In many of my book reviews and recommendations I suggest that you try the audio version of the book in question, and that’s usually because the narration is exceptional and adds dimension to the story. Many audiobook are read by screen actors: The Member of the Wedding is narrated by Susan Sarandon, and George Saunders’ masterpiece Lincoln in the Bardo is read and performed by an entire cast of well-known and accomplished stars, including Rainn Wilson.
Audiobooks allow us to move through our reading lists (mine is endless, seemingly) at a higher rate of speed; the rate of narration, on most apps, can be sped up if needed and we can “read’ while performing other tasks, often making those tasks more palatable. It’s easier for me to sweep and mop the floors while I’m listening to a Merrily Watkins story.
I posted a poll on a previous blog and was surprised to learn that only about 40% of respondents chose audio as a preferred method. I urge you to reconsider the audio book:
- It’s not cheating to listen instead of reading! Stories were passed down orally for millennia before someone finally put stylus to papyrus and started to record them. We have mouths and ears. We are supposed to tell and we are built to listen. Certain word combinations have more depth if spoken (think rhyming and alliteration).
- Audiobooks don’t have to cost a dime. Most libraries have a well-rounded selection, and Librivox offers many titles free. Seriously, check them out. They have an app too.
Where to start? Once Upon a River is probably the most beatifully narrated audiobook I’ve ever heard. Give it a try. Here is a list of some other titles that are a pleasure to hear. This list will be updated as I find additional ear-worthy audio titles:
Consider listening! At the least it’s something to occupy your mind while you’re folding laundry or getting your steps in, and you’re giving your eyes a welcome break.