I read books very rarely these days, or rather very slowly, sometimes just a page or two a day. One of the ways I do “read” regularly is orally rather than visually, by listening to 10-15 minutes daily. Audible.com’s $14.95 monthly membership happens to work out quite well for this, since I rarely finish listening to a book in less than a month. Yes, ten years ago this would’ve been a joke, but it’s totally worth it.1
Selecting audiobooks is very different from regular books or e-books. It’s impossible to “hoard” them2(!) A bigger difference is what I end up looking for. Instead of going by the author or the theme, I find myself giving a huge weight to the narrator. An average narrator ruins the experience3.
The reason I mention this is I found a two-year old article4 about the same, which has a list of “famous” narrators. One of my famous narrators didn’t make the list, so I’ll mention her here. Wanda McCaddon5 was the narrator of “The Birth of the Modern” by Paul Johnson, and ever since, I’ve been seeking her out everywhere (my favorite so far has been “The Guns of August”).
Anyway, depending on your point of view, available time and inclination to listening to someone talk, you’ll either find the idea of audiobooks a “fad” or something you’d enjoy6. If it’s the latter, go for the 30-day free trial and see how you like it.
- Think “price of a haircut”, or “four cups of coffee at Starbucks” ↩
- Well, ok, you can, but you have to try hard. Compare to e-books, where a whole mass of them piles up in a jiffy. Which is why I gave up on them. ↩
- I wish most authors who try to read their own stuff would take a hint (one notable exception being Prof. Michael Drout) ↩
- Wall Street Journal, “The New Explosion in Audio Books ↩
- Though she uses a stage name, and I encountered her as “Nadia May” ↩
- On the other hand, some of the add-ons, like the so-called “immersive reading” experience where you buy both the audiobook and the e-book are definitely not worth it. ↩