Whilst many people love reading books, in this months discussion post I want to find out if you listen to audio books?
Personally I have always had a weird attitude to them which is quite hard to describe. I do have childhood memories of audiobooks which I will get to in a second but as an adult I haven’t ever really listened to them although I would be interested in doing so (and one of my goals for 2022 was to do just that). At the time of writing this post though I have only listened to 75% of my first audiobook (you can track my progress with this over on my bookstagram).
As I mentioned I have strong childhood memories of audiobooks and one in particular. As a youngster one of my favourite Disney movies and the first film I remember seeing at the cinema, was 1998’s Mulan. I absolutely loved the movie, especially Mushu who was voiced brilliantly by Eddie Murphy but I also liked Mulan’s character herself and the action and songs.
Anyway, my parents, knowing I loved this film bought me the “Read Along” version for Christmas which was an audiobook (image below). This plastic box basically had a short 24-page book of the film with a cassette tape (it was 1998!) to go with it and I remember playing this tape over and over again as it had the voice acting and music as well.
I also had a couple of other ones such as A Bugs Life and Lady In The Tramp but it is the Mulan one which sticks in my head the most – though I have no idea what happened to it. I did find the other two when rummaging through some old things to take to a car boot sale a while ago and got a picture of them which I’ve put below as well.
Anyway, these sets definitely left an impression on me as when my nephew was born when I was 16 I bought him some ones as well (though these were on CD). I also felt like these accelerated my reading and language understanding so when I started primary school I was quite quick at getting through the reading books.
However once I learned how to read for myself I pretty much abandoned audio books, though I have listened to podcasts and some audio dramas as an adult but I think it is for a couple of reasons.
The first is scheduling as I can never seem to find an audio book or podcast which fits in with my schedule and a podcast episode or audio book chapter always seems to be slightly too short or too long so when I finish I always have to pause midway through.
The second is I do find audio books and podcasts overall quite passive now compared to when I was a kid which I think also shows sadly the times we live in and how as adults our lives get more busy.
When I had the Disney audio books I usually listened to them through headphones and they had my undivided attention for the duration. However as an adult, one of the things that people say is a benefit of audio books is you can listen to them whilst doing something else e.g. at the gym, driving etc. but when I do it I tend to find my attention dips in and out of the book and as a result it is much harder to follow?
My third reason could also be that simply Disney audio books raised my expectations of how entertaining they could be with voice acting and including songs from the films but when it is one person reading a book to you it isn’t quite as interesting!
I will admit as well when I set my goal this year to try to get into them more I did choose Frozen 2 as my first choice partly as I was still feeling a bit festive when I started and also I thought it would be like these books so I was somewhat disappointed when it got to the point that “Into The Unknown” plays in the film and the narrator speaks the lyrics!
I did listen to a couple of audio book version of stand up shows as well which I did enjoy though they weren’t quite the same as being there, such as Micky Flanagan’s tour so perhaps that says something about the type of audio books I like to listen to – preferably ones with acting or the author themselves.
I do want to get into audio books this year as I did definitely used to enjoy them when I was younger. However in writing this, perhaps I need to think about how to fit them in so that they have more of my attention.
I would love to know if you listen to audio books and if you have any favourites you would recommend I listen to to get back into it? Let me know in the comments down below.