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I’ve stopped judging and joined the cult of audiobook fans

Barrie Mooney

There was a time in the not so distant past that I wouldn’t touch an audio-book. My thought was that listening to a book being read isn’t really reading it. You don’t read. You listen. That was back when I had lots of time to read, so much so that I had the time to finish books that I didn’t even like. Ugh. What a waste.

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That was before Kid #1, who I went into labor with, in the middle of the sixth Harry Potter book and never finished reading. And before Kid #2. And then Kids #3 and #4. I decided that if I was ever going to catch up at all on all the reading that I wanted to do in life, I’d have to suck it up and listen to some of it during my commute to work.

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Many years later, I don’t need to rationalize my audio-reading anymore. I am enjoying books again. Instead of slugging through books or not even starting them for fear that I might not be able to finish, I am reading longer books, and doing more “regular” reading aside from audio-titles. I have now been audio-reading for a few years and have since met some very smart people who also listen to books, some of whom are librarians, like me, which in my mind qualifies as knowing books.

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While I am proudly not a book snob, I am picky about what audio-titles that I will read.

Here are my rules:

  • The narrator’s voice. If I don’t like the voice, we are done. I happen to think all British narrators are acceptable. That’s just me. If I don’t like the voice, I move on to another. Bonus points for books read by the author.
  • Unabridged. Always.
  • Audio titles must be ones that I will never want to pick up and read in book form. This means that either I have tried to start them, and they were too hard to get into, or else, they are so lightweight that I would never waste my precious reading time on them. Or even more so, long books that I would never read in paper form are great as audio.
  • No romance. Never. Ever. I don’t want to hear about it. Reading these by audio is like saying you “read” Penthouse. No. I will only read romance in paper form and even then I am picky about it!

I used to have a rule that I would only listen to non-fiction audiobooks, and that worked for a bit, until I tried a fiction book and loved it (The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, read by the author.) Now I am open to lots of books to try as long as they fit within my reading rules. I would have missed out on some great books, if I hadn’t changed my mind about whether or not to enjoy a book that is being read to me.

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