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Audiobooks: When Do You Listen To Them?

Audiobooks: When Do You Listen To Them?
Audiobooks: When Do You Listen To Them?

I am late to the audiobook party.

For one, I never felt I was particularly good at learning through listening; I process information much better through reading and writing.

And secondly, I didn’t know when to listen to an audiobook.

 

The idea of listening to a book whilst doing more mundane tasks sounds ideal and certainly would make housework more enjoyable. True multitasking, however, just isn’t possible (and this is a topic that deserves a blog post for itself!) The mind simply cannot actively attend to more than one thing at a time, and I don’t want to listen to an audiobook if I am going to miss half of it for my wandering mind.

 

It was time to try audiobooks for myself and this past week I have listened to The Gender Games by Juno Dawson. This was the perfect audiobook to start with – part memoir, part social commentary on gender, identity, societal expectations and the patriarchy, feminism and more, and narrated by the author herself, who was animated and entertaining, bringing the book to life.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it (I will write my review in the coming days). It was particularly special as Juno herself was the narrator, and she was wonderful. She presented a highly intelligent, well-rounded argument that was entertaining, easy to listen to and compelling, not to mention very humorous at times.

 

As good as the narrator was, I did still find my mind wandering. I was easily distracted having no visual cues to focus on, and required frequent redirection of my attention back to the audiobook. It didn’t matter whether I was cleaning, editing photos, doing art, driving, or simply sitting and listening, my mind struggled to attend to the listening task.

 

Is this a learned skill? If I persist with audiobooks, will my listening improve?

Or is this innate? When I was at university, I always got more out of reading a textbook than sitting in a lecture theatre, unlike many of my friends.

I do believe I am becoming more aware of where my attention lies, and when it goes off course. I am making an effort to be more mindful, to truly focus on one task at a time and be less of a ‘multitasker’. Perhaps all this attention on my attention is making me overthink audiobooks?

 

I would love to hear from audiobook listeners – when do you listen to audiobooks, what do you do whilst listening, and are you aware of your mind losing focus intermittently?

I did enjoy the experience of listening to The Gender Games on audiobook and I am keen to listen to more. I do wonder, however, if I would have absorbed more of the information by reading the book.

If you have any recommendations for me, I would love to hear them! I am interested in listening to more non-fiction and memoirs, in particular books that are narrated by the author.

Let’s discuss in the comments below!

 

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2 Comments
  • TheBookChief says:

    I mainly listen while I am driving by myself. Sometimes I listen while walking and jogging or doing something around the house that doesn’t require my full concentration. I find that audiobooks help me look forward to long drives now instead of dreading them and they also encourage me to get out and walk more! Yes, I can sometimes lose concentration but I don’t let that get me down too much because I would never remember or understand everything if I was reading with my eyes. I sometimes go back if I feel that I have missed whole minutes at a time but this is rare. Audiobooks are designed to give you a real ‘feel’ to a story I find and that should come across even if I am absentmindedly listening.

    As for recommendations, I have so many. Particularly good memoirs are ‘I found my tribe,’ ‘When Breath Becomes Air,’ ‘The Secret Race,’ ‘I can see clearly now,’ ‘Man’s search for meaning,’ ‘what i talk about when i talk about running’ and springsteen’s ‘born to run.’ Many of these are read by the authors themselves.

    There are a nice mix of recommendations on my latest blog post:
    https://thebookchief.org/2017/08/06/list-eight-audiobooks-that-you-can-finish-in-under-five-hours/

    • Julia @ Read and Live Well says:

      Thanks for that! You’re right, and I probably need to let go of the worry that I’ll miss something important if I tune out- if I find myself confused I can always go back 😊 And thanks for your recommendations too, I’ll definitely check out your post!

Hi! I'm Julia, a lifelong reader, an aspiring writer, medical doctor, and now book blogger, from Queensland, Australia! Go to 'About Read and Live Well' to learn more!

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