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Do You Listen to #AudioBooks and Stories? #AmReading

By 04/09/2017reading

Audiobooks have been around for a while-– I’m new to them, because in my part of the world, Audible isn’t as good as in many Western countries. I listen to a lot of podcasted stories, the New Yorker podcast being my favorite. I’m listening to Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam even as I write this post. It makes for such a soothing rhythm, a beautiful waterfall of words to keep me company.

Listening to Audiobooks is not reading, some of my friends tell me. But that isn’t true, because according to research quoted in the linked article: “...once you are good at decoding letters into sound, which most of us are by the time we’re in 5th or 6th grade, the comprehension is the same whether it’s spoken or written.”

I like Audiobooks and listening to stories and podcasts for five simple reasons:

Audiobooks podcasts and storiesAudiobooks allow me to multitask: I can listen to a story while I’m cooking, on the commute, or in a flight. Wireless headphones have got me addicted to this.

Audiobooks soothe me: Yes, that’s right. It is nice to listen to stories. Reminds me of my grandma who use to recite me those long folktales decades ago. Her voice calmed me before my afternoon nap and at night, before bed. Apparently, audiobooks have the same effect on canines, as well.

Audiobooks are not heavy: Listening to a fantasy novel is so much better. I don’t need to bend my neck or lug the book around–all very good for my back.

Audiobooks save me time: Often, while learning, I can double the speed of the podcast, and this doesn’t affect my comprehension.

Audiobooks make me learn faster: While learning other languages, the process becomes faster for me if I keep listening to the language and the trascript in English. I remember it better.

If you’re like me, listening to stories and podcats whenever you can, here are a few hacks that might enhance your experience. And if you’d like to delve into a few fiction podcasts, here are a few you might want to check out.

What about you? Do you listen to audiobooks, podcasts and stories? Why or why not? What are your favorite links to access them? At what time of the day do you listen? What are your tips, tricks and hacks? How many audiobooks do you listen to in a month?

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • rationalraj2000 says:

    Enjoyed reading this one! Yes listening instead of reading has its advantages…..

  • Courses Delhi says:

    Great article. I will be waiting for your next post.

  • Inderpreet says:

    They are a good way to read while we work but I have only heard one book and due to no long commutes, it took me 2 months to finish it. And the characters had a french accent which was a bit difficult especially the guys’ voice. But I think listening to one while at the gym is a good idea. I think I will try it again as I want to listen to a few podcasts as well.

  • jebjork says:

    I don’t listen to audiobooks very often as I always think that I can multitask while I do it, but then I notice that I haven’t heard anything for a while and have to go back and listen again. I am getting more into podcasts if they are short enough to keep my attention.

  • Shalzzz says:

    I really do not know why I haven’t tried audio books! I should definitely listen to them. Sounds like fun! As you said, I can even multi-task! 🙂

  • I both read normal books and listen to audio books. Listening to them at times when I couldn’t read or write.

    I also find it good when I want to re-read something. A lot though depends on the reader. A good reader can make a mediocre read much more entertaining,

    The only niggle I have it that it sometimes overrides your own inner voice – how you might have imagined a character spoke etc. But not enough to stop me listening!

  • Listening audiobooks…Never experienced this, will try for sure.

  • I’ve been listening to audio books for quite a while now and I find them excellent if I’m multitasking because it saves me the time and I don’t need to lug it around. This works when I’m travelling or sometimes, at night, as it helps me fall asleep on days when insomnia strikes. But, having said that, I still love the feel of an actual book, anyday, so reading is what I really prefer most of the times!

  • LucciaGray says:

    I love reading audio books. I read at least 2 every month. I read while I’m on my exercise bike, while I’m cooking or tidying up etc. I love the way the readers bring the book to life. It took me a while to get into listening instead of reading, but I’ve read more than 20 audio books over the past year. I’ll be writing a blog post about it soon, too.

  • Sounds real fun, though I am not much of a fan of audio or kindle books I do fancy the idea of having some. In fact I am a bit of old styled coffee and book person. However I do believe I should not be commenting without trying, let me try some

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – I don’t listen to audio books … but can see the advantage -at one stage I was listening to podcasts … and I’m sure I would if I had a commute or made long journeys – but I don’t do those any more. I think they’re a great idea … cheers Hilary

  • I enjoy audio books when I am cooking for a few days. You know one long day in kitchen is so much better with an audio book on the background. But they don’t work when I am experimenting with a new dish because I cannot concentrate on both

  • simonfalk28 says:

    I’ve been listening to audiobooks (from CD, Audible and iTunes), podcasts, other recorded talks for about 10 years now. As I do a lot of driving I find it a good way for both professional and personal listening. I listen to non-fiction, fiction and, of course, poetry. One pitfall I have is good fiction. I get so engrossed in the story that my concentration on driving diminishes! Oops!
    Thanks for the tip-off about the New Yorker podcast and the great scoop on #WATWB.

  • Alice Gerard says:

    I enjoy listening to audio books and like hearing the characters’ voices in the stories.

  • BellyBytes says:

    I’m not really into audio books because I find ear phones a pain and listening to a book at home is not convenient when no one else wants to listen to the book but you! I’m not too sure about listening to an audio book while on the road ….but that would be the only other place I wouldn’t mind trying it.

  • I tried audio books and found my mind wanders and I don’t get the same enjoyment I get from reading and entering the story to see all that’s described there.

  • Natasha says:

    Never tuned in to an audio book, podcasts I have. Maybe I should give them a go…
    You got me thinking Damyanti?

  • datmama4 says:

    When our children were younger, we used to get a lot of books on cassette tape from the library, and listen to them in the car. We live about 1/2 hour from almost everywhere we had activitites, and would also take regular three-hour trips to visit relatives, so we made our way through quite a few gems that would have taken much longer to read aloud. I like audiobooks for the same reason you do, with multitasking as I listen to podcasts or actual novels, but I also like the fact that more than one person can “read” the same book if we listen together. Thanks for the podcast resources!

  • Birgit says:

    I have never listened to an audio book…wait….actually, I have and my mind veered off and I never listened to it so I don’t think it would work for me. I think it would work for me if I ever lose my eyesight which would really suck

  • JT Twissel says:

    I have before – they’re okay for long drives and stuff but I’m in love with the feeling of a book in hand!

  • I listen to audiobooks all the time. I have almost no time to read, and am working long hours painting and shellacking and this is what we do. I find those that say it is not reading to be annoying — I mean, really, they must be folks who have the time to lay on the beach or curl into bed all day! While it is technically true, it is not true on all other levels. I can spoil the spoil just as well as anyone, especially as I listen to unabridged versions. The only thing that is too bad, is when you get a lousy narrator. We both also listen sometime more than once to good books… bet they don’t read books more than once! Pffft! I say same!

  • cleemckenzie says:

    I like audio books when I’m on long trips in the car, but otherwise, they take too long and I prefer to hear the words in my head, not in my ears. You described The Rubaiyat beautifully.

  • Nick Wilford says:

    I’ve never used audiobooks, but I’m not averse to trying it. I like to read at my own pace, but I guess there’s always the option to go back if you need to hear something again. I don’t have a portable player either, which would make it very handy for me.

  • cindy212 says:

    Hi! I am a fossil perhaps, but for classes I use audio podcasts. For books to take me away, away, away (if you’re old enough to remember that jingle), I prefer a few things from my books: a heft if even the paperback as the pages slide through my fingers, and the visual from reading work with exceptional grammar, plot, characters. My third + for paperbacks, hardbacks … when the cable or electric, the batteries die.. there you are. Stuck without hearing the end. Last, but not least. Looking at my shelves and re-reading some of the best, sitting in a chair, cup of cocoa, coffee or combination of both, and when it’s freezing outside, in front of a crackling fire in the woodstove and bundled up in my blankie. I only use an eReader to read back to me my writing, pointing out my SPaG. I may use it several times, as well as my eyes to edit to the best of my ability. Other than that, ‘bring the books.’

  • In my opinion, the whole point of sitting down with a good book is to NOT multitask but to relax (aka down time) and enjoy the story. I like to curl up with a bowl of tea and a good story to wash away the busy-ness of my work life. I don’t listen to book podcasts because I prefer the voices and personalities I create in my mind as I read. Tried a book on CD once while driving a long distance; it was a good book but the narrator’s voice was awful.

  • boomergrl49 says:

    I listen to audio books at night; they help me fall asleep! Of course I have to go back and listen while I am awake, doing housework or gardening. I don’t listen to many podcasts!

  • cath says:

    I find the trick with audio books is to make sure it’s not abridged. In the past I’ve been caught out a few times with that. I especially like them for when I have to drive longish distances, though if there’s a good play on the radio I’m happy with that too.

  • bamauthor says:

    Guess I am a visual learner, and I do love listening to music, but I must admit I seldom listen to audio books.

  • msw blog says:

    What a great topic to debate. I think you and your readers may enjoy this post “Dashing through the snow ”

  • I love your blog!

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