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Audiobooks just as fun, if not more

I was going to recommend a list of books for you to read this season, but this could be the perfect opportunity to experiment with audiobooks.

What if you tried reading, but cracked that first page open and fell asleep before finishing the third paragraph? Don’t beat yourself up. Believe it or not, reading is a skill. Just because you know your ABCs doesn’t mean you have the attention span to read an entire 600-page book. This is where audiobooks shine.

In case you don’t even know what that term means, with an audiobook, a person reads the book, and you listen. Why are audiobooks easier to consume than conventional novels?

Because you can listen to them while doing other things. Think of a chore you absolutely hate, such as cleaning your house, washing clothes, or pounding groundnuts (if you live in East Africa). Imagine how much easier they would be to accomplish if you had an audiobook on hand. A narrator can occupy your mind for hours while your hands and feet toil.

But if you meander carelessly into the field, you can bounce off an audiobook as quickly as you would a traditional novel. Beginners should keep the following tips in mind.

First, select the right app. Most people gravitate towards Audible. However, newbies are better off giving Libby a shot because it offers thousands of free audiobooks. An app with free audiobooks allows you to determine whether or not audiobooks are your cup of tea without forcing you to spend your hard-earned money.

You can transition to paid apps once you develop an appreciation for audiobooks. If you have a library nearby, find out whether they offer audiobooks. Once you select an app, identify a suitable book. Stick to shorter books. A 50-hour fantasy epic may stretch your patience. If you like fiction, find a children’s book. If you prefer non-fiction, look for a small memoir.

Even with a limited attention span, you are more likely to persevere if a person you care about is narrating their life. Speaking of narrators, look for books with celebrity narrators. If you share my obsession with J.R.R. Tolkien, there’s a Lord of the Rings audiobook narrated by Andy Serkis (the actor who plays Gollum).

The narrator will directly impact your ability to enjoy an audiobook. However, it takes a while to identify the narrators you like and dislike. Sticking with celebrity narrators in the beginning simplifies matters. A narrator with a familiar voice can enhance your enjoyment.

I’m assuming you prefer a single narrator. Some audiobooks are essentially audio dramas narrated by an entire cast. The production company may bolster your immersion by including sound effects.

Keep experimenting until you find a production style that works for you. Again, this is why free audiobooks are so important. You’re more likely to abandon reading if you pay for an audiobook and hate it.

On the other hand, one bad experience won’t keep you from consuming more audiobooks if the books in question are free. If you have read some physical books in the past, especially as a child, look for the ones you enjoyed in audiobook format. You already know you like them.

Therefore, paying for the audiobook version is less of a gamble, assuming you can’t access apps with free audiobooks. If you are still struggling to select a book, many apps provide excerpts. You can listen to snippets of a book to determine whether the story and narrator suit your sensibilities. You can also read reviews.

Use recommendations from critics you trust. Ultimately, you should have an easier time getting into an audiobook than a physical novel. The key is to find something you can do while listening.

The activity gives you an excuse to consume the audiobook. If you can conquer audiobooks, it won’t be long before you master physical novels.

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