My Literary Sins: Audiobooks


I have been playing around with the idea of starting a series on the blog. This started out as a bit of a joke between my sister and I. We make an event of spending time together once a week and that time is most often spent at the library. We like to commiserate on the (insert eye roll here) woes of that bibliophile life. Sometimes these lighthearted talks are nothing more than jest, but we have had our share of “me too!” moments as well.

I give you: My Literary Sins. All lovers of books have them. We do come in all kinds of varieties, with different values and systems that rule us all.

This year has been the year of the audiobook for me. This takes me by surprise because I used to have weird rules about audiobooks. I was against them for the most part and considered it to be lazy reading or for people with no attention span or imagination. Maybe my aversion for audiobooks started long ago. When I was in Kindergarten, every Monday in music class my teacher, Mrs. Hickey (you don’t forget a name like that) would have all of the students either lay down on the floor or across 3 chairs and close our eyes and listen to an audio cassette recording. The one that stands out the most to me was the famous ghost story of The Golden Arm. If this was their attempt at nap time for 5 year olds, these people had to be sadists. Every Monday was a terror. And the chairs were awful.

As I got older and my various English teachers would have us read along with a tape providing narration on the books for our class, I would just get annoyed at the narrators. I learned to tune them out and just read ahead on my own, which would then result in chastisement from my teachers.

Tisk. Tisk. Naughty. Naughty.
No reader left behind.

As adults we tend to rather enjoy creating our own systems rather realized or not in which we navigate and manipulate our world. As such, I did the same for the prospect of audiobooks. I came around in the sense that I no longer utterly disdained audiobooks, but felt that I needed to maintain some integrity. A girl has got to have standards! So I reasoned that I would be okay with listening to audiobooks, provided that the book in question was one that I have already read on my own in the purity of my own mind. In some bizarre sense I felt that my imagination would be corrupted if I listened to an audio version before reading a book on my own.

My imagination is not maimed by the fact that other people have put their imagination to work in the art form of spoken word.

The change in my rigid thinking began in 2015 when I heard the brillant audio that accompanied Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is DeadAlthough I had read the book before listening to the audio, this was totally different. It was more than just listening to a book. It became an experience. Listening to this audiobook brought me back to my senior year of high school when I decided to try Oral Interpretation instead of a 4th year of Theater.

I started to see audiobooks through the same lens that I would view an Oral Interp performance. Every audiobook is just another interpretation of a written work. My imagination is not maimed by the fact that other people have put their imagination to work in the art form of spoken word. These days, I tend to seek out audiobooks from certain sources because of the fact that I do value their interpretation. This is especially true of authors who narrate their own works with great skill.

You guys. At the time of this writing, 22 out of 49 books I have read so far this year have been audiobooks. I think it’s safe to say that I have progressed on my narrow ways of thinking. I have gone from abhorring them → to being okay with them → to loving them. I used to feel so guilty about not being able to get more reading done because of my ever growing to-do list, but now that I have embraced audiobooks, I can have it all! And so can you!

♥ MM


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