Why I'd Recommend Audiobooks
The Wonders of Technology
As a visually impaired person who can't yet read brail, audiobooks are really the only means by which I can continue reading. I've always loved the magic of a good book, and when my sight became too poor to see printed letters on a page, I decided that there was no way I was giving up one of my favourite passtimes.
I still live with my parents, and most evenings my father will read to me after dinner. I'm greatful beyond words to him for doing this for me, especially as we don't always enjoy the same stories, but it isn't always convenient. With audiobooks, I can decide when, where and for how long I want to listen to a book.
I know - this is all well and good for a person with low vision, but what exactly do you - an individual with more-or-less average eyesight - get out of this? Well, read on and you'll find a list of some of the advantages to choosing audiobooks.
Read as You Work
Audiobooks are great if you're really in the mood to do some reading (or listening, I suppose,) but you've got all that darn housework to finish. What should you do?
Worry no more! With audiobooks, you can either listen to them on a stereo system or on your ipod/iphone/ithings as you wash the dishes, sweep the floors, or clean the windows. If I were to get my eyesight back all of a sudden, I'd of course go back to reading regular paperback books, but I'd still buy an audiobook every now and then for precisely this reason.
Let's face it - we all over-pack when going on holidays, especially my fellow females. Usually, there isn't an inch of space left in a suitcase. You couldn't fit a sheet of paper into those things, never mind a three or four hundred page book. And you can forget about squishing a novel into your carry-on luggage too, if you're a parent. Your bag is going to be chocked full of cameras, phones, toys, sweets, drinks, hand-held consoles, etc.
It's far easier to download an audiobook or two onto your ipod a day or two before setting off on your journey, and carry the little thing around the airport/train station/port in the pocket of your jeans.
Passing Time During the Daily Commute
If you live in or on the outskirts of a city, or in an area rife with busy roads and towns, you're no doubt familiar with mile-long traffic jams, traffic accidents, and the general road-rage of other drivers in a rush to get to work. And of course, with the economy the way it is today, people are making longer and longer commutes each day, perhaps as they couldn't get work any closer to home.
An audiobook is a wonderful way to pass the time as you sit in your car, crawling forward, inch by excruciating inch. If you find yourself a story you can really get involved in, you won't find the time passing by. You'll also be able to remain calmer and be less stressed by other road users. Arriving to work in a more serine state of mind can only be a good thing.
Again because of the state of the economy, many families are moving to smaller, less expensive homes. They'll very likely find themselves having to keep their collection of books in the attic, or in a storage room. Audiobooks take up no space if downloaded onto an iPod/iPhone, and very little if bought in CD form. Plus, if you choose the latter, they can be stored in tidy, compact CD holders.
I've gotten to a point where I can't fall asleep without having a favourite audiobook quietly playing on my iPod. Many of them are read by people with soothing voices, and are great for lulling the listener off to sleep.
I'd recommend them to anyone who loves reading, but is too tired to read before bed, and who often finds themselves drifting off as soon as they try.
Narrators & Dramatisation
The people who read out the books are usually excellent at what they do. Fair enough - every so often you'll come across a reader who has a voice that grates on your nerves, or who just doesn't suit the story or the characters, but these are few and far between.
There are also a number of dramatised audiobooks available, which means it includes top-notch sound effects. For example, the first dramatised audiobook I listened to was Stephen King's Pet Sematary. It featured the noises of a busy highway, in the scenes that required it, and the sound of clattering bones when a pet was raised from the dead, etc. They really help you to immerse yourself in the tales.
I'm not saying that audiobooks are always better than paperback or hardcover books, because they're not. They're just useful in certain situations. I miss being able to actually hold a book, and to turn its pages. Nothing compares to the feel of a worn, well-read novel.
Another downside of audiobooks is that not every book is available in this format. You're restricted in your choice somewhat, but in saying that, the selection is still incredibly extensive.
I hope this has got you thinking about trying out an audiobook or two - they're not just for blind people, not at all. If you're interested,