Bookish Musings: I’m Trying Audiobooks… and It’s Not Going Well


I posted a discussion some time ago in which I talked about why I don’t like audiobooks, but I’ve started listening to them lately. Listening to books is a great way for me to rest my eyes (eye strain) and my arms (tennis elbow). I’ve also found that I enjoy listening while eating and while lying in bed at night before going to sleep.


I’m having A LOT of issues, some of which I didn’t even realize would be issues. I want to be able to listen to audiobooks, but I just can’t deal with so many things about them. So… instead of continually bothering my Twitter followers (which is what I’ve been doing), I thought I’d just make a post to vent instead 🙂

Now, I’m sure at least one person out there is thinking, “If you don’t like audiobooks, you don’t need to make a whole post bashing them, just stop listening to them.” To that, my response is: This is my blog, which means it’s my space where I talk about my feelings on bookish things. And I mean, have you ever tried complaining? If not, you should. It’s cathartic. Anyway, this is in no way meant to stop others from listening to audiobooks or to say they are inferior. In fact, if you enjoy audiobooks, I envy you. And I think you should continue to enjoy them! But as I said, I’m having issues, so maybe someone will want to commiserate with me or something? I don’t know.

So, now that that eloquent intro is finished, here are the reasons I’m still struggling with audiobooks!

*Psst! This is 2021 me here to say this post is from 2018, and you’re welcome to keep reading it, but you might also enjoy my updated thoughts on why I like audiobooks now!*

The Narrators Try to Make Everything Sound So Dramatic

The way they speak, it’s like the narrators are trying to make everything dramatic instead of just speaking the way normal people speak. And this is happening on most of the books I’ve tried, so it’s not like I just found one bad narrator. I suppose some people may prefer this method of narrating. I do not. It’s just really bothering me and taking me out of the story. I’d rather they just speak… normal.


The Voices are Terrible

Ok, I know some narrators are better at voices than others. But so far I’ve only found one series in which I could actually deal with all the voices. Having to hear a female voice in place of a man’s, or having to hear a really poor imitation of a man’s voice, just completely throws me out of the story. The same is true for a man doing women’s voice, but so far, in what I’ve listened to, it’s been worse when the women try to do men’s voices. I like to really immerse myself in stories, and part of that means I hear the character’s voices in my heads when I read. Having to hear a poorly done voice means that aspect of immersing myself is lost. Also, I guess because they have to make sure their voices are clear to be understood, I feel like the dialogue is rarely spoken in a natural way, with the same inflection and tone and everything it would have were it really being spoken in that situation.


I Struggle with Names, Made Up Words, and Foreign Words

So that makes high fantasy or anything involving unfamiliar cultures particularly difficult. I want to see how these words are spelled. I need to see them. When I can’t see them, they’re like a jumbled mess in my brain and I can’t quite make sense of them, and I keep getting distracted by them. It probably has to do with me being a visual learner rather than an auditory one.


I Miss Details

I’ve found that I can do books with straightforward, simple writing. But if there’s a lot of detail or description, I’m a goner. Again, I think it has to do with being a visual learner. I struggle to comprehend things simply from hearing them. Also, with normal books, I can reread a sentence if I need clarification, I can read a particularly detailed or confusing paragraph slower, etc. Another thing, even when I try my hardest to focus, I still zone out sometimes, even if only for a few seconds. But those few seconds can leave me feeling completely disoriented with audiobooks, and it’s just too much work to rewind.


I Can’t Save Quotes

This really bothers me! I’m a quote hoarder. To save a quote from an audiobook, I have to rewind, replay, and write it down. That defeats the purpose of me using audiobooks in the first place and is difficult to do if I’m in the middle of eating or lying in bed with no pen and paper.


A Recommendation

I’ve been borrowing from my library via Hoopla, so my selection has been limited. But so far, the only books I’ve truly enjoyed by audio, and that I actually think I enjoyed even more than I would’ve had I read them normally, were the Fred, the Vampire Accountant books (<-- Amazon affiliate link). The narrator sounds natural and brings personality to the main character, the voices are good, the writing is straightforward, there aren't difficult words, and zoning out for a few seconds every now and then didn't affect my enjoyment or understanding. Check it out if you're looking for a good audio!


Talk to me!

Do you like audiobooks?
What issues (if any) do you have with them?
What kinds of things do you do while listening?


Your Thoughts


103 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: I’m Trying Audiobooks… and It’s Not Going Well

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  1. Greg

    I don’t do well with audio. Wish I did. I’d get a lot more read! I get too distracted- it’s not bad if I’m in the car, but if I’m moving around doing stuff, or even just sitting sometimes, I end up wanting to do something else and then… I’ve missed stuff. 🙂 So I gave up. I never thought about listening right before bed though, or while IN bed. that might be a good way to relax…

    Great point about the voices *nods* Same with details. Sometimes I WANT to linger over a paragraph or whatever, and digest it slowly, or just re- read it and make sure I’m getting any hidden meanings. I envy people who blow through audiobooks, but for a variety of reasons I have trouble…

    Complaining IS cathartic! We need more complaining.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Seriously, I *want* to be able to enjoy it more! I mean, I definitely couldn’t listen to audio while doing something (other than eating). But I’m literally using it as a way to rest my eyes, so lying in bed with my eyes closed makes it easier to focus on the audio. It’s just all those other problems…

      That’s such a struggle, not being able to read at your own pace, to go back, to savor paragraphs, etc.

      Right? People who don’t complain are missing out, man 😉

  2. Christy LoveOfBooks

    Hey, Kristen! So. I totally know how you feel. I wasn’t an audiobook person for pretty much all the reasons you listed until maybe … 3 years ago. I’m still not 100%, but I’ve found my “sweet spot.” I’ve realized that UF is the only genre I can really enjoy on audio, and I’m suuuuuper picky about narrators. The noises some narrators make while talking makes me want to punch something. lol. It wasn’t until I listened to Luke Daniel in the Iron Druid series that I had a great experience and realized there actually are worthy narrators out there. 😀 I have to listen at a higher speed, at least 1.5x or else I get bored and zone out. I still do at times, but it helps a lot with keeping me focused. My biggest complaint with the ones I do love is not having the ability to, like you said, save quotes. I like to be able to highlight and go back or search for certain parts. Audio sucks big time in that way. I still prefer to read, but there are a couple series that I can’t imagine not listening to. I hope you can discover some good ones that work for you, but it stinks when the selection is limited. Have you tried the library? You can do them digitally through Overdrive. Also, have you ever used Audible? Do you have an account? I or someone else can send you a free one through them… it’s only a one-time thing, so once you accept the free one you can’t accept any more.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I haven’t really noticed noises in particular, but some are too… saliva-y? Or breathy. But some are good. If Iron Druid was available from my library, I’d totally try that one :-/ And yeah, I hate not being able to highlight, and it’s also frustrating in both audiobooks and print books not being able to search.

      I do borrow through the library. My library doesn’t use Overdrive, it uses Axis360 and Hoopla. And I’m pretty sure Overdrive is different for every library anyway? Cuz mine used to use that. I already used my free audible thing years ago, unfortunately.

  3. chucklesthescot

    I don’t really use audiobooks. The first issue is I don’t have the right environment to listen to them. At home during the day I’m blogging while chatting to my dad. There is no commute to work or day spent cooking in the kitchen where audiobooks are useful. After the family dinner at night I go to my room to read. So time for them is very limited. My health issues often leave me tired so if I sit still to listen to something like that, I’m likely to fall asleep! Second, there is also the price of audio cds-I only get them on audio cd so I can put them on my sterio-and they are often so expensive to buy. Our local library is useless (they still do cassette audio books!) so I’d have to buy them. Third is not knowing if the narrator is good under after I purchase! I’d need to rely on friend recs! You’re not the only one who isn’t totally sold on the audiobook!

    I own 10 audio cds. The 7 Stephen Fry Harry Potters, the first two Game of Thrones books and Stephen King’s ‘It’. I’d like to get a few more of my very favourites but it’ll depend on price and whether I can start fitting them into my reading life!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, if you have no need of them (no commute, no health reason to listen to them like me with my eye strain), then it makes sense that you wouldn’t bother. And I agree, they’re too expensive. That’s why my selection is so limited, because I’m borrowing from the library. But if your library only has cassettes?! Then I don’t blame you. I don’t even have a cassette player???? And yeah, I wouldn’t want to spend that kind of money without even being able to see if I like the narrator first!

      I’ve heard the Stephen Fry audios are good. I tried the Jim Dale ones for HP since that’s what my library had, but nooooo. I couldn’t do it.

  4. verushka

    Have you tried books with a cast of characters? Like Gaiman’s done by the BBC has a cast of characters, and Graphic audio is another audio company that does audios like that, complete with sound effects. Big Finish Productions is another company that does audio. Narrators do frustrate me, but sometimes I just ignore the irritating bits and try not to roll my eyes too much. But I hear you, a narrator does make or break an aduio for me!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I did try one (well it was a graphic novel), and I liked it more, but I haven’t been able to even find any I want to listen to from my library with two narrators. If I could, I’d probably enjoy those more :-/

  5. Bee @ Quite The Novel Idea

    I usually don’t have the attention span for an audiobook because I get easily distracted while just listening to it. I do, however, like listening to an audiobook and reading the book at the same time. But also not for all books. The best ones to do that with are Illuminae and Gemina by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman. Their audiobooks are such a unique experience like none I’ve ever head, with full casts, sound effects and everything!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Honestly if I were able to just read the book, I’d rather just read the book lol. But I know that some people do enjoy listening while reading. Those Illuminae ones do sound really interesting! I can see how a full cast audio with sound effects and everything might really add to the reading experience.

  6. Angela

    I’ve been listening to audiobooks, but I totally agree with a lot of your issues. The narrator’s voice is a huge thing – I mean, if you’re listening to something for 8 hours, that’s a lot. I listened to one nonfiction audiobook narrated by the author himself, and his voice was so boring. But then the most recent one I listened to, the guy had a 1940s radio voice, and it actually fit the story so well.

    I’m always worried I’m going to miss something, too. I’ve been listening to rereads and nonfiction/memoir type books, where if I miss something, I either already know what happens or it’s not integral to the plot, if there even if a plot. I think with audiobooks, it’s really about finding the types of books that work for you.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Honestly, I’d prefer boring to overdramatic. But yeah, if they’re able to do a voice that matches the book, that’s great!

      The problem is that I’m just not into nonfiction or memoirs. And I feel like I’d be even more likely to zone out with those lol.

  7. Lola

    I’ve never listened to audiobook before and while I do want to give them a try, I think I will struggle with a lot of these things as well. For some reason i always seem to absorb things better when reading.

    I did listen to some samples on Amazon from audiobooks once and I have found a few that sounded okay. i think The Legacy Human by Susan Kaye Quinn was one of the ones that had a pretty good narrator in my opinion based on the sample. And I might be tempted to try listening to that one, as I already read the book, so that should make it easier. But then again you know how often I re-read, namely almost never, so I am just not sure if I would be more likely to re-read when it’s another format/ experience?
    Have you listened to a book that you already read? And if yes how was that experience? Is it easier to listen to a book you already know?

    I sometimes have that when someone says something that I can’t visualize the word and it can be quite confusing. So I understand what you mean and I can see how that would happen with audiobooks, especially with foreign, fantasy or difficult words. When I read I can see the word, but even if someone spells a word it just goes all jumbled in my head, like I just can’t seem to visualize a word I haven’t heard of before very well unless I see it written.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Everyone has a different learning style, and some of us just do absorb things better by reading, others by listening.

      I haven’t listened to any rereads. I tried out HP and Shatter Me, but I couldn’t deal with the narration of either of those. I might listen to a reread of this other book though. I had read the first book like two years ago and was tempted to continue, but the whole series was too expensive. Hoopla has all the audiobooks though, so I might give that series a go.

      Yeah, it’s like, all I hear is vnejyrawknbds. Then they say another word that’s like, uiyhgrtajh. And then I can’t even tell the difference between the two lol. At least in writing, even if I can’t figure out how the word is pronounced, I recognize it when I see it again.

  8. suzanna

    I feel your pain. I can’t listen to audiobooks either. No matter how hard I try, I just start thinking about something else.
    And if I lay in bed with my eyes closed, I’d just go to sleep ha ha.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m actually surprised, I’ve been able to pay attention better than I thought I would, but I know that if I actually tried to multitask (other than eating) while listening, I’d lose my focus.

  9. Joe

    Try The Last Namsara. It’s on Hoopla and read by Pearl Mackie (Bill from Doctor Who, if you’re a Whovian.) It’s a great story and she did a great job narrating.

    But I know what you mean about some of the voices being absolutely horrible. I’m looking at you I Am Number Four!

  10. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    I’m glad you wrote this post. I’m just like you, I am a visual person and I often miss aural information, so I would not be able to write very good reviews of audio books. I’ve only tried one but just listening to the narrator made me laugh!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay, you get me! 😛 But yeah, I really do miss a lot with listening vs. reading. Even in college, if I didn’t have to attend a lecture, I’d just stay home and read the textbook instead.

  11. S. J. Pajonas

    This probably has a lot to do with your genres you’re listening to. I listen to romance, classics, scifi, YA, and fantasy, and I have a HUGE array of narrators, voices, and styles to get through. I usually find narrators I like and stick with them. As for details, I don’t remember them when I read either, so meh, whatever. Lol. I don’t do quotes, so I can’t comment on that. I had a lot of trouble with audiobooks in the beginning, and when I just accepted that the experience would be different, I started to enjoy them a lot more.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah but I only read sci-fi and fantasy, so that doesn’t give me much option for switching lol. But I’ve sampled a bunch, including YA, adult, dystopian, urban fantasy, high fantasy, and they all—except the one series I rec’d—have that dramatic kind of reading that I can’t stand and terrible opposite sex voices. You’re right, I think you do just have to accept that the experience will be different if you’re going to enjoy them, but I can’t seem to accept that. I can’t stand knowing I’m enjoying a book less and that I could’ve enjoyed it more had I just read it.

  12. Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf

    I’m so easily distracted while reading audiobooks that I can miss a whole chapter if I’m not careful. It’s so easy to miss details and get distracted because I treat it like music playing on a laptop, The only places that seem to be okay for me to listen to audiobooks is the grocery store and while I’m eating lunch. How does everyone who loves audiobooks do it?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yep, that is a problem with audiobooks. I also tend to let sounds drift to the background of my brain, it’s why I’m able to read while listening to music.

  13. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    I’ve tried audios but I just zone out too much, I think. I’ve never made it through an entire book so I can’t say I completely agree with all of your points, but I DO think that I would if I tried listening to audios longer. I’m definitely a visual learner, so I would much rather read a book than try and listen to someone. I also think the men doing women and vice versa would throw me off too. hah


  14. JJ @ This Dark Material

    I’m also more of a visual learner than an audio one, so sadly audiobooks just aren’t the right format for me either! I have gotten some over the years, all titles I’ve previously read and usually because I like the narrator they’ve chosen for them. Otherwise, I remember much less of the story between listening sessions so it winds up feeling like a waste of time. It’s great that you gave them another try, though!

  15. Sarah J.

    My two favorite audiobooks are both YA contemporary and I think that’s where audiobooks really shine for me. I highly recommend The Hate U Give and Forgive Me Leonard Peacock. I was also a huge fan of Salt to the Sea (which is historical fiction) and Anne Frank Remembered (which is nonfiction). I find fantasy is harder to follow, but if done well it is a lot of fun. Sadly, I haven’t found a really superb fantasy audiobook yet.

      1. Sarah J.

        I just finished listening to Ready Player One and the narration was really good, but the story wasn’t a favorite. You may enjoy though!

  16. Ash

    I actually just got into Audiobooks and I love them. I had the same problem at first, and I kept zoning out and blah blah. But I just had to find the narrators I like. I’ve finished so many more books this way.
    But hey, everyone has preferences 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m glad they ended up working out for you! I definitely noticed that I finished more books when I was listening that one series on audio. So far haven’t found any other ones I like though :-/

  17. Rebeccah @ The Pixie ChroniclesRe

    This whole post is 100% SPOT ON why I won’t try audio books. It makes me sad, really, because I love drawing, and I always think I could be listening to a good book while I’m doing so and killing 2 birds with one stone. But alas, the thought of listening to someone read to me just makes me feel weird, and then all of your other points only cements the deal. I guess I’m just too old fashioned and need a physical book in hand.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh gosh, I get so focused when I draw that I could never listen to an audio while doing it, I’d end up missing the entire book lol. But yeah, it does feel weird having someone read to me. I think that’s why that one series worked so well for me, it was 1st person and kind of like journal entries, so it felt kinda normal to have someone reading it.

  18. Karen

    I’m the same. I get too distracted.

    I have wrist issues so I wish they worked for me too.

    I can listen to short podcasts (while driving – not while multi tasking or sitting) and I’m trying a biography right now that is going….ok-ish. I can’t really listen to anything with a plot or I have many of the problems you mentioned.

    Plus, i read fast. So even with the benefit of being able to multi task while reading that so many people love with audio – I could have finished 4 books if I just sat down and physically read them.

    I’m glad they allow so many people to be able to squeeze in more reading but they aren’t for me.

    One positive is that I now know how to pronounce weird names and places lol

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, they’re super helpful if you have certain health issues, so it’s too bad we don’t enjoy them more.

      It’s not the speed that bothers me, I don’t read very fast, but I can see why that’d bother you. Although you could always speed up the audio.

      Meh, I don’t mind if I pronounce them wrong in my head lol.

  19. Stephanie Jane

    I haven’t listened to audiobooks for a while but they used to be perfect for me for commuting. Instead being on a dismal Stagecoach bus, in my head I’d be in another country or a whole different time period. I also like audiobooks when I am walking alone. I can’t just sit and listen though – I then always doze off!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I imagine they would be perfect for commuting. I don’t do much driving or traveling anymore though. Lol sitting and listening is pretty much the only way I can stay focused!

  20. Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    I personally don’t do audio for fantasy because I’m trash when it comes to remembering the names of people and placing. I mostly like audio for romance (urban fantasy romance and contemporary) as well as mystery. Does your library have Overdrive as well? I think that their selection is bigger than Hoopla’s (but I loooveee hoopla).

    1. Kristen Burns

      I thought every library selection on Overdrive was different? Anyway my library uses Axis360, which I think is also diff depending on the library. I’ve checked the selection there too and might keep trying with a few more before giving up entirely.

  21. Miggs

    Reading this post reminded me of the two un-played audio books I currently have on my Kindle Fire. Need to jump on that.

  22. Bookworm Brandee

    I think narrators make or break an audiobook experience, Kristen. I still consider myself an audio newb but I’ve found some narrators that I LOVE. And a few that I will steer clear of forever more. I’ve had narrators ruin what could have been a good story. And I’ve had some narrators be the best thing about a story. And I think what we like or don’t like in narrators differs from person to person…just like a book. 🙂 I, too, despair at the fact that I can’t highlight in an audiobook. That’s one thing that’s really difficult. And I also miss details. I’m a visual person and a story just sticks with me more strongly if I read it. That’s an unfortunate thing but if it’s a story that I really like, I can always listen to it again. 😀
    Might I recommend the Immortals After Dark series narrated by Robert Petkoff. He is the narrator that changed my mind about audiobooks. I think he’s amazing!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I also think narrators can make or break an audio. However, I’m so far finding that they’re all just too dramatic-sounding, except for that one series and a graphic novel I listened to (since that was a full cast with mostly dialogue). But ugh, the highlighting thing is such a problem, right?! And same about being a visual person and it sticking more if I read it. I’ll have to see if my library has that series.

  23. Tori @ InToriLex

    I have the same issues with audio books. I like to tab and gather quotes I enjoyed. I also will zone out and not listen well if theres other things to do. I’ll stick to my hard copies and ebooks. Some things arent for everybody.

  24. Lilyn George

    Check out Ray Porter (narrator, does sci-fi stuff a lot, but other stuff as well.) He has one of the best abilities to change voices, doesn’t over-dramatize, etc. Basically everything you complained you have issues with, he does right 🙂

  25. Samantha

    I love audiobooks! I listen during my commute and while I’m at home (cleaning, playing with the dogs, making dinner, etc). Angela Dawe narrates the Psy Changeling series and does an amazing job. Also, the dark artifices series by Cassandra Clare is the best in audio!!! Book two is voiced by James Marsters (Buffy from spike!!) and book one is voiced by the woman who played Deadpool’s girlfriend! They do a wonderful performance of the books.

  26. Bernadette @ X-Ray Reads

    I’ve been trying to get into audio books lately because that lets me crochet and listen at the same time. I’m having a lot of the same problems you do! It’s harder for me to remember details (I went to review my latest read/listen and had to double-check one of the main character’s names… oops) and the book as a whole is blurrier afterward. The worst thing is a bad reader, though. The last one I listened to had a female reader who a) did a (to me) super unappealing fake-guy voice for the guys, and b) made them sound all the same. This was especially awkward given that the ages ranged from teenage to teachers.
    I still haven’t given up on audio books though! It’s really nice to have something going while I’m crocheting, so I’m working on paying extra attention to things like important names – and finding books with good narrators, if I can.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I just don’t absorb the info as well, so it does feel blurrier afterward. But ugh, I can’t deal with women doing men’s voices. So far, they’ve all sounded ridiculous. And all sounding the same is frustrating too.

      I’m still trying too! It would be nice if I could have some to listen to to rest my eyes more often.

  27. Lindsi

    *cracks knuckles* Here we go! ?

    You have very valid points. I haaaaate not being able to save or mark quotes when I’m listening to an audiobook. I’ll hear something and really want to mark it in some way, but all I can do is listen to the same thing over and over again until I can write it down or type it into my phone. It’s tedious and time-consuming.

    A recommendation: CINDER by Marissa Meyer. Seriously, I think you’d enjoy the story, and the narrator is PHENOMENAL. I have no issues discerning who is speaking even though she is only one person. Try it and let me know!

    Missing details: That was me a few years ago, and still happens occasionally. This is what I’ve learned… I cannot sit still and just listen to an audiobook and do nothing else. My mind wanders and I lose the story. If I listen to an audiobook while I’m cleaning the house, or folding laundry, or even driving in the car–my mind is somewhat occupied, but not so much that I can’t give my focus to the audiobook. I think my body having something to do actually focuses my mind and keeps me from missing details.

    As for the words, I haven’t listened to too many books that have a fantastical setting with new words and phrases. I’m not sure how that would work, especially since I would probably pronounce them in a different way. I don’t know, it might be easier having someone else just say them for me, because I’m sure they had to check with the author for proper pronunciation.

    I haven’t noticed the dramatic part either, so I can’t really comment on that! I’m sure some narrators add more inflection than they need to. ?

    It’s your blog and you can vent if you want to! Loved the topic! I know you’ve had issues with your eyes and headaches, so I’m sure you want audiobooks to work, so try busying your hands with something while you listen. It’s like listening to someone tell you a story while you work, and it just plays in the background. Focusing too hard can also make it weird. Relax, and don’t stress if you miss something. It’s not likely you hear everything in a conversation either, lol.

    Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly! I literally have to pause, rewind, replay, and write down/type out the quotes, or mark the time and come back and do it later. So much work.

      As I said, I have limited selection, and I’m pretty sure Cinder isn’t available. But see, the problem isn’t discerning who’s speaking, it’s that I’m finding I really cannot stand listening to women do men’s voices. It irritates me and throws me out of the story. I need to find more male narrated books maybe.

      I’m the opposite. If I try to do anything while listening, my mind will shift for a second, thinking about the task I’m doing, and once it shifts off the story, I’m a goner. If I’m just lying in bed or something, I’m able to stay focused better because I’m actively focusing on the audio and just the audio.

      I do want to be able to enjoy audiobooks, but it doesn’t look promising. The dramatic talking and the terrible voices just completely throw me from the story and ruin it for me!

    2. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I second the recommendation of Rebecca Soler as a narrator—I don’t know if you’ll find her too dramatic, but I LOVE her. I saw in one of your other replies that you have Axis 360, and I’m super jealous because they have the BEST YA audiobooks (I’d actually be surprised if they don’t have Cinder), but our library isn’t using them anymore. 🙁

      Of course, I know you don’t read as much YA, so it might not be as great for you.

      1. Kristen Burns

        I think Axis360 is different for different libraries though? Versus Hoopla which I think is the same? That was the impression I had. But idk, I’m just struggling with audiobooks in general.

        1. Lindsi

          My library uses OverDrive… do either of you have that? It has a pretty vast selection of audiobooks and ebooks. Rebecca Soler is amazing. I would happily let her narrate my life.

  28. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    So I’m right there with you. And I am also envious of people who like audiobooks because they seem to get so much more read. However, I tried a Stephen King short story once and it didn’t work. Now if I can’t make a Stephen King short story keep my interest, I’m pretty hopeless in this arena. I liked to read while hubby watches TV or while I watch sports and I can’t multi-task and do this with audiobooks. Also, I tried them before bed and they were great for putting me to sleep. But then I woke up and had lost my places, etc.

    Finally, I really enjoy music. So when I’m cleaning or driving in the car, which I do quite a bit of for work, I prefer to listen to music and I know this is when others really like audiobooks. So take comfort. I enjoyed your venting and am right there with you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, since I’ve been listening, I have gotten through more books… but now I’ve run out of the good ones, and I just can’t deal with these others. So I’m envious of these other people too. And yeah, in your case, they don’t sound right for you cuz you just can’t listen and watch tv at the same time.

      I enjoy music too, that’s another good point!

  29. Daniela Ark

    Oh no! I was so happy when I heard you were giving audiobooks a try on twitter because I know you haven’t been feeling well lately. Even though I live audio books because they allow me to read more I do have many of the issue you have with them!

    I hate that I have to bookmark it and then actually type the quotes! I think that’s why I stopped doing my GR updates!
    And yes some of the voices and accents are just unbearable! I was never able to listen to my beloved series Red Rising because of that!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I know, I want to like them, but it’s just NOT WORKING.

      I’m so glad there are other people who understand my quote obsession lol. And ugh, I just can’t deal with the women doing men’s voices!

  30. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    I’m sorry audiobooks don’t really work for you, Kristen!
    I have some that have duet narration – where a man does all the narrating for the male characters – and he also does the male voices in dialogues, and a woman does the narrating or all the female characters, including the female voices in dialogues. I would be happy do lend you one through audible if that’s at all possible – just so you can try that kind of audio.
    Of course you’re allowed to vent! Venting posts are somehow among my favorite posts, because they are just so very passionate 😉 And you’re right – it is your blog. To share whatever you feel like sharing!
    I mostly listen to audiobooks in my car. It makes my commute so much smoother, and I never really mind if I’m blocked in traffic anymore.
    It took me a while to get used to audiobooks, and really enjoy them, though. But now that I have found books that have more than one narrator, or where the narrators are really good at voices, I’m rather happy with them.
    Great post!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I do think dual narration would work better for me, but so far all the ones I’ve tried have just been single, except Nimona which had a full cast. I think every audiobook should just have two narrators. I don’t think it’s possible to lend through audible though, and I already used my freebie :-/

      Listening during commute would be great. If only I thought of audiobooks when I used to do a lot of driving!

  31. Erica

    I have the SAME issues! I’m so picky about the narrators. I’ve found that I have better luck with audio books when I have either already read the book, or I can read the book while listening 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, the narrators can really make or break the book. I can def see the benefits to listening to a book you’ve already read. Listening while reading would kind of defeat the purpose for me though, and I’d rather just read it if I could!

  32. Mallory @ SheisBookish

    Me and audio books don’t really get along either. The only ones I seem to do okay with are autobiographies that are being narrated by the biography person (no idea what they’re really called?) Otherwise I agree that everyone else tries to sound overly dramatic. At least it sounds a little more natural if the person is talking about their own life. I’m also super picky about how I spend my time (aren’t we all?) and know I can read much faster than listen to a book, so it’s got to be something I’m really interested in.

    Oh! And men imitating women’s voices and vice-versa is the biggest reason I can’t get into fiction on audio. First of all, because it’s annoying. Then I also find myself talking out loud to see if I can “one-up-them” and totally lose track of the plot! Great post …. pretty cathartic reading it!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I listened to an autobiography once, narrated by the person. I’m just not a big fan of autobiographies though, and it ended up boring me. But I agree, it sounds more natural that way. I feel like that’s why the Fred, the Vampire series worked so well for me in audio—it’s written like a series of memoirs, and so it sounds like the character is just talking about his life (and the narrator does a great job with it).

      Ahhhhhh I CANNOT with the women doing men’s voices. It sounds so ridiculous, and then somehow it makes the men sound like idiots? Men doing women’s voices… sometimes it’s ok for me. Other times no. Lol about one-upping them. Seriously though, I feel like I really could do a better job than some of these women -_- Ha, thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

  33. Fanna

    Finally someone who clearly pointed out exactly all the things I don’t like about audiobooks! While it’s super efficient and I can do a ton of things while listening to the story, I just can’t enjoy the whole aspect of the story. God, dramatic narrators are a nightmare because they try heightening up every possible situation in the book and that leaves me so disinterested in the climax because its tone sounds exactly the same when the heroine had lost her earring.

    Then there are the neutral speakers who are completely opposite. They make everything sound so dull, I can’t even imagine an action sequence or so much as a petty argument. Speaking of arguments, the dialogues are often so indistinguishable, I have to sometimes rewind to make it clear who’s speaking when, and let’s just not talk about the lack of emotions in the dialogues. Everything sounds the same when the characters are fighting, arguing, loving, or dying.

    Anyway, I’m always in awe of those who love audiobooks and manage to pick up quotes from there and even write all these detailed reviews about them. Lovely post, Kristen! <3

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yay, someone to commiserate with! It IS efficient, but I just can’t deal with how dramatic the narrators make everything! It’s like, instead of saying, “I went to the store for milk yesterday,” in a normal way, they’re like, “I WENT to the sTORe for MILK! yesterday.” It’s just so unnecessary.

      I’d much rather they be dull, tbh. I’m currently listening to a book using the text-to-speech voice, and while it’s not ideal, it’s better than the dramatic audiobooks. I can kind of overlay my own voices and stuff over it. But yeah, in an audiobook, they really ought to include the right inflection and emotion and it’s annoying when they don’t.


  34. Rosie Amber

    Audio has yet to appeal to me for lots of the reasons you mention above. I think getting the right narrator is very important, but I don’t know how much influence the author would have on ‘how’ they’d want it read.
    When I read I get into my own zone and that is all part of the experience, audio, to me, feels like I would be losing that control and that escapism experience I have when it is just me and the book.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I wonder that too, how much influence the author has. Like, when a narrator does accents for example, is it cuz the author asked them too, or did the narrator just decide that?

      I completely agree. I get in my own zone too where I see everything, hear everything, and get immersed in the story, and I hate losing that with audio.

  35. Olivia Roach

    Audiobooks aren’t for me. I like the imagine the voices of the characters and part of that is taken from me when listening. I also have realised that if I am not doing something with my hands I get easily distracted unless I am making eye contact with the person who is talking or I am listening to. So when it comes to lectures/school I am always taking notes or doodling otherwise I stop listening. For reading I need to be turning the page or my mind wanders. So yeah… audiobooks aren’t for me.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Same! I like to really imagine everything when I read, to immerse myself, and that includes voices for each character. So when the narrator talks unnaturally, or when it’s someone doing an opposite gender voice poorly, it takes me out of the story and makes me enjoy it less. Huh, I never thought about how turning the page kind of forces you to stay focused on the book. But yeah, they’re not for me either.

  36. Pingback: Weekly Wrap Up #23 – Book Dragons

  37. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    I do not do well with audiobooks either honestly. I have tried. Many times. Because it sounds great in theory, right? I have only managed to listen to ONE all the way through. And probably because it was a relatively short contemporary. Even then, the voice drove me batty. Like she was enunciating Every. Single. Syllable. It was exhausting. And she was the author, so I don’t think it even gets more accurate. I don’t know if I would bother again, sadly. I just can’t seem to pay attention! Sorry they haven’t been working for you, either.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly, it sounds great in theory, but I just can’t deal with it when I actually try. YES they have to speak so clearly so that people can understand, but then all that enunciation just sounds to unrealistic and unnatural to what they’re saying.

  38. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I’ve only listened to one audiobook. I got it from the library, and it was really hard for me to pay attention to it. I kept getting distracted and losing track of the story. I’ve thought about getting another audiobook to listen to while running, but they’re so expensive. I have to find a cheap one.

    1. Kristen Burns

      They are expensive to buy, which is why I’ve been borrowing from the library, but unfortunately that means I’m stuck with whatever selection they have. So I feel your pain!

  39. Jennrenee

    I love audiobooks. There are times though I get all you are saying. Except the missing detail. I find I get more out of audio. I tend to skip descriptions and the overload of details when reading. So audiobooks help me with that. I do find narrators make all difference. I read a lot of ya and I find those narrators seem to be better than adult book narrators not sure why. Maybe I have grown used to them. The foreign places and names. I struggle with those in Ausio. I tend to lose track and get confused easier than if I was reading the book. I love audio because I can do other things while listening and I can listen in the car and at work. I get through more books. But if the narrator stinks I give up and read the book. I find there are more good than bad but it may not be the same for everyone. I also listen in 1.5 to 2 speed. That to me helps the over dramatic.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Huh, that’s really interesting that you catch more detail when you listen to audio! Just goes to show how different each person is. I’ve tried some adult and some YA, but I had the same issues with all of them, so idk. But yeah, audio is def useful for multitasking and getting more reading done. And oh, yeah, I had to listen to one on 1.5 speed cuz I swear the narrator paused for like 3 whole seconds between every sentence and I couldn’t deal with that lol.

  40. Darque Dreamer

    I have yet to try a full audio book because I am terrified of all of the above! I am afraid the voices will be awful and that I will miss something important by getting distract with something in front of me.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t blame you. I do have a lot of issues with the voices lol. And I do feel like I don’t enjoy books as much usually as I would if I had read them normally.

      1. Darque Dreamer

        I kind of envy people who are able to do other things, like driving and typing, while they are listening to audio books. I can multi-task to a point, but I feel like I would not be soaking the whole book in if I were doing anything other than listening to it, haha.

  41. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I just can’t get on with audiobooks. I get way too easily distracted and I can completely tune stuff I’m listening to out. I do it to people at work sometimes by accident and feel terrible about it. I’m all about seeing rather than hearing so reading works for me but listening does not. I’m a visual learner and turns out it translates to books too. I get it, not everyone enjoys a good audiobook but at least you’re trying. I think a lot of it is down to good narrators. And some have a cast of narrators which can make it easier to enjoy and understand what’s going on. If you find one that works for you let me know and I’ll give it a listen.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol if you tune out in conversations even then yeah, audiobooks are prob not for you. I’ve somewhat given up trying at this point. I mean, it’s better than nothing if you really can’t read for some reason, like my health issues, but it’s still frustrating to me, and I’ve had some print books to read lately. A cast of narrators would be much better, but those are hard to find, at least from the library.

  42. Cee @ Dora Reads

    I have phases of audiobooking (which is now the verb; I have decided.) I’m in the middle of an audiobooking phase atm, b/c my library has a couple of free-borrowing digital audiobooks apps.

    Narrators are… varied. I’m audiobooking Alan Cumming’s book ‘Not My Father’s Son’ right now, and since he narrates it himself, it’s actually really good! 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love making nouns into verbs or when other people do it XD Idk why, but I do. The only one I’ve listened to that was narrated by the author was an autobiography. The narration was ok, but I got bored with the book in general.

  43. Jane

    Ah, I always see posts in favor of Audiobooks, so this was a nice new perspective to read! I don’t do audio books at all because I’m hard of hearing and don’t process the information the same…I still need the text, and even then I can’t always take the volume. It’s why I don’t even really do podcasts. XD

  44. Sam @ Spines in a Line

    I’ve had the same kind of issues where it feels like I remember less when listening to an audiobook, or like I don’t pick up the details. I wonder for what you’re saying about the narrators trying to do voices whether the books that are narrated by a whole cast would help. I haven’t tried those before but there are a couple I’ve heard are really good

  45. Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA

    I totally understand! I am an audiobook convert and havw been listening since 2015 but I have to admit, it took me a year to get into it. When I started reading audiobooks, my mind would start to wander and I would miss things and of course, I HATED the narrators that I listened to, at first. I think the turning poiny came when I listened to Graceling. It is narrated by Full Cast Audio which means there were multiple voices for all the characters. I thought it would be distracting but after a chapter, I got hooked.

    Since it’s been 3 years, I have go-to narrators that I absolutely love. I am also starting to enjoy a few nale narrators reading historical romance (believe me, it was hard).

    My advice would be for you not to give up!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I do think a full cast one would work better, but I feel like those must be rare? At least, none of the books my library/Hoopla has that I’m interested in have a full cast :-/