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My first venture into audiobooks didn’t happen in 2017 nor 2016. I had actually tried to listen to audiobooks nearly 7 years ago when I had to commute to my summer job.
It failed miserably.
When I started my new job this year–and subsequently a 1 hour driving commute each way–I wanted to make the drive productive and decided audiobooks were the best way. If I couldn’t physically read my book, why not listen to it instead?
After my failed attempt in the summer of 2011 to listen to YA fiction, I knew that I had to start with a different genre. Last year, I did start to listen to nonfiction audiobooks, specifically celebrity memoirs, and had great success. But I never breached the fiction world.
See, nonfiction worked for me for quite a few reasons:
- I could miss a few lines here and there and not miss out entirely on the plot
- It helped conditioned me to the listening/narrating aspect of books
- The narrators were (usually) people I was familiar with and liked as entertainers
But there are only so many nonfiction and celebrity memoirs that a girl can be interested in. I wanted to make the jump into fiction so that I could get some of those TBR titles off my never ending list. (Also, it would keep me distraction free while driving. I cannot stand listening to commercials on the radio and am constantly scanning for songs).
Deciding on that first title to read was a big step for me. It had to be the right novel. I didn’t want something overly complicated in plot nor one with too much detail where I would zone out and miss that vital plot piece.
So that ruled out fantasies or dystopian novels for the time being…
I then decided that a contemporary novel would be a good idea. I love romances but the idea of someone narrating a sex scene to me in my car made me feel iky.
So there went the romances…
At the time I started my job, adult mystery/thrillers were my current obsession and so I thought that would be good approach. They’re suspenseful, they often lack complicated world building and rarely have detailed sex scenes.
And that’s when inspiration hit!
One of the reasons I loved my nonfiction books was the celebrity narrator. Knowing the narrator and their style helped get me acquainted with the narration. For example, as a fan of The Colbert Report, it was super easy for me to enjoy Stephen Colbert’s America Again and understand the humour.
When it came to fiction, I knew that sometimes actors and other celebrities narrated fiction novels. And that’s when I thought about the Veronica Mars novels.
This was the perfect choice for a few reasons:
- These books were set in a world I was already familiar with
- Featured characters I loved
- Were based around a mystery
- And the best part: the first novel is narrated by Kristen Bell!
You can read my full review of the series here but I’ll just say that I absolutely loved every minute!
Listening to this series helped me to get used to the delivery of fiction audiobooks.
For example: only having one narrator doing the voices for all the character dialogue. One of the reasons I failed all those years ago was that I couldn’t keep myself from laughing during the audiobook version of Uncommon Criminals, where the female narrator tried to do Hal’s voice. It just sounded so ridiculous to me. It also helped me adjust to following multiple plot lines by simply hearing the plot developments as opposed to reading the words with my own eyes.
I sometimes struggle with written humour in novels. The greatest example of that is with Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?. I DNF’d the actual novel because I didn’t find it funny; but when I listened to the audiobook (that Mindy herself narrates), it became a 5 star read. Sometimes, I need the audio delivery of the sarcasm and wit to get the humour.
Which is why my next audiobook experience was AMAZING! I honestly believe I enjoyed Simon vs the Homo Sapian Agenda way more by listening to it than I would have by just reading it. The narrator’s dictation was perfection and something I think I would have failed to capture just by reading the text myself.
So after these three novels, I was in love with the audiobook experience! Not only do they make my drive go faster, but they also help me enjoy books in a way I was completely missing out on before.
And the best part is that I’ve started integrating them into my everyday reading habits. If you’re my friend on Goodreads (add me here!), you’ll see I always have (at least) 3 books in my “Currently Reading” section. Now, one of those books is the audiobook I’m listening to. I’ve even started listening to whole series through audio versions and love it!
It makes me wish that I was successful 7 years ago. Imagine the series I would have finished by now!