Sunday, September 09, 2018

This Is My Brain on Audiobooks

When told that you should spend as much time as possible resting, most of us would be thrilled. I was not. I couldn't help feeling as though I were being punished. For at least three and a half days, there was to be no knitting, and-- most heinous of all-- no BOOKS. I couldn't get in the pool for an even longer period of time. I obeyed instructions, but only because I wanted my eye to heal properly. I wasn't about to go through all this and not have the best possible results!

Now I can hear many of you immediately begin to chant, "Audiobooks! Audiobooks!" Okay, folks, I hear you. I hear you! Problem is, not everyone is cut out for audiobooks. I've tried them in the past and found them to be the best cure for insomnia outside of watching the Golf Channel; however, I thought I'd download the app to my iPhone, buy an audiobook, and give it another try. The last time I'd gone over three days without reading was a very long time ago. As in I didn't know how to read. But the doc said no reading, so no reading it would have to be. I settled down to have a listen.

I don't know which author it was who appeared at The Poisoned Pen and told us that he always read his work-in-progress aloud to see if everything sounded right, especially the dialogue. I wasn't very far into the audiobook I'd chosen when I began to wish that this author had done the same thing. There was a ton of dialogue, and every little snippet had to end with Mary said or Joe said. It made me long for writers who know how to give each character a different "voice" without all the she saids and he saids. In addition, in the midst of all the Marys and Joes saying this and that, the narrator had to play actor and attempt to give each character a different sounding voice. My ears kept rejecting this, and it reminded me of all those evenings when my mother would read me stories. You know, way back in the dim mists of time when I didn't know how to read. Mom never went out of her way to act out each character, but I always knew someone different was speaking. I don't know how she did it, but my ears approved.

And then I found myself nodding off time and again while listening. This was still an insomnia cure!

This may also be the time to say that I don't like wearing earbuds or headphones. Not only do I feel slightly claustrophobic, I also feel like prey that a leopard is sneaking up on. I want to hear the sounds around me, and I know this stems from walking to and from work and needing to be aware of my surroundings. You see, I encountered young men exposing themselves, and a stalker who kept trying to separate me from the rest of the herd in the parking lots I walked through. (Those were fun times.)

Then there's the fact that I can read a lot faster than the narrators can speak. I wanted to put the book on Alvin the Chipmunk speed, but then I think I'd laugh my way through the story.

The final thing I noticed while I slogged through the audiobook was the fact that I wasn't retaining any of the storyline. It was as if my ear canals were lined with Teflon. Nothing stuck. Everything just slipped right on through. (In one ear and out the other?)

So there you have it. My brain just is not an audiobook brain, no matter how I try to force the issue. I like my own pace of reading. I like the voices my brain supplies for each character, and my eyes aren't coated with Teflon. (At least... not yet.) My eyes carry all that information straight to my brain where it's carefully placed on shelves for me to access whenever I want.

Physical books don't have droning voices to put me to sleep either. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to go bookless all over again for the next round of eye improvements. I don't think I'm going to try the audiobook route again, but I won't rule it out completely. But I did find something to smile about.

When I attended The Poisoned Pen Conference, some folks wanted to know how the eye procedure went, and as I told them, I learned that almost every single one of them don't like audiobooks either. I am not alone! Now this is the time for you to picture me pumping my fist in the air a couple of times and then toddling off to read a book. A real book. With a cover. And pages. And that new/old book smell...


  1. You know, it's interesting, Cathy. I think some people really are audiobook people (I had a friend who mostly experienced books that way). And some are not. I don't think any form of reading/experiencing books is for everyone.

    1. I don't either... and I, too, have a friend who is an audiobook junkie-- my husband, Denis.

  2. I don't like the idea of audiobooks either. I'm too easily distracted and would never be able to keep track of the story, I'd be thinking about a dozen other things.

    1. I can't keep track of the story when I'm not being distracted; it would be totally impossible if I were listening to a book in a situation WITH distractions! LOL

  3. OK, OK, I'll let you have a pass on audiobooks. Ha! Yes, I do indeed know that some of us do well with audios and so do not. My daughter is almost entirely a auditory learner - she was tested in nursing school. That didn't surprise me. She loved to have me read to her when she was growing up and I did it even into her teens. She reads mostly by audiobooks. I am a visual and tactile learner, but...I do love my audios. It has taken practice though. And practice to learn to tolerate the earbuds. I'm very picky about them.

    Could you listen to movies or TV shows that you've watched before? And if you went to sleep, who cares? Ha!

    1. Mom told me that the second I could talk well I started bugging her to teach me how to read, so perhaps I didn't care for it all that much even then. Who knows?

      But you hit the nail on the head with what I wound up doing-- watching favorite movies and/or TV programs that I'd seen several times before so it didn't matter when I did nod off! LOL

  4. Yes, I was thinking that you could watch favorite movies or TV shows. Glad you did that.

    I've never tried an audiobook as noise can be very irritating.

    So glad your eye is healing well.


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