Monday Musings on Bookish Obsessions

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

As book bloggers, we overanalyze a lot of things compared to the non-book-blogger or the non-reader. We think long and hard about what books to read, what books to buy, and how to judge them fairly. We debate about bookmarks vs dog-earing pages and the benefits of the kindle – from on vacation to in a proposed “bookless library”. We discuss prolifically bookish news, from J.K. Rowling’s unexpected new book to the kindle price-setting scandal. Lately, my topic to over-think has been my choice of audiobooks…

As you can probably tell from the fact that this is my third post (!) on audiobooks, I really am over-thinking this a bit. However, as a reader and a book blogger, it’s very important to me that I not miss out on the full experience I get reading a book because I decided to listen to it instead. What has me thinking this time is the feeling that I just have less to say about books I’ve listened to. I generally end up with a few notes on the narration and a few things I particularly enjoyed or disliked about the book. Part of this is actually a self-fulfilling prophecy because I’ve been avoiding listening to anything really new for fear I won’t get the full experience. Listening to books that are just like all the other books in a series is bound to lead to bland reviews! But I’m worried that I also notice writing and plot quality less when I’m listening to an audiobook. I’m also quite sure I take poorer notes (ie none until I’m done driving!).

Do those of you who listen to audiobooks feel as though you can analyze them as deeply as you do a book you read? Do you have a strategy for taking notes while things are still fresh?

22 Comments

Filed under Monday Musings

22 responses to “Monday Musings on Bookish Obsessions

  1. I don’t listen to audiobooks, so can’t quite help. I can definitely understand your issue though. I do feel sometimes that when I read reviews for audiobooks the focus is often on narrator, and not the other basic elements of a story that most reviews cover. So it does seem to change how one does their review. I’m curious to see what others have to say about it!

    • It’s true and that’s exactly what I want to avoid doing! I think it’s important to comment on the narrator, but I want to make sure I can talk about plot, writing style, and character development too 🙂

  2. What you can’t do when listening to books is go back and reread a phrase or paragraph that strikes you. Which is a pity, I think.

    • I agree completely. I’ll rewind if I miss something, but I prefer not to and am unlikely to go back just to savor a sentence the way I might when reading.

  3. I must confess I never listened to any audiobook yet – here in Portugal, where I live, audiobooks are almost unknown.

    Here’s my Musing if you’d like to check it out.

    • Interesting! I always love learning more about other countries and I hadn’t thought much about how access to audiobooks or cultural preferences about them might influence peoples reading habits 🙂

  4. I can’t listen to audiobooks at all. I’ve tried and I find I can’t focus on the story.

    Sonia Lal

  5. I’ve got a one-touch voice recorder in the car that I use to quickly note those things I really want to remember. It seems to do the trick well enough for me, but you’re right to point out that it’s incredibly difficult to go back and savour a section or even pull a quote. Considering how much they improve the quality of my commute, though, I’m willing to make that sacrifice… 🙂

    • Now that’s using technology! I think if I at least made sure to take notes whenever I got out of the car, I might be able to make better critiques, but I would love to have a setup like yours 🙂

  6. I don’t listen to audiobooks because I can get pretty easily distracted, same goes for graphic novels and comics .. I don’t read them because the pictures can be distracting. I like reading the good ol’ books which only has words 🙂 my mm is up: http://wp.me/p3v5T1-9k

    • I can definitely understand that! I’m not big on comics either, but I’ve found that I only need to rewind audiobooks occasionally most days and if I’m zoning out a lot, I’ll just come back to it later 🙂

  7. I tend not to listen to audio books that often, mainly as I find it hard to concentrate on that. Reading is one of the few things I do that can hold my attention for a long period of time. However, I think the only thing you miss by hearing rather than reading is probably grammar and punctuation rather than anything significant about the story.

    • With good narrators who inject emotion into their voice, I feel like the punctuation comes through well, but it can definitely be a problem with some narrators. I like to listen to them when I’m driving and there’s nothing else I could be doing anyway 🙂

  8. I still can’t seem to even get into audio books. Maybe some day, but right now, they don’t seem to work for me!

  9. To date, I have listened to and reviewed one audio book. That one only came about as a review request. After I finished the review, I received an offer to review others but to date I haven’t followed up on the request. It took me double the amount of time to listen than if I had just read it.

    One unexpected positive from the whole experience though is I found it easier to take notes while listening to audio than while reading print. Here’s a post I wrote about my experience: http://allisonsbookbag.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/the-pros-and-cons-of-audio-books/

    • Audiobooks do take a long time to get through! That’s the main reason I never tried them before I had a long commute. Sadly, the fact that I’m driving makes it impossible to take notes while listening, but I can see that it might be easier if you were just sitting somewhere while you listened. Thanks for the interesting perspective!

  10. I mainly listen to audiobooks when I’m running or driving, which means I can’t write anything down or mark a section in any way. I’m also aware that I’m not always concentrating 100%, so I do miss parts of the story. I’ve never done an audiobook review before and I’ve been thinking about how to review the one I’m listening to now. I almost wish I had a copy of the book so I could flip through it real quick and go back over certain sections.

    • I think not being able to take notes is one of the things that’s making it so hard for me to be happy with the listening experience. I like your idea of having a physical copy to go through later; I think that could help a lot! I’m also trying to take notes right after I get out of the car and I think that helps too.

  11. I don’t take notes while reading a physical book, so it’s never been an issue for me with audiobooks – which I love. There have been audiobooks where I loved the narrator, but hated the book; loved the book, but hated the narration; books where I felt listening to the audiobooks was better than reading the physical copy; or where I felt it would have been better if I had read it … etc. My point is that – it’s not worth overthinking it. If it’s not your thing, then it’s not – but the audiobook reviews I’ve seen have been just as thorough as reviews of print books.

    • I’m glad to hear it! Hopefully that means I can get to where I’m as happy with my audiobook reviews as I am with my reviews of physical books. I actually do think I’m getting better with practice and taking notes as soon as I get out of the car, so I’m optimistic that it will work out well 🙂

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