Friday, January 13, 2012


Audiobooks, I always thought, are silly. Why would I want to pay loads more money to have someone else read me a story that I could finish on my own about ten times faster? I am not four. I can read big girl books, all by myself.

However, given the opportunity for Free Things, I've noticed that people usually accept even if they don't really want them, and I'm no exception. From Amazon Student, I got a month free on Audible, which came with two free downloads, and dazzled by all the glittering FREE-ness, I figured, why not? So I joined Audible.

There was no way I was going to listen to anything more complex than an MG book, because I get distracted easily and rewinding on my phone is not an exact science. I wanted something that wouldn't take days on end and something that wouldn't come back and eat me alive like a piranha if I missed a bit because the bus was too loud or a puppy passed by. Thus, the first book I downloaded was The Lightning Thief, book one of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

It drove me insane. I had read the book over the summer, so I remembered mostly what happened and what the characters were like. I thought that would be helpful (see the bit above on distraction), but it really just meant that everything sounded wrong. The voices were wrong, the intonation was wrong – I even thought some of the pronunciation was wrong, but I'm not sure about that because I don't speak ancient Greek. I thought my venture into the dark and dangerous world of audiobooks was over before it had really begun.

But I still had one credit left and, while my last experience had tarnished them somewhat, the letters FREE were still shiny enough to pull me in. I decided that maybe it would be better to try a book I hadn't read before, so that I would have no preconceptions to annoy me. I ended up with Howl's Moving Castle, a book I'd been wanting to read for ages, but couldn't find at the library or even in the Kindle store.

I love it. The narrator is perfect; she does great voices for all the characters, and I can tell who's speaking before she says their names. I particularly like the voices she does for Howl and Calcifer, which seem to fit them like a glove – and not one of those awkward ones they give you in boxes of hair dye, a tailored one, possibly cashmere. I keep laughing at nothing while on the bus. I would worry that people think I'm crazy, but it's public transportation, so I'm still not the weirdest one there most of the time.

Moral of the story: audiobooks are not the work of the devil. (Who knew?) But if you have expectations regarding certain characters' voices or intonation, you may want to pick a different book. Often it's very easy to check out audiobooks from the library, and you can even download some from the Overdrive digital library if you have access through your local library. They're particularly great for commutes or tedious sort of work, like folding paper or disemboweling slugs. Try one for free, see if you like it, and spend even more of your day reading!

1 comment:

  1. A couple years back, I had long drives to school and work. So my mom bought me some audio books I could listen to in the car. At first I was like "Really? Audio Books? Come on." But you're right, I totally loved them. Great post.

    Jennifer @ Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance


I love your comments! I try to respond to them...eventually!

This is now an award-free blog. I love and totally appreciate that you thought of me, but I know myself better than to think I would be organized enough to pass them along, and that doesn't seem fair.

Finally, if you're posting a URL, the code to make it actually link to your site is <.a href="your URL">your text<./a>, without the periods.