every single night for multiple classes, I learned to dread it.  

I decided to finally give audiobooks a try and this is what happened.  

My first audiobook was New Family Values by Andrew Solomon. Recommended to me by my cousin, I figured I would never be able to put it down after she described it to me. At first, I hated listening to the audiobook. I could not visualize the characters or the people talking in the novel. It just sounded like jumbled words. As a visual learner, it was difficult for me to rely only on my auditory senses.  

My first issue is that I would attempt to listen as I was exercising. Multitasking while listening to the book made it background noise, so I was not actually paying attention to the narrative. I struggled with this because I truly did want to listen to the book, knowing I did not have time to sit and read it.  

I never thought you could “listen” to a book wrong, but I was. After the third or fourth chapter, I finally fell in love. I began to listen to the book at night before I would go to sleep. Although it was hard to keep my eyes open after a hectic day, it began to give me the same feeling that reading a hard copy did. I would sit with my eyes closed and visualize as the author was speaking. I enjoyed listening to the author read and could hear the emotion that was portrayed.  

When he read in a specific tone, it evoked a specific feeling from me, almost as if I was experiencing the novel first hand. I found myself flying through books, after I learned what worked for me. I would listen more intently than I would if I was reading the novel.  

While I never thought I would be one to enjoy audiobooks, I just had to learn my tricks for listening. Although I have grown to adore audiobooks, I would always prefer a hard copy. Listening to these books floated into my academic life as well being that they helped advance my listening skills. I think audiobooks can be extremely helpful for those who are auditory learners, not visual. A student could always have a hard copy and follow along while listening. That being said, I highly recommend audiobooks and all that they have to offer!