Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Wednesday Discussion: Are You an Audiobook Junkie?

"I'm laying down my audio book.  No writing, just spoken words, the old fashioned way."  Danny McBride as Kenny Powers in Eastbound and Down

As writers, we're readers. So it goes without saying, we're book addicts!  And what better way to feed our addiction (when we don't have time to sit quietly and read) than with an audiobook? 

If you haven't tried Playaways, the palm sized digital audiobooks, I highly recommend them! They're available at bookstores and libraries.  Since they are a tad pricey, I use the selection available at the library.  All that's required for use is a set of headphones and one AAA battery.

Years ago (before kids), when I worked full time, I had a half hour commute each way.  That long drive allowed me time to listen to books on tape, which I absolutely loved doing!

I hadn't thought about listening to a novel, when not riding in a car, until I discovered Jennifer Hoffine's blog, YA Audiobook Addict.  Jennifer provides recommendations for YA Romance, Contemporary, Supernatural, Fantasy, SCi-Fi, and Historical audiobook fans.

Audiobooks have made my morning runs more enjoyable, but that's not all!  Listening to them is a great way to pass the time while doing those mundane things that life requires, like housework, ironing and folding laundry.  And since reading is part of writing, I feel like I'm doing something productive, while involved in something I hate (like cleaning toilets).

I made a New Year's resolution to read one book a week. Now with Playaways, I can.  And the added bonus, I can enjoy housework--well, kind of--okay not really.  But it's not nearly as bad while entertained by a wonderful story!

Disclaimer: I can't guarantee that listening to an audio book will make you appear as glamorous as the lovely model above.

Do you listen to Playaways, and are you an audiobook junkie?  Tweet me @: maria_mckenzie.  Thanks for stopping by!


Anonymous said...

Maria, I drive more than an hour a day, and I listen to audio books regularly. Sometimes I replay them just to hear how the prose rings, if you catch my drift, or to see how they transitioned out of flashback, etc. Great post. I never used playbacks--will have to investigate. I work for a college and can and do request audiobooks using InterLibraryloan which affords a huge selection from libraries all over the country. Can't beat it!

Carol Riggs said...

Audiobooks? I confess that I've never listened to an audiobook. I think I'd go for an e-reader like Kindle before I let someone read to me. It'd be ok on a long car trip I suppose, but boy, it'd have to be a good reader doing the reading.

I'm wary of the idea in general because I like to be in CONTROL of what I read, to pause where I like to pause, linger and re-read the wonderful phrases, and slow down on the parts that I need more time with. But I shouldn't say Never without trying it. *grin*

Yeah, good idea for when doing housework, but right now, housework is a great time to ponder my OWN writing. ;o)

Nas said...

Hi Maria,

Only once on a flight from Singapore to Sydney I listened to an audiobook "The Devil Wears Prada" but other than that I just adore holding print books and reading. So definitely not an addict here!

Donea Lee said...

I just haven't gotten myself into Audiobooks or e-readers yet. It might happen. I'd definitely rather listen to a book than read it on a screen. (My work days are spent staring at a computer screen - no need to stare at another in my down time) But, I like the feel of a good book in my hands. To me, it's relaxing. I'd rather listen to upbeat music when I'm doing chores... :)

Myne said...

I have the Kindle and love reading on it. But audiobooks not so much. I can manage to listen to podcasts of short stories but I get distracted for anything longer.

Old Kitty said...

One of these days I will listen to an audio book!! It's on my to do list this year!! I no longer want to be audiobook virgin!!!!

Take care

Scarlett and James said...

I can't speak for Scarlett, but I need to read, rather then listen to, a book.


Iris B said...

I like my audio books. I think I would only get 1/3 of the books "read" if I didn't "listen" .... it's great and makes housework so much more enjoyable :-)

Melissa said...

I've never listened to an audiobook but I'm planning to get my first one in april because of the actors reading the book. So excited!

Maria McKenzie said...

@Gale: Aren't they great for long car rides! You're lucky to have access to thet great library.

@Carol: I think you'd enjoy them! Professional actors do the recordings and they really bring the stories to life:).

@Donea Lee: Don't get me wrong! My favorite past time is to sit with a book in my hands and read. But doing chores--entertain me with a story:). If I listen to music while I clean, my mind is still too focused on how much I hate doing it;)!

@Myne: I still don't own a Kindle--maybe one day!

@Old Kitty: We need to do something about that! Pick out an audiobook by one of your favorite authors and relax:).

@Scarlett and James: No addiction here:)!

@Iris: I totally agree! I'll be able to read a LOT more since rediscovering them:).

@Melissa: Sounds fun! Hope you enjoy it:). Do you know the actors?

Norma said...

I LOVE audiobooks! I've never tried Playaways, but I have books from Audible on my iPod and on my Android phone. I've had a few embarrassing moments, though, listening to Janet Evanovich's books while eating. More than once, I've gotten stares from other diners at fast food places--and nearly choked twice!

Eugenia Parrish said...

I guess "addict" would be the appropriate word. I first discovered audiobooks in the late 1980's in the library section for the blind! I was searching desperately for something new to keep me awake on the long drive from Laguna Beach to San Francisco Airport to meet up with my visiting parents. So that's how I know it's exactly a six hour drive -- there were six tapes to LeCarre's "From Russia with Love" and I finished just as I turned into the airport entrance.
Later, I found that when I was really suffering from migraines and spending whole days lying in the dark, unable to read or even watch TV, I could pop in a good book, and let myself be carried away from the pain. I gathered quite a library of books-on-tape and became a connoisseur of readers' voices. I discovered that generally I prefer the rich plummy voices of British readers. LeCarre himself is still my favorite although there are no more and none on CD, and after him I love listening to Tim Curry and David McCallum. To my regret, I found I can't stand many American actors -- it's funny how many of them can't adjust their voices for the different characters and the dialogue just runs together! One big exception is Kathy Bates -- I learned not to listen to her "Silence of the Lambs" in the dark!
I haven't yet tried the playbooks yet -- as you say, they are pricey (!) worse than hardbacks, sometimes, and the library hasn't had anything that I'm really tempted to try. I'm retired now, so I don't have a commute, but I still use my tapes sometimes to fall asleep to. Other people use music -- I use the deep melon tones of Tim Curry! I'd love to write and tell him that I've gone to bed with him hundreds of times!

Eugenia Parrish said...

Oops! I meant Ian Fleming's "From Russia with Love"! See, I love LeCarre -- I even give him credit for James Bond!

Maria McKenzie said...

@Norma: You've got a lot of great ways to access audio books. Don't know if I could ever listen to Janet Evanovich in public--too much rolling on the floor laughing stuff;). At a diner, I probably would choke!

@Genie: You've been an audio book fan for a long time! What great entertainment when a headache prevents reading or watching TV! They are a great escape:).

I've been quite impressed with the actors who've read what I've listened to recently. I thnik they're stage actors because I haven't been familiar with any of them. They are American, but do a great job with the characters.

I bet Tim Curry would get a kick out of that last comment;)!

William Kendall said...

I prefer the book in front of me to audiobooks, though I've listened to a couple.

Maria McKenzie said...

If I'm sitting still, surrounded by peace and quiet, I'd rather be reading a "real" book. But an audio book can make a tedious task into a fun activity:)!