Feb 22, 2016

Audio books - yea or nay? by Amy Andrews

So I've been walking (grumble grumble....) to try and get fitter and lose weight (again. Grumble grumble....) The thing is I really HATE exercise. And not the tough hard slog of it - although that doesn't exactly set my world on fire - but the sheer utter B.O.R.E.D.O.M. of it!

I swear, it's what puts me off the most. I know people who listen to music to help them through - never worked for me. I know authors who nut out all their plot issues and dream up new ideas while exercising. Not me. I spend the entire time thinking - god, this is boring, god this is soooo boring, dear god this is soooooo boooooring.

Yes. I am like a petulant teenager whilst exercising.

And then..... (I feel like I need a harp sound here)


Oh look....I found one!

I got myself an Audible subscription.

Best. Decision. Ever.

I've only downloaded one book (so far, but it is 64 hours!!) It's a book I've been meaning to read for about a decade mainly because my bestie has been nagging me about it for that long. And everyone in romancelandia adores it and now there's the TV series...well, I couldn't watch that without at least reading the first book in the series, right?

So - Outlander it was.



 And because it was a much anticipated read, I made a pact with myself. Its my walking only book. I am NOT allowed to listen to it unless I'm walking. I figured if I liked the book enough it will help with motivation. And, its worked a treat! Because I'm enjoying it very much.

Now, when I go for a walk, I tell the hubs, I'm off to Scotland.

Yes, I literally feel like I'm in Scotland! Much more so, I think, than if I'd been reading it myself which has been an absolute revelation. I  wasn't prepared for it to be such an immersive experience. I think its the passivity of it all. Being read to like this has completely freed my mind to go into the world of the book. Of course, I do this when I'm reading to myself too, but I realise now, that it's nowhere near as vivid. I think the process of reading itself occupies my brain just enough to make it an active experience and therefore roots me, even if only a little, in my own world. But with nothing else to do other than listen? I am right in the room as Claire meets Jamie for the first time and tends to his dislocated shoulder. I can see him and her (thanks to the TV series, its those characters I see). I can really feel the earthen floor under my feet, smell the fire and the stench of unwashed men and raw whiskey, feel the nip in the air outside and the palpable air of comrades in arms.

Of course I have to give kudos to the excellent narrator. Davina Porter is fabulous. Who knew a person could do so many distinct Scottish accents - male and female?? Maybe if she wasn't so good, I'd feel differently about the whole audiobook experience but, as it is, she's initiated this virgin with a very skilled hand! Or should I say voice?

The best thing? The walk goes so quickly and I don't even feel like I've been exercising at all. I just feel like I've been whisked away to Scotland!

I am a complete convert! Both to Outlander and audiobooks. Exercise not so much.... But I've found a way to make it bearable and that is something I NEVER thought possible.


What about you guys out there in the blogosphere? Have you tried audiobooks? What's been your experience? Do you think they're more immersive than reading yourself? Or is that narrator dependent?




28 comments:

  1. I used to listen to audio books a lot back home because I walked to and from the office. Now, not as much because I don't spend any time commuting. But I like them to help me make housework more bearable - I always listen to an audio book or podcast while I'm doing the ironing.

    IMO my enjoyment very much relates to the narrator. A good narrator can make all the difference! I listened to 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' a while back and the guy was amazing - did the American and Italian accents fantastically.

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    1. lol - I dont know if Scotland could ever tempt me to do the ironing, Stefanie :-)

      I suspect it's a lot to do with the narrator!

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  2. Very impressed with all the exercise, Amy. Wish I lived nearby and then we could walk and talk, but now that you've found audio books....

    I've listened to one audio book and did enjoy the experience. Love audio books though as it got my son reading. I put on Harry Potter with Stephen Fry narrating and he was hooked. Read the next book in record time.

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    1. Oh yes Jen - now I have my audiobook I'm very anti-social on my walk. I usually cross paths with another woman down the street. Occasionally she wants to chat. I find this most annoying. Doesn't she know I'm in Scotland??? ;-)

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  3. Woohoo Amy

    I have never listened to audio books but it is something that I would like to do for the same reason as you I walk every day now twice around the local park and I just think while doing so and I am sure that if I was listening I might be able to get further although with back and ankle problems I don't want to push too hard. But it is on my list to get myself an I Pod (because there is no room on my phone) and get some books to listen too.

    Way to go Amy

    Have Fun
    Helen

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    1. I think it needs to go to the top of your list, Helen :-)

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  4. I've yet to join the audio book revolution, Amy. I keep meaning to, but it just never seems to happen.

    When the weather is cooler, I like to go for an afternoon walk, but I like the silence -- it's relaxing. When Mr Douglas and I road-tripped to Melbourne at Christmas we bought an couple of audio books, but ended out talking and listening to music instead. I'm not sure I'd find it as immersive an experience as you have. But...never say never! It'll happen one day. :-)

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    1. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you ever do join the club, Michelle. I'd have never thought it to be this immersive, it's truly been a revelation!

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  5. I'm an audio book convert too- as a family we all listened to the Harry Potter books on long journeys, which was lovely. I've recently started to listen to books as I'm doing the ironing too... Stef is not alone! If on my own I listen to podcasts in the car. It's great to give the eyes a rest and yet learn something at the same time!

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    1. Yes! Its so passive. I think that's what I like the most, Louisa :-)

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  6. Never considered audio books before but I can see the merit, especially doing the ironing like Louisa does. I couldn't use one walking on our narrow roads as full attention is needed for idiot campervan drivers who don't like sharing their side of the road.

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    1. I'm sure if listening to audiobooks can make me forget I'm walking then they'd be able to make you forget you were ironing...

      I haven't ironed in about a decade and I'm not going back :-)

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  7. I love audio books. Used to listen all the time when still working, had a very long commute and it made it bearable. I also hate to exercise but knowing I'll get to hear another chapter or two gets me right up on that elliptical. I still hate the elliptical but I like that I can sneak in a little more reading!

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  8. I listen to audio books a lot on my iPod. It transfers through the car speakers as well as taking on walks, so it's perfect. I've got a subscription through Audible as well. I've been listening to all the classics I've missed out on. My favourites so far have been Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, To Kill A Mockingbird, and the fairly new Burial Rites. I love them, but am very careful about the narrator. Some voices jar, so it's wonderful you can test them first. Enjoy!

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    1. Ooh Malvina! What a brilliant idea to listen to classics that I just never seem to get around to reading. Thanks for the tip!

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  9. I even got through Moby Dick that way! Brilliant.

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    1. Ha - I started Moby Dick and couldn't get into it so maybe audio is the way to go!

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  10. I even got through Moby Dick that way! Brilliant.

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  11. It occurs to me that there are far too many LoveCats who iron! Ladies, why? Life's too short for this particular lovecat. ;-)

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    1. Okay.....so maybe we really are twins! ;-)

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  12. I haven't joined the audiobook revolution yet - probably because I can read books faster than I'd listen to them. I however think that applying your walking only ebook method could work for me. I shall figure out if I can make Audible work with my S5 without chewing through data, so that I'm got motivation for exercise.
    As I've mentioned on FB, I find varying my exercise routine helps with sticking with it too.

    Michelle - me too! I will only iron if I absolutely have to, otherwise, there are other things I'd prefer to do.

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    1. That's so interesting, a friend of mine is a real speed reader and thats why she loves audio books because it takes forever to get through a book which she really savours.

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  13. Audiobooks have been something I've been meaning to try but haven't quite got there yet, Amy. But I like your thinking about using exercise time to "read"! How perfectly clever! I'll be investigating further!

    Might have to

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    1. Sharon if I had your legs I'd be lying on the bed and reading and not bothering about the exercise! That's my suggestion ;-)

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    2. LOL Amy! I'm a convert to the FitBit 10,000 steps club - love my FitBit! We've almost made it to the 25,000 steps in a day several times with all the work we've been doing around the place!

      Mmm, looking at my comment, I obviously started to say something else... I wonder what that was! :-p

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  14. Amy, I absolutely LOVE audiobooks. They changed my life about a year ago, and I can't understand why I didn't try them before. They keep me from getting bored or from fretting about stuff I can't change on my 45-minute journey to and from work and when I go walking (yes, I do that too for the exact same reasons as you!). I also have a bad habit of reading very fast and not necessarily savouring a print book, especially if I want to know what is going to happen, and I am running short on time. When you 'read' an audiobook, you have to slow down to the pace of the narrator, and I do think you become more immersed in the story as a result. A good narrator certainly turns a great book into an amazing experience, and I too am in awe of narrators who can produce such a range of character voices with one voice box! So when are we going to have some Amy Andrews audiobooks? :)

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    1. You sound like my speed reading friend, Laura!

      I actually do have one of my Harlequins on Audible - The Most Expensive Night Of Her Life - but of course, its geo blocked :-( Grrrr....

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