Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Audiobooks are quite like Marmite.... you either LOVE them, or you HATE them.

Although I have always (until a few years ago) been a paperback bookworm, I do have some early childhood memories of listening to audiobooks. Of course, I remember that the audiobooks were actually on cassettes that needed turning in the middle of the night, and sometimes the story would actually be read over multiple tapes.

We had a couple of Roald Dahl tapes, Danny Champion of the World and The BFG are the ones I specifically remember, and also a few cassettes of the series The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. My sister and I would listen to these religiously, every night before I would get in to bed it was my job to rewind the cassettes to the beginning and press play. Jumping in to bed swiftly (as it was dark and there quite possibly could have been a monster under the bed) I would snuggle down in to the covers, my sister on the top bunk would wriggle and we would settle down for the first chapter of the book (which we rarely finished because sleep would take us).

After those short lived years CD and DVD players became 'all the rage' and I cannot remember ever going back to audiobooks. Not until I reached my early 20s.

All through my early years, even while I listened to our audiobooks over and over again I still had a massive appetite for reading books (y'know, old school style - with paper and everything!). This followed me all through my childhood, and teenagehood.... until university happened.

Before I went to university I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to read English Literature. There was nothing else I wanted to do, and nothing I felt that would hold my interest like Literature would.

Now, let me be honest with you. You would think, surrounded by literature, and fellow literature enthusiasts that I would have thrived in this environment and that my bookishness would have also thrived... well the hopes I had had all turned out to be a filthy lie!!! Hopes and dreams of an unsuspecting, naive English student. The degree quite literally kicked the love of reading out of me. Not the love of books, or the love of words, or literature... but the actual act of sitting down with a book was robbed from me.

I'm not sure if it was the idea of reading to a deadline, or having to read ridiculous amounts of criticism that surrounded a certain book but I just suddenly stopped reading, and it left a massive hole in my life.

Cue Audible. A very awesome website that sells audiobooks that you can just download on to your phone (if you have the app) and for a fee every month be given a credit to spend on anything in the bookshop... and yes, I mean anything! In my opinion, Audible made audiobooks affordable (as they can be bleeding expensive!), easy, and dare I say it... not so old ladyish?

This suddenly changed so many things in my life. Suddenly, I did not have to feel like a traitor to the written word. I no longer felt intimidated by the books on my shelf that longed for just one more read (quite like the poor old toys in Toy Story 3), now I download a book that sometimes takes me two months to get through (bloody Mockingjay) with no pressure and I  listen to 10 minutes every night before I go to sleep. It works for me. I get my book fix without the flashbacks of poring over a crappy book at university for six hours trying to read it before my next seminar!

So anywho - I love audiobooks, and I still love 'real' books, but at the moment audiobooks just work for me. They fit in to my lifestyle and lull me in to bookish dreams each night.
You never know - you may just love them as much as I do.... so give them a try some time.

[By the way, just so you know. I do not work for, and am not endorsed by Audible in any way shape or form. In fact.... I pay them - haha!]

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