January 9, 2014 • Cee • Discussion

three c's

Audiobooks are great. It’s a different way of experiencing a book. You don’t get as intimidate by the block of texts in the book. You get to listen to how the narrator portrays the scene. They are extremely convenient when you are doing something that requires both your hands. You can play it when you’re:

  • in the car, running errands or going on a road trip to visit your parents who live three states away from where you’re living.
  • doing household chores. (You can get your laundry done and read a book at the same time! You’re getting rid of two birds with one stone.)
  • making dinner. (Sometimes, it’s boring between you and the food. It can’t talk back when you speak to it. I know. I tried. ;D)
  • taking a bath. (You don’t have to worry about your book getting wet. You just listen to the narrator and their voice will soothe you into relaxation.)
  • waiting. (Like during jury duty when there’s absolutely nothing to do.)

I find that a lot of people listen to an audiobook  while they multi-task and they are fine.

I don’t do that? I don’t think I listen to audiobooks the way it’s intended to be listened to. I’m sitting here going, “No, that isn’t me. Wait, do people listen to audiobooks the way I do? Do they read along with the book? Or is that a weird thing I’m doing? How am I supposed to audiobook????”

For me, it isn’t as simple as just playing the audiobook and listening to it. There’s another step that is required for me to actually enjoy and help me focus on the words being read to me.

How I listen to audiobooks (in steps!):

  1. I open iTunes and find the Ready Player One audiobook.
  2. I grab my book and open it up to the first chapter (or whatever page I was at last time I read it).
  3. I start the audio.
  4. I listen to the narrator as I follow along with the book.

Apparently, that’s not way people listen to audiobooks? (At least the people I come across.)

I usually listen to my audiobooks like that. Sometimes, that isn’t the case. I remember a couple of times in high school or college, I didn’t read along with a book because I had forgotten it or the teacher asked that we close our eyes and just listen. Other than that, I must have a book in my hand. It’s absolutely necessary.

Why do I have to follow along with a book?

Say I decide to listen to Ready Player One while I’m trying to organize my room, and then an hour later when I’m all done, I realize I don’t remember anything that happened. I think, “shit.” I totally zoned out and missed an entire chapter because I hadn’t been paying attention. Why the fuck did I decide to listen to the audiobook if this is what happens? That is the absolute worst and it’s a waste of my time. I’ll have to restart it again and guess what? Zoning out will happen again. It’s never not gonna happen. It’s a frustrating cycle that won’t stop until I decide to not listen to the audiobook. In the end, I learn from my mistakes.

I need to be able to see the words because if I do not, well, bye bye to my attention span. I find it harder to focus on the content that is being narrated. I get easily distracted and I tend to zone out A LOT. (I’ve said this a bazillion times and I’ll continue to say it some more.) It all becomes background noise to me. I can listen well when somebody talks to me, but if I’m listening to someone read a book or paper out loud, yeah, I’m not great at listening to that. (I guess I have to train my ears for that, which means practice. *deep sigh*)

I feel like when I have the audiobook playing and the book in front of me, there’s a better chance of me retaining the story in my memory. Even more so when the narrator’s voice is absolutely perfect.

Why don’t I listen to audiobooks often? 

  • Sometimes I don’t have the book. (And you already read how important it is that I have it in my hand when I listen to an audiobook.)
  • I don’t have access to it. (Either it’s too expensive or the library doesn’t have it.)
  • The narrator’s voice is extremely grating or they don’t do a good job of portraying the characters. (ie. Jesse Eisenberg narrating White Cat killed me. It was hoorrribbbleeee. Ughhhh.)
  • The slow reading pace of the narrator can irritate me because my eyes tend to speed through the sentence when I read. (I feel like I’m just waiting for the narrator to catch up. I just want to move on. Can we do that, slow-speaking narrator?)
  • I forget they exist. (Yes. This does happen sometime because I don’t realize that certain books have it.)
  • They aren’t convenient for me.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, I would highly advised you Ready Player One read by Wil Wheaton. His voice is a perfect fit for that world. (And if you know anything about him, then you will know the other reasons.)

Tell me if you do this so I don’t feel like I’m the special sunflower. Do you listen to audiobooks like I do (following along with the book)?  Or can you listen to them when you multi-task? What do you like about them? What are some of your favorite audiobooks? Which ones do you not like?


18 Responses to “THE THREE C’S: CANDID CONVERSATIONS WITH CEE | How Do You Audiobook?”

  1. Kelly L. says:

    Answer: I never audiobook, that’s how. ;D
    I’m exactly like you Cee, I’ll listen for hmm…three minutes? Then something else will grab my attention and the next thing I know, six chapters went by and BAM! what on Earth just happened in the story?
    My attention span is SO bad. Back when I was obsessed with K-dramas, I just couldn’t focus on it. I’ll be tidying up my desk while watching or checking my email or reading something while watching…yeah, it’s a nightmare. I envy all the people who can audiobook.
    And the narrator of the audiobook! Ugh. I’ve listened to 6 snippets of audiobooks and in all of those, the narrator just ruined the story for me. -shudders-
    I’ve never tried listening to the audiobook and trying to follow along in the book while I listen to it. That is kind of weird to me (but I love you anyways Cee ;D), but who knows, I may try it…one day. Hopefully.

  2. lillian says:

    I agree with everthing you said!
    Recently I thought I’d try audiobooks and picked up the most recommended one, Talk Pretty to Me. Sadly, I couldn’t get into it since just like you said, I zoned out. I cannot multitask that’s for sure! But I should try your method of reading the book along.
    Since I havent done an audiobook with proper dialogue, I have a fear as to the narration. Will the narration be in monotone and so flat that I cant feel the characters’ voice through the conversation? The whole point of different characters in books will be ruined, right?

  3. I have to say that I’ve never read an audiobook like how you described. I think you may be a special sunflower. Lol. But there is nothing wrong with that! I do listen to audiobooks sometimes in my car–especially when I know I’m going to be in the car for awhile–but I chose to tend either books I’ve read before and really liked, so if I do space out for a minute it won’t be a big deal, or really engaging books like comedian memoirs. I definitely recommend listening to Bossypants. Tina Fey narrates and it is just like listening to her talk. My favorite audiobooks are the HP books. I’ve listened to the entire series twice. I never buy audiobooks because they are kind of pricey, but my library has a great selection. Fun post!

  4. I have the same problem of zoning out! In lectures, if I don’t have the slides printed in front of me to focus on I miss half of it. When listening to podcasts/audiobooks I will zone out to focus on whatever I’m doing at the time and miss a whole five minutes. If I’m going to listen to them I need to sit down and just listen and focus on the picture the words paint in my head. Not try and do something else at the same time.

    Reading along is something I haven’t tried, and I don’t know if I’d like it because my reading speed is probably faster than the narrator can say the words. It was irritating when we read books in school and had to follow along because of that.

  5. Katie says:

    I zone out, too! Even if I’m listening in the car or something. For a while, I listened to favorite book as audiobooks as I was going to sleep. I’m not really sure why I stopped doing that. I guess it just took too long. :P

    So I guess my answer is that I don’t really audiobook. But now I’m thinking I’ll check to see if I can get Kate Daniels from my library as an audiobook. I just finished a reread of that series AND I WANT MORE.

  6. *flails* I AM SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN’T LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS. I tried to on a long car ride, as well as while doing other things, but I just can’t do it. Just like you, I zone out and completely miss what’s going on. Then I have to go back. And go back again. And again. And it’s just not worth it and takes even longer than if I were to just read the book. I’ve given up on audiobooks for now because if I was going to take the time to stop what I’m doing and focus intently on listening and paying attention, I’d rather just read it on my own (also because like you, I tend to read faster than the narrator).
    Maybe someday I’ll try audiobooks again, but for now, I’m not going to be listening to one any time soon.

    Amazing post!

  7. I’m the same way when it comes to chores and just around the house. My mind wanders and I realize that I have no idea what’s happening. Driving is easier and that’s pretty much the only time I can listen. The drive to visit my parents is about 2 hours and 15 minutes and I’ve enjoyed working through the Wheel of Time series that way.

    Sooo … you’re kind of a special sunflower, but it’s okay. :)

  8. Shelly says:

    – Yes the White Cat audiobook was horrendous, I loved the books but that audiobook: no just no.
    – AHHH WIL WHEATON, must now listen to Ready Player One (which I’ve always wanted to read) ASAP

    Anyways, I actually like listening to audiobooks and I can tolerate them as long as I’m not multitasking. I’d get distracted by my cleaning (for example) versus following along with the story. Because of that, I tend to rarely listen to audiobooks (except the Eleanor & Park one because I thought the voices were just amazing). Awesome discussion post!

    (and the title needs no change, please don’t ask me hahah) :P

  9. Amy M. says:

    I’ve never tried to read an audiobook before. I’ve always wanted to try it though. So I’m not sure if I’d be like you or not. However, I can totally see why you’d have difficulty focusing on simply listening to the audiobook while doing something else. I remember I used to try to relisten to lectures I recorded while I’m exercising or something, but it honestly didn’t help. I’d be too zoned out to comprehend anything that I heard. I may be like that with audiobooks too for all I know.

    Interesting discussion!

  10. It has never occurred to me to try to read along with the audiobook. I don’t think that would work very well for me because the narrators read MUCH slower than I do. It would drive me crazy to have to slow my pace. I do see how it could help you remember what you’ve read and pay more attention. I have problems with that too, which is why I don’t review audiobooks. I might get the details wrong!

  11. I’ve only tried audiobook once. It was when I read The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. It was really weird at first. I’m more used to reading the printed word and I can’t do anything else while listening to an audiobook because I tend to space out. I like reading a book when lying down my bed so I do the same when I audiobook but I tend to fall asleep!
    So yeah, I think audiobooks are not for me LOL.

    -Farzy @ Books Keep Me Sane

  12. Stephanie says:

    I agree with many of your audiobook points, but I am a multitasker. I love to listen to audiobooks on the way to work or while at work and the beauty of it is if you zone out you can go back and rewind or select the last track. I find myself zoning when i read books sometimes but for those I don’t always back-track.

    I have followed along with and audiobook, with the book, like you explain and it was amazing, but sometimes I have the ARC and the audio i s a final, so the one I followed along with was a little different.

    I like audiobooks because they can take a boring task like dishes, driving, cleaning, or laundry and make you seem productive with your reading as well.

    Granted reading physical books is still the best option :D

    Thanks for this discussion

  13. Cayce says:

    Haha, I did that with the Twilight books (they were my very first venture into the fantastic world of audiobooks)
    But since those it’s either the physicall/ecopy or audiobook. I mostly listen to them while in the car (NOT when I’m driving though), or while baking :) I also tend to listen to it in bed (like for an hour before sleeping, with the lights switched off and me in PJs so I can just go to sleep right away when I start to feel sleepy)

  14. Lisa says:

    I’ve been listening to audio books for a while now, like just right now. When I was first borrowing the cds from the library I would be listening to them while blogging (with the cd in my computer) or cleaning (with the cd in my tv). Other than that I don’t really listen to them any other time.

    When you mentioned you listen to the audio and follow with the book. Its not that strange. It’s actually what got me into audio books. I was reading Beautiful Creatures, and while everyone around me seemed to be loving it, I was having the hardest time getting through it. I decided to head to the library and see if they had it on audio, and they did! I went home, and listen as well as followed through the book.

    Thanks for this awesome post!


  15. I don’t even own a single audiobook for some of the same reasons that you have. I can totally see myself zoning out from the book while it’s being read to me because my mind’s just like that haha. I zone out easily even when I’m reading the book. Sometimes I just read a page and when I flip the page I’d be like “what did I just read” so I have to re-read it. The only time I listen to audiobooks is when we’re reading in English class a piece like Macbeth, but we also follow along in our book. I wish I can multi task like other people, but I can’t when it comes to audiobook + other stuff. Plus, they are so expensive!

  16. Missie says:

    I normally listen in the car when I am going on a long drive and then finish the book driving back and forth to work. I wish I could mutli task and listen while I am working, but I think it would be hard to listen to a story when I need to use my brain to do my job.

  17. Oh my god, Wil Wheaton narrates Ready Player One?! Haha that’s so perfect. I just bought that book for my boyfriend for Christmas, but I got him the paperback version. I’ve heard of people reading audiobooks like you do, so you’re definitely not alone, but I don’t think I would ever be able to do it like that. I’m a pretty fast reader, so I feel like it would be torture to sit there and listen while they’re talking sooo slooowly. But I’ve tried listening to them while doing chores or commuting or something, and even though I expected the multi-tasking to be hard, I actually enjoyed it.

  18. Helen says:

    I totally agree with how you said you zone out! I can multitask, but sometimes I forget to listen to the audiobook in my ears because i’m so used to listening to music! Sometimes I don’t even realize I’ve zoned out until an hour’s gone by!

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