[Thinking About] Audiobooks & Burning Out

At the beginning of this year, I had a goal to catch up on my owned TBR books. Over the years I have gone CRAZY when it comes to buying books and I think a lot of that came from when I started really blogging back in 2011 and I thought I had to buy a LOT of books to be a book blogger. I’ve gotten better over the past few years, but I still have to get it in my head to buy LESS books and actually read what I have.

How I’ve been accomplishing a lot of my TBR reading this year has been through audiobooks from the library, since Overdrive has a GREAT selection of them.

However … I am starting to feel burned out on the audiobook listening.

Don’t get me wrong, audiobooks are FANTASTIC. I love that I can multitask while listening and actually “read” a book when I can’t physically read a book.

(As a sidenote, my husband is constantly debating with me about whether or not listening to an audiobook is actually reading. He says it’s cheating. I say he’s wrong.)

But now, as we’re in the fourth month of the year, I am feeling like I want to slow down with my reading and try to read maybe 1 to 2 books at a time, instead of the nearly 4 at a time I’ve been doing with incorporating audiobooks into my reading.

Now, I do retain what I’m reading but listening to audiobooks at 2x the speed means I’m flying through them and finishing a book in a day or two and then moving on to the next one. I mean, nothing wrong with that, but lately I’ve been reading my physical books slower and taking days to finish them. I loved that I took 8 whole days to read Brent Weeks’ book The Black Prism. I didn’t have issues diving back in day after day and I loved the story more for going slowly at it.

Personally, I feel like audiobook listening, while great, is taking away from me really appreciating a story. Some of that has to do with flying through them so quickly, sometimes it’s to do with the narrator, who can really make or break a story (The Wrath and the Dawn is one that I’m going to try again by actually reading the physical copy – I just couldn’t get into the audiobook and actually removed the book from my TBR because of that).

As I write this post, I’m currently reading Vicious by V. E. Schwab and loving it – and I’ve been reading it since Friday. I’ve been on such a kick about getting my TBR down that I’ve read OVER 100 books so far this year and normally I’d be itching to just finish the book since it’s been 4 days now of reading, but I now don’t really mind that it’s taking time. I mean, it’s not a long book, just 364 pages, but taking my time means that I take in the details more than I would with the audiobook, and I actually look forward to reading more of it. Plus, I love looking at the cover of it when I pick it up AND feeling it in my hands as I read. You don’t get that with the audiobook!

Obviously I’m not giving up audiobooks, but out of the 104 books I’ve read, 49 of them have been audiobooks … in 3.5 months. That’s a LOT of audiobooks! Listening to nearly 3-4 of them a week is definitely exhausting and my plan is to just slow down. Listen to music, watch a TV show, or just have silence. Audiobook listening whenever I have the time means that there’s not a lot of quiet since I’m always doing something.

So, after this post, and 49 audiobooks, I plan to still listen, but I’m going to only listen to certain books and certain authors (like books where I’m already enjoying the audiobooks for the series, or non-fiction books), and I’m going to only listen when I’m driving, or doing housework, and NOT as a means to just fill quiet. Personally, I love quiet. I love listening to my kids, to the wind outside, to the birds, to the hum of the fridge, or just to the quiet in my head. There’s really nothing wrong with quiet!

And when I think about it, the memories I have of reading certain books, like reading The Old Man and the Sea when my mother in law was in the hospital, or Omens when I was going into labour with my son, or Leave Me while on vacation in the mountains, all of those times I can physically remember reading a book was when I was taking my time and not overdoing it with reading too much at once. These are books I savoured and didn’t rush through just to get my reading list down.

And in the end, you know what I think this stems from? All of the books I want to read! Can you believe how many books there are in this world? I see recommendations daily and my list of what I want to read grows daily and I am constantly feeling like I need to read things quickly to get to the next book, rather than savour what I am reading and stop to think about what I read after.

Have you ever felt burned out by listening to audiobooks? When do you find the time to listen and how do you keep from getting tired of audiobooks? Are there certain stories or authors you prefer to read in physical book form? Or authors you prefer to read via audiobook? And is my husband right? Is listening to audiobooks “cheating?”

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2 thoughts on “[Thinking About] Audiobooks & Burning Out

  1. That is A LOT of audibooks, Kristilyn! Wow. First off, well done. You’ve accomplished my yearly reading goal already. Secondly, I totally agree with you on the wonderful value of audiobooks – I love listening while I do housework or drive. But, I can also totally see where you are feeling overwhelmed. I usually listen to audiobooks at regular speed. I don’t like speeding them up. I also learned, the hard way, that reading goals can be dangerous and trying to read too much too fast is exhausting and defeats the purpose of reading – to enjoy the stories. I hope that you’re able to slow down and enjoy your reading soon.

    • I find regular speed is sooooooo slow now. I listen at 2x, sometimes 1.5x if the narrator is already a fast talker. I find I’ve gotten used to 2x the speed and it’s pretty normal now for me. BUT it depends on the book. Sometimes I’ll then listen to a book and realize it’s just too detailed or jumps around too much that I can’t listen to it on audiobook. I am definitely slowing down, though … only listened to two this week!

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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