I’m an audiobook addict. I love listening while I’m working around the house, walking the dog, running, doing cross-stitch. I hate to admit that sometimes I get annoyed when my family wants me to actually listen and respond to what they’re saying rather than just leaving me in whatever audiobook world I’m in. The only place I don’t listen to them is in my car and only because it doesn’t have one of those little jacks to plug my player into, unlike my husband’s car.

Right now I’m listening to Inferno by Dan Brown. I enjoy the Langdon series for what it is. They’re fun, action-packed with a bit of a religious/historical bent, and I like how they tend to take us on tours of Washington or Florence or whatever city they’re set in. I’m not expecting fabulous writing, I want a quick-moving plot, a “follow the clues” hunt.

Inferno fits my expectations, but this is the first in the series I’ve listened to rather than read in print. I though it would be a good choice, but apparently I’m wrong. When I listen I hear every word, every repetition, the bits of stilted dialogue, things I don’t notice when I read. I tend to not read every word. I don’t think I necessarily skim, but how many times do I need to be told Robert has an eidetic memory, even if it is important, or reminded that he’s claustrophobic, or that another one of the characters is infertile. I wouldn’t notice if I were reading it in print, I’d just gloss over it and it wouldn’t annoy me. On audio, however, that’s not the case.

Usually I enjoy mysteries and light romances on audio. They tend to not need my full attention, but are enjoyable and a good way to pass the time. I feel like maybe Inferno is just too long a book for the scavenger hunt it boils down to, maybe it’s the padding that’s making me cringe a little.

I saw a complaint somewhere that all the flashbacks might make it better in print than audio. I don’t find that the case. Flashbacks, as long as they’re done reasonably, don’t bother me on audio, even if they’re spliced in the middle of the action. For me that’s not an issue in audio, neither is the change of viewpoints.

I think this is just an off one. I haven’t run into too many books that don’t work for me on audio. I actually enjoy the experience of being read to.  Apparently I just get annoyed by repetition. Maybe the fact that I don’t read every single word saves me from some poor writing. I notice when I really enjoy a writing style, but rarely do I notice when an author’s writing is poor. I get caught up in the story and am not worried by minor details.

Of course, with listening I can’t mark anything, good or bad, and I’m horrible at taking notes at the time -it’s really tough when you’re on your knees in the garden and your hands are covered with dirt. So if I find a quote I really connected with or that I thought really captured the story, it’s gone. I can’t go back and reference previous events or people.

The real question is, do I prefer audio to print, which includes ebooks for me in this context. I don’t know. I think lately I tend to get more caught up in the audios. I can’t wait to put my headphones on. But maybe that has more to do with the list of other things I want to get done than the actual book format. It’s easier to justify listening to a book while doing the laundry than listening to a book instead of doing the laundry  – and I get clean clothes.

Maybe with autumn’s arrival, I’ll have more time to curl up under the afghan with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book (or my kindle). And stop rambling so much. 🙂


  • About half of my reading is audio now and I’ve had similar experiences. I guess one could say I’m addicted. Listening while working in the garden is how I originally started with audio. Listening in the car didn’t work at first but now I can do it easily and not make wrong turns or crash.

    Most audiobooks work for me and, because I enjoy them so much, I have a wide tolerance range. Occasionally bad writing or, worse, bad narration will cause frustration. I agree about the drawback of not being able to take notes and also knowing the spelling of names – for that I use Amazon’s “look inside” or sometimes I grab a library copy for reference.

    • I haven’t really run in to any bad narrators – yet. I usually find the spelling of major characters/places on GoodReads, but if it’s not there, I don’t usually bother looking any further.

  • I’ve started listening to audio books more this year than previous years, and like you, I listen while doing housework or cooking, but mainly while I walk on the treadmill. I’m picky when it comes to narrators though, I’ve stopped listening to a few because the narrator got on my nerves. I just got The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry at the library yesterday and plan to start it on Monday.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever like audio books or e-books more than print, but they are handy when your hands aren’t free.

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