Monday Musings: Audiobooks

Both of my brothers are big audiobook users. One of them even has an Audible account and tried to get me into one of his favorite fantasy series (not Game of Thrones, though he tried to get me into that too) by means of an audiobook. And, understanding my brother’s lifestyles, I can see why they would use audiobooks as a means of media consumption. They are both busy, active people who can’t really sit down and read a book in its natural format. They can try, but other responsibilities drag them away from that kind of downtime, and so they make up for it when they can.

I, on the other hand, was never big on audiobooks. When my brother popped that fantasy novel into my ear, I fell asleep. It didn’t help that we were traveling in the mountains in a car where I fall asleep easily, but still, I wasn’t all that into it. Whether it was the story itself or the format, that’s the real question.

As an adult, the appeal of audiobooks has increased substantially. With my own busy lifestyle (though, not as busy as my brothers), it’s gotten harder to sit down and actually read a book. Usually, I’ll go through my social media feeds while a YouTube video plays in the background during my downtime. Or I’ll be writing and listening to music. Or playing a game on the Kindle Fire instead of reading. I have plenty of opportunities to get through a book if it was in audio format.

I tried one through Amazon Prime last week while I was cleaning my kitchen. They offered a few audiobooks for free, along with Amazon original channels. I picked a collection of Octavia E. Butler short stories and played it while cleaning counters and getting rid of expired foods.

Once again, I was reminded why I didn’t really get into audiobooks–I don’t pay attention to it enough. When it’s written down in front of me, and the book becomes my sole focus, then I start to build the world and the characters in my head and can dive into each word. When I’m doing something else, it just becomes background noise and gets ignored. Occasionally I’ll pay real close attention, but by then I’d be confused as to what was going on and lose interest again. Apparently, that’s a common problem for people like me, because I’m not the only one who does that.

I’m not ready to throw in the towel and give up on audiobooks. I just need to find the right way to incorporate them into my life, like I did with books as a whole. Probably when I go driving into town or on long trips. Or maybe I’ll take up exercising or walking and listen to them instead of music. I should probably find out quickly before my Prime account free trial is up and I lose access to the channels.

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