[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?”

[Audiobook Talk] A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) by V. E. Schwab

Audiobook Details

Format: Hardcover & Audiobook
Source: Purchased & Library
Narrator: Michael Kramer & Kate Reading
Length: 16 hours 9 minutes
Read: March 2017

Shades of Magic series

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic
  2. A Gathering of Shadows
  3. A Conjuring of Light

Synopsis:

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

My Thoughts

I was a little worried going into the second book of this series. I remembered lots from the first book and loved the first book, but then I read another V. E. Schwab book and wasn’t so sure about it. I had started reading this one a few months ago, got about 50 pages in and then put it down for a while – not because I didn’t like it, but because I just veered towards other books. I had remembered the library had the audiobook, so I got that and listened and it was great!

It’s funny because I don’t think a lot really happens in this book. It pretty much revolves around the competition and there’s not a lot of the London jumping that we got in the first book. However, I loved seeing all of my favourite characters again, Lila especially, and my dear, dear Kell. It was actually a lot of fun to listen to this one rather than read it because the narration was so good and the story was just so compelling that I had to keep listening. Even though there wasn’t a lot to the plot, it was just straight up enjoyable. And the (cliffhanger) ending? I can’t wait for the next book!

This series is a lot of fun and I’m happy to have bought copies of the books for my shelves – they’re gorgeous and so shelf worthy.

Audiobook Notes: 

I loved the audio for this book! I read the first one in physical format and had started this one in the hardcover, but for some reason I kept putting it down, so I got the audiobook to continue on. Apparently there were other narrators for the first book, so I can’t really compare the two, but these narrators were good. They weren’t the best, a little old for the story (especially Lila, who’s pretty young) but it worked for what I needed it to. It was a little weird listening to a book that takes place in four different Londons, and yet the characters had American accents. I will most definitely read the last book in physical format.

[Top Ten Tuesday] Top Ten Things That Will INSTANTLY Make Me Want To Read A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and runs every Tuesday — obviously. 

I am quite easy to please when it comes to reading or buying books. Basically, I am a pro at buying books — even when I don’t actually NEED any books. And, really, with nearly 150 books on my personal owned TBR, I really don’t need any new books, but sometimes there’s just that one thing that sells me on a book! Here are some of those things.

1. A book by one of my favourite authors. 

If an author is on my auto-buy list, you can bet that I’ll be reading their next book! I don’t even care what it’s about, I’m buying it, I’m reading it, and most likely I’m loving it. Authors on this list include Sarah J Maas, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Sarah Dessen, Kelley Armstrong, Sophie Kinsella, and Tessa Dare.

2. A book that includes some kind of parallel universe. 

Any book that show “what would happen if this happened and what would happen if this other thing happened” is an auto read for me. I just love those stories that deal with “what if” … what if that character took that other road instead of the one they’re on?

3. A book that is raved about by practically everyone. 

I am a sucker for a hyped up book. I remember not even wanting to read A Court of Thorns and Roses until I saw how excited everyone in the book community was. People were ridiculously excited about this book and so I bought the ebook version on the day it came out and DEVOURED it. I then bought the hardcover AND the audiobook because that’s just how I roll. If a book is talked about enough, chances are I’ll want to check it out.

4. An underrated book raved about by my favourite book bloggers or vloggers. 

If I have the same reading taste as someone else, if they start gushing about a book that not a lot of people have loved, chances are I’ll have to check it out. This is currently happening with Regan’s vlog, Peruse Project. I LOVE her recommendations and if she talks about a book that’s underrated, I need to read it!

5. If it’s a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. 

I freaking love Pride and Prejudice and adore retellings of the story. I will read anything about any version of Darcy you have!

6. If the cover is unique and gorgeous. 

I am a sucker for gorgeous covers, so if a book is absolutely beautiful, I want to try it out to see if the story is just as beautiful.

7. If there are highlanders.

Seriously, if a book in any genre features Scottish highlanders, I’ll read it. Props if it contains romance or time travel, or both.

8. If there is romance! 

I love people falling in love and no matter what the genre, I will instantly be drawn to a book if it contains characters having a believable romance. No insta love please! I kind of love that slow burn of a romance that has me on the edge of my seat!

9. If it’s compared to my favourite books. 

If there is a book that’s said to be for lovers of this author, or say “fans of xx will LOVE this book” I will want to check it out.

10. If there is a TV show or movie coming out based on the book! 

I am definitely one of those people who prefers to read the book before seeing a show or movie. This is probably why, now at mid-April, I’m realizing that I need to read The White Princess and American Gods, and even reread The Handmaid’s Tale, because the TV shows are out or out soon. I love watching it played on the screen and thinking about the similarities to or differences from the book.

What will instantly make you want to read a book?