The narrator started the story.
The music kept playing.
I still held out hopes that it would fade away, but although it did get quieter, two minutes into the story, there was still background music.
I returned the audiobook to my library and drove home alternating between NPR and alternative rock on the radio. Now I'm set up to start listening to Secondhand Time, a nonfiction oral history about the end of the Soviet era. I suspect there will be no cutesy background music.
I've had some great success with audiobooks since I started listening to them during my commute two years ago. At first I piggybacked onto my husband's mostly unused Audible account, but at this point, our library has such a great set-up going through Overdrive that we don't need to pay to listen to books anymore. Audio was a new format for me, but I've been at it long enough now to have some
Obviously, do not play music in the background while you read me the story. I'm in the car, dammit, I don't need any MORE distractions from the book. It's just annoying and unhelpful and--No. Don't. Stop.
While they hire voice actors to read, I occasionally get a reader who sounds an awful lot like a computer instead. I noticed it a lot in a book I tried to listen to recently, in which the author seemed to avoid all contractions. I wouldn't have noticed if I were reading it myself (probably), but with this stiff voice, all the "She did not" and "They are late" constructions started sounding weirder and weirder. Get expressive readers, please. Trevor Noah narrating his own book is the gold standard, but there are tons of other good readers out there.
I find 1.25 speed to be ideal. Regular speed makes me want to claw my eyeballs out, because it takes so long to get anywhere with the story. However, any faster and it sounds like the Chipmunks are narrating, which is just as bad.
Oddly, I find that audiobooks works best for fairly dense nonfiction and for super light fiction. I think the nonfiction audio gives me more time to think and absorb information than my usual reading rate does, but a few times when I've tried listening to fiction, I've gotten lost and frustrated by not being able to flip back quickly to check a detail that would clarify things. On the other hand, I recently listened to a YA rom/com and it was smooth sailing all the way.
When I read a book, I like to read it all in one go, or as close to that as possible, I like closure on my stories, and I want the cohesive narrative that comes from not pausing so long that I forget what happened. (This is also why I prefer to start series after all the books are out.) But with an audiobook, I can handle longer breaks as well as a more drawn-out reading process.
Listening while you drive creates a phenomenon in which I now associate certain points in my commute with certain events in my books. This field is where I was when the shooting actually started in Columbine. That exit is where I was when the asshole noble finally got his comeuppance in Pillars of the Earth.
Unlike many others, I don't listen to audiobooks while doing chores. My family is too likely to interrupt me, which is super frustrating because I have to get my phone on and hit "pause" so I can listen to them without losing the storyline, at which point they've gotten the hint and end up saying, "Oh, sorry, never mind." There may be households in which this is not an issue. Mine is not one of them.
|I am not this adorably delighted to be interrupted when listening to my Sony Walkman.|
However, as I mentioned, I listen while commuting, and that is a dream. Mornings I never mind my drive, but by evening I'm tired, traffic is worse, and I just want to get home. Radio in the afternoon makes me headachy and cranky. But listening to a book is a treat, and works almost as well as teleportation to get me home without stress.
What about you? Do you listen to audiobooks? What are your preferences around them? Tell us!