The second post in my Out of My Comfort Zone series! If you missed it, part one was about comics.
And this time I tried an audiobook.
Why I Usually Don’t Listen To Audiobooks
The first reason is accessibility. Audiobooks cost more than ebooks and, unlike physical books, I can’t find them in the bookstore if translated.
They don’t get translated at all, and while I am bilingual, English isn’t my first language, and listening to something in a language different from yours is more difficult than reading.
I tried audiobooks only once before, with Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, but I DNFed it.
What I Listened To
I chose Sadie by Courtney Summers, not because I thought I would like it – I didn’t, not really, but that’s not what I was expecting anyway – but because it’s an audiobook I knew was going to have great narrators.
My thoughts on the book: as I expected, I didn’t enjoy this book, but you’re not really supposed to. This kind of dark realistic novels is really not for me – reading about tragic events that could be real means complete emotional detachment on my part (the other option, I feel, is Anxiety Time and my brain is trying to protect me. At least, that’s what I think it’s happening). But it was a story compelling enough that I didn’t DNF it, so it was perfect to understand whether or not I like audiobooks.
Anyway: I really appreciated the casual diversity (poor bi/pan main character with a stutter, the other main character is a man married to a man) and this book’s messages. Sadie talks about many important topics like the way predators often hide in plain sight and the way society fails vulnerable people like children and those who are poor or ill. I liked that while it made its point about young women’s pain being considered both normal and entertainment, in this book Sadie always had agency.
I didn’t feel strongly about anything in here – but I often didn’t like how this book talked about addiction (I talked more about that in my goodreads review) even if it made sense for the story.
My rating: ★★★½
Will I Listen To Another Audiobook?
I don’t want to say never, but… it’s not “yes” either. For many reasons, but not the ones I thought. (Well, the cost is still a reason*).
Surprisingly, I had no problem understanding what the characters were saying. I had to look up the spelling of everyone’s name when I wrote the review, but that was the only thing I didn’t get.
However, I have a very uneven reading pace. I don’t know if it’s that way for everyone, but I don’t read all the scenes at the same pace – I often reread descriptions multiple times to understand how things actually look or feel like, I read dialogue very quickly, and I often skip ahead a few pages and then go back. I stop all the time, go back, skip ahead, repeat, and it’s… annoying when you do it so many times with an audiobook**.
While I understood what the audiobook was saying, I struggled to visualize what was happening. I never liked having someone tell me stories, so I probably should have seen this coming.
Also! My hands really wanted to do something while I was sitting there (me, staying still? Ha!), but I can’t multitask at all (me, paying attention to multiple things? Ha!), so… it was a weird combination of struggling to pay attention to the audiobook (which took effort) and feeling like I was wasting my time because my brain didn’t register the audiobook as something I was doing – so I was bored and tired at the same time.
*(I don’t have a library. I know about audible and scribd but it’s still money for something I could end up not using? I prefer spending once for a thing I want that paying for something that I could end up not using every month.)
**Edit: if you’re wondering why I do it, it’s the anxiety. Not being able to do that easily really impacts my enjoyment of what I’m reading. (Anxiety is not fun and reading is supposed to be fun)
I don’t think this is the format for me. Is it the format for you?