I am a longtime fan of audiobooks. I have a 30 minute commute oneway and usually listen to an audiobook on the drive so at a minimum I am getting about an hours worth of “reading” time. Lately I have been increasing my listening time during slow moments at work when I am performing some mindless task that does not require intense concentration. I also listen to them when washing dishes, mowing the lawn, and washing the car, etc. There are some days that I have gotten as much as 8 hours of listening time. I have noticed that many times events from the story stick with me much longer than when I read the book. This is not always the case and may have more to do with a really good narrator than my reading comprehension.
A good narrator can make or break the audio experience for me. Some of my favorite narrators are Nick Podhel (The Name of the Wind), Marc Thompson (Star Wars), Jim Dale (Harry Potter series) and Luke Daniels (The Iron Druid series). I also really enjoy when the author reads their own work. Neil Gaiman comes to mind with his latest book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I moved back and forth between the physical book and audiobook and found the audio experience much more enjoyable. Neil poured himself into the book and made it come alive. I enjoyed it so much that I went back and listened to the audiobook again in its entirety.
I get most of my audiobooks from Audible and listen to them on my iPhone, but I get a fair number of them at my local library through Overdrive. I can download the audiobook straight to my iPhone for up to 3 weeks. I used to listen to audiobooks on CD but with the rise the rise of MP3 players and smartphones I quickly made the switch. There is nothing more frustrating than being the the middle of an audiobook and having to switch CDs only to find they are out of order. I have spoiled many a book by accidently putting in the wrong CD when I was not paying attention.
Some of my recent “reads” are NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, read by Kate Mulgrew, Feast of Souls and Wings of Wrath by C.S. Friedman (both books in her amazing Magister series), read by Elisabeth Rodgers. All three of these were amazing and made even better by the fantastic narration.
There are also some great audiobook review sites out there. My favorite is The Guilded Earlobe. I enjoy his style of reviewing. He not only talks about his thoughts on the book but also of the audio presentation itself.
If you have never listened to an audiobook give it a try. It can be an amazing experience.