Friday, 26 February 2016
Recently I've been getting into listening to audiobooks. Well, I say recently but it was actually towards the end of last year that I signed up for Audible and downloaded my first book. It's taken me a while to get into them properly, but now I think I can finally say that they've become a part of my reading routine.
Having listened to a hand full of genres I'm finally becoming more aware of the sorts of books that I'm able to listen to without switching off or losing track. Basically, thrillers and ghost stories. It seems that anything that's too long, too dense, or too focused on discussions around a theme rather than plot, are not for me.
The first book I downloaded was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I loved listening to Wild as I walked home from work, but it took me months to finish. Unlike Disclaimer, which I listened to at all possible moments - walking, driving, as I got ready in the morning, whilst I cleaned - I only felt like listening to Wild whilst I was walking (apt, given the subject). I did enjoy Wild but I think something a bit snappier is the way forward.
After several weeks of listening I still have six hours left of Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks and I have no intention of continuing. Now I'm not sure whether there is a single reason for this, I think it's actually a number of factors that keep putting me off. Firstly, the narrator's voice grates on me so badly. Secondly, the two central characters are frustrating, annoying and lacking in anything that enables me to engage with them. Finally I've not actually enjoyed any of Sebastian Faulk's work since Charlotte Gray. I adored his early novels, but anything I've tried since Charlotte Gray (Engleby in particular - yawn), has failed to grab me.
I think my experience listening to Faulk's novel is also an indication of the things that I can listen to and stay engaged with throughout: not literary fiction. Reading this novel may have been completely different, as much of it is long discussions between two central characters and long single narrator flashbacks. Whilst this is something I usually enjoy in novels, it's not the easiest thing to listen to. Disclaimer and Carmilla on the other hand were gripping in every sense of the word and the continuously forward moving plot made it a much more compelling listening experience.
I'd love to know what you think of audiobooks and whether there is a genre of books that you struggle to listen to or not. I've just downloaded Hold the Dark by William Giraldi for my next book, but if you have any recommendations feel free to chuck them my way!
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