15 December 2017

Life as an Audiobook Junkie

How to become an audiobook junkie Hello, I'm Candace, and I'm an audiobook junkie. There, I've admitted it in public. I'm so addicted I spend about 95 hours each month listening to audiobooks.

Over the years since I discovered the joys of reading with my ears, I can't count the number of times I've been asked about how I find the time to listen to so many books. Today I'll let you in on my secrets.

First I tell you what I don't do. Next I reveal how my home and work situation gives me ample listening time. Then I walk you through a typical week of an audiobook fiend. And finally I provide a couple of tips.

How to become an audiobook junkieHow I listen. Once in a while a fellow audiobook fan will sidle up to me and whisper, "I bet you listen at 1.25 or 1.50 speed, right?" Well, no, I don't, and here's why. Although I can understand the narrator perfectly well when an audiobook is played at 1.25×, I don't like the rushed feel of the performance. I need some time to savor the author's words and think about the story. If the text goes by too quickly, I don't have the same connection to the book and characters as I do when listening at normal speed. What's more, by altering the playback, I lose the nuances of the narrator's performance, which can in turn affect my reaction to the book.

Details of my life. The time I have for audiobooks reflects my unique situation. Here are the key points: no children, supportive and self-amused husband, work from home, and self-employed. If your work or home life is very different from this, you will likely have many fewer listening hours, and this isn't a bad thing. For example, when I'm visiting family, my attention is on them, not on my audiobook.

How to become an audiobook junkieFinding 20+ hours a week for audiobooks. Despite appointments and constant work deadlines, I can usually find a decent amount of time to read with my ears and still have a good relationship with my family and friends. My trick is simple: I listen every moment I can. So what does that mean in real life?

On a typical workday, I manage to find to about an hour of audiobook time over the course of the morning, by listening while I make my coffee, when I'm getting dressed, and during my midday break. After a long afternoon of work, I'm jonesing for my story, so as soon as I turn off the computer, I grab my earbuds and listen while I walk, garden, straighten up the house, or do whatever needs to be done. I go right on listening while I make dinner, which generally gives me a couple hours of uninterrupted audiobook time after work. The total for a normal workweek = 15 hours (5 days × 3 hours)

Unless I have under a half hour left in an audiobook, I won't listen again until the next day. Once we sit down to dinner, I put my audiobook aside; I rarely even think about listening to a book in the evening (really).

How to become an audiobook junkieOn weekends, I generally have a little more than 3 hours a day for my audiobook, broken up into snatched moments, as I get dressed, do chores, engage in hobbies, run errands, go grocery shopping, do yard work, and make dinner. I'm not so far gone that I'll listen to a book instead of spending time with my husband, so my Saturday and Sunday listening usually consists of short segments spread out during the day. Total time for a normal weekend = 7 hours (2 days × 3.5 hours)

So there you have it. Because I have control over the bulk of my own time, I have no trouble devoting 20+ hours a week to audiobooks. Of course, sometimes life gets in the way, and I always put my family first. But other times I'm given a bonus, such as an entire day to myself, when I can get lost in a good story while enjoying one of my hobbies.

Tips. Even if your particular situation differs wildly from mine, you may be surprised by how easy it is to find a few minutes here and there to listen to an audiobook. For example, if you commute, you can listen in the car or train. If you drive your kids to school, you can listen after you drop them off. Other great audiobook times: when you're folding laundry, pulling weeds, waiting at the doctor's office, and working out. Try a family-friendly book on a driving trip or when helping the kids work on a jigsaw puzzle. Take advantage of your free time, and you'll soon be an audiobook addict too.

(Audiobooks shown here are all recommended.)


Molly 12/15/17, 7:16 AM  

LOVE this helpful post, Candace!
I think I'm going to try asking Alexa to read to me while I'm making dinner. That may be my entry into the wonderful world of audiobooks :)

Sarah's Book Shelves 12/15/17, 7:25 AM  

I never listened to audiobooks before last year. And now I've found SO much extra time through them. Getting dressed, straightening up, making meals, etc are all big listening times for me! Admittedly though, I only listen to about 2 audiobooks per month because I also love podcasts.

And, it was key for me to figure out what types of audiobooks work best for me...lighter nonfiction. But, I've found I'll listen to books I probably wouldn't have made the time to read even though I am interested in them. So, yay!

I've also been getting more and more requests for audiobook content on my blog.

Great tips...thanks for this post!

(Diane) bookchickdi 12/15/17, 7:57 AM  

I have always wondered how you were able to listen to so many books, what an interesting post. When I lived upstate I listened to audiobooks while I walked our basset hound Malcolm. I also listened to them while sorting books for the used book sale I ran for my sons’ school. I would work at that for 10+ hours a week, so I got in some quality listening time.

Susie | Novel Visits 12/15/17, 9:16 AM  

Love hearing how you listen. I've only started listening to audio books this year, but it has really changed my reading life. This year I've listened to 23 or 24, and that's a lot of books I wouldn't have had time to read. I mainly listen commuting and exercising, but if the book is really good, I'll just hunker down and listen at home. Many I've listened to have come on a rec from you, so thank you!

bermudaonion 12/15/17, 9:45 AM  

I tried listening at a faster speed and it just felt odd to me so that didn't last long. Most of my listening is in the car or when I walk alone.

Karen 12/15/17, 10:09 AM  

I have yet to listen to an audiobook! When I have a few free moments here and there, I tend to catch up on my Scrabble and other word games. But the time I spend folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher or cooking would be a good time since my brain isn't otherwise occupied. Perhaps it will be a new year's resolution! (Although, come to think of it, I don't have such a great track record with keeping those...!)

Anonymous,  12/15/17, 10:34 AM  

My problem isn't finding the time (even with children and working outside of the home). It's all of the podcasts I've become addicted to. Can your next post be about how to wean myself off of those and back onto books?

sherry fundin 12/15/17, 11:10 AM  

I've dabbled in audio but have yet to listen a full book. I plan on correcting that, since I have acquired some good looking audio books.
sherry @ fundinmental

Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks 12/15/17, 2:04 PM  

Audiobooks are great! I should listen to them more cause they're so good on your eyes. I don't think there's anything wrong with being an audiobook junkie :D

Haha, actually, my life is quite similar, and when I listen, I DO listen at a faster speed :D so I should REALLY feed it more time. Really, it's the best when you're cleaning or showering... Although I do get tired of always being concentrated on it.

Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

Amanda 12/15/17, 6:53 PM  

I admit, I listen at 1.25 or 1.5 speed all the time. There are only a small handful of books I can ever remember enjoying at slower speeds, and both of them were more of performance art than audiobook. If I listen at the lower speeds most of the time, the pace feels very off to me, since it's much slower than people normally speak to one another. Having the faster pace feels like someone is telling me the story, and I don't zone out like I do when they're slower. I do like the option of multiple choices though, for narrators who read faster or slower, or who have accents I'm less familiar with. I also love that in theory, I could get a book in French one day and listen at 0.5 speed to try to comprehend better! :D

Hillary 12/15/17, 9:19 PM  

Ever since I have gotten my cochlear ear implants I have listened to audiobooks as a way to get an understanding of speech. I can now listen without reading along but I have to slow it down.

Katherine P 12/15/17, 9:48 PM  

I'm a big audio book fan though still relatively new to listening so I'm still learning. It is fun to find new ways to listen and it's made household tasks like cleaning and laundry way more fun!

Heidenkind 12/18/17, 1:11 AM  

Listening to audiobooks is the ONLY reason why I fold laundry, tbh

Margot 12/18/17, 1:32 AM  

Love this post! I'm an audio-junkie too. For me its the only way I can still read. My eyes are just not able to see the small print anymore. As a lifelong lover of reading it was the only way I could keep going. I'm very grateful for the whole audiobook industry. I don't speed up the narration either. It's the same reason I never liked speed reading books with my eyes. I love good books and I like to savor them, whether with my eyes or ears.

Les in Oregon 12/18/17, 7:50 PM  

I've never kept track of how many hours of audio books I listen to each month. And, like you, I don't boost the speed. Never have, never will. I'm not listening quite as much as I did when I was working (I listened for about 2 hours before the store opened, while setting displays and shelving books), but I usually get an hour in while on my daily walk. I need to start listening while doing laundry, cooking, dishes, etc. I do so love audiobooks! They're stories seem to stay with me much longer than print books, maybe because I spend a lot of time visualizing what I'm hearing. Fun post!

Daryl 12/19/17, 11:23 AM  

a fairly recent convert to audio books i too listen at the 'normal' speed .. i listen on the subway .. sometimes lsiten during lunch ... my favorite time to listen is when i come home and my husband isnt home yet .. i remove the earbuds and listen as if its radio while i change into around the house clothes and feed the cats ... and my second favorite time is when i am having a mani/pedi ... a full hour of relaxation and reading ..

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