Audiobooks: Do You Hear?

Audiobooks: Do You Hear?

My first venture into audiobooks was Storm Front (Book #1 of The Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher. My reason for venturing into the world of audiobooks was that the actor James Marsters (best known for playing Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) was narrating the series and I was a bit of a fan! By the end of Storm Front, I was hooked and ordered book #2, Fool Moon, in audiobook format straight away. These were the days when audiobooks were only available on CD and weren’t exactly cheap either. As much as I enjoyed listening to James Marsters narrating The Dresden Files, I soon switched to paperbacks and hardbacks for the rest of the series. My brief love affair with audiobooks came to a swift end and I didn’t pick up another. That is, until recently.

I only read one book at a time, but with a few longed-for books landing around about the same time, I needed another way to “read” so I could consume books at a faster rate. Audiobooks are still fairly expensive compared to their hardback, paperback or ebook counterparts, however, they would give me the ability to listen to a book on the half hour drive home from work or whilst lay in the bath.

In stepped Audible. I realised I could get an Audible 30-day free trial which basically means 1 free audiobook (which you get to keep, even if you decide not to continue with a subscription). I chose Gary Barlow’s A Better Me: The Official Autobiography. I already had the hardback book, but what better than the man himself reading it to me?!

Gary Barlow is my all-time favourite singer/songwriter, lead singer of my favourite man-band (Take That) and seems to be maturing like a fine whiskey, just in case you didn’t know!

I listened to Gary recounting his life, from losing his baby daughter, fighting a never-ending battle with food, escaping the 7/7 bombings and the downfall of his career to the biggest comeback the British music industry has ever seen, organising The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, stepping into the world of musical theatre and more.

I listened intently, every car journey, every relaxing bath. I didn’t want it to end! Gary Barlow could read to me anytime. I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook and it made it all the more special that Gary Barlow narrated it himself (that isn’t always the case with some of these autobiography audiobooks).

So, have I kept the Audible subscription? So far, yes! I wanted to dive straight into another book, but I had a week and a half of my free month left and no new credit until those days were up. However, Audible has an Audio Shows section which is free to members, so I downloaded a couple to keep me busy until I received my next Audible credit.

I’m currently listening to Michael Palin’s Erebus: The Story of a Ship. I know, I know… I’ve got a signed hardback book from an evening with the author himself, but I really enjoyed him telling us the story that evening, so this audiobook is perfect!

My other current read, an ebook, is completely different! It’s Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. I’m working my way through the Discworld series and thoroughly enjoying it. This one is the 20th novel in the series and the Hogfather is Discworld’s version of Father Christmas, so it’s a great time of year to read it.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If so, do you have any favourites? If not, are you tempted?


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  1. Kelly says:

    I’ve tried to use audiobooks, but I have such a poor attention span it’s not a good format for me. My mind wanders too much and I end up having to backtrack.

    Several folks at our last bookclub meeting mentioned listening to our choice for the month (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) and loving it that way since they found it easier to listen to the dialect than to read it. And one of our members is blind, so she uses audiobooks for everything! 😉

  2. Anca says:

    I’ve heard only one book and I didn’t like it at all. It was a non-fiction history book and the narrator was trying to imitate the voices of the persons in the book. It was strange to hear a lady in a William the conqueror impersonation. This kind of put me off when it comes to audiobooks. Maybe I should try another one again, to listen to books when I’m cooking or even working (if is something repetitive like retouching photos in Photoshop).

  3. Pamalison says:

    I enjoy audio books. I had an Audible trial, but as I use iTunes for all my other digital formats, I have stuck with Apple for the iBooks too (much of their catalogue is Audible priducts anyway). I can thoroughly recommend Geoffrey Beevors as a narrator and a particular favourite is his reading of “Dunstan” by Conn Iggulden. For any steampunk enthusiasts I can thoroughly recommend the Burton and Swinburne sextet written by Mark Hodder and narrated by Gerard Doyle. For anyone who has trouble getting to sleep my go-to remedy is suggesting they lie in bed and listen to “Under Milk Wood” by Dylan Thomas, but it must be the version read by Richard Burton. Whilst this poem is brilliant, and the narration is fantastic, it is utterly impossible to stay awake as you listen to it. I thought it was just me, but my daughter borrowed it and when she returned it she said she went to sleep every time she tried to listen.

  4. Jo says:

    I’ve never fancied trying audio books, I’m not sure I’d enjoy someone else reading a story to me. I’ve never read Terry Pratchett but I bought Daniel’s girlfriend the first two of the Discworld series for Christmas last year and she’s asked for the next two in the series for Christmas this year so she must have enjoyed them.

  5. Merkitty says:

    I had no idea James narrated an audiobook! Storm Front sounds great. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Dresden Files, but it’s not something I’ve ever explored. Maybe I should start?

    I’m not really into Gary Barlow, but I can relate to some of the things he’s gone through in his life and I’m sure it would make for fascinating listening material. I’m glad you’ve kept your subscription so far.

    I’ve read one Terry Pratchett book before and I remember enjoying it but I was overwhelmed with how many books there were overall.

    • Nikki says:

      I’d definitely recommend The Dresden Files, especially with James Marsters narrating!

      The Discworld books are easy-readers (entertaining but not too taxing on the brain), so it’s not taken me all that long to get to book 20. I’m going to slow down with the next half of the series as I really don’t want it to end.

  6. Debbie says:

    Hi Nikki, Ooooo I have been tempted to try an audiobook, but then I’m not sure. I do like to sit and read a book and when I’m listening to something I like the radio. Saying that though it took me a while to venture into the world of Kindle and now I prefer it to a proper book *hangs head in shame*. Maybe I’ll just have to take the plunge and give them a try!

    Thank you for linking up with #keepingitreal.


    • Nikki says:

      It’s worth giving them ago, especially with a 30 day free trial as you’re not losing anything but your time.

      I must admit I ventured into the world of Kindle fairly early on, but I not find it much easier to read a book using Kindle (easier to hold, more convenient… unless the battery runs out!).

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