5 Tips for Listening to Audio Books

By Assistant Editor Erica


Thanks to my parents using audio books as entertainment during our family’s long summer road trips, I learned to truly love “books on tape.” And now, thanks to technology, getting audio books is only as strenuous as picking up my phone! I simply open my Overdrive app, login into my library’s website, download a book (for free!), and then get lost in literary land.

If you are new to audio books, here are five tips to enjoying them…

1. Listen to the book when doing something else – I listen to my audio books while I’m road-tripping, cleaning, commuting, cooking, running, walking, and doing basically anything but reading a book with my eyeballs. It’s amazing how clean my house can be when I’m listening to a good book.

2. Listen to the book on double-time – I’m dead serious about this. If you listen to a book at 1x speed, you will be bored out of your mind. But if 2x speed sounds too much like chipmunks, don’t worry. Overdrive allows you to listen at 1.5x or 1.25x speed. The absolutely only time I’ve listened to 1x speed was when listening to Aziz Ansari narrate his book, Modern Romance. If you’ve ever heard him talk, you know why.

3. Listen to a book you already know – When I started listening to audio books regularly as an adult, I initially only listened to books I had already read and loved (Harry Potter!). That way, if I missed some of the narrative, I already knew what was happening.

4. Listen to a book that you can’t seem to read – I learned that while I struggled to read nonfiction, even things I’m really interested in, I can listen to it with ease. I’ve become hooked on nonfiction in a way that I never thought was possible, but only if it’s the audio version!

5. Listen to the right narrator – The narrator can make or break an audio book, and I have stopped one I loved because I just couldn’t handle the narrator’s voice. Choosing a book read by the author usually yields good results as does ones read by famous actors.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few of my favorite audio books:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? written and read by Mindy Kaling

Unbroken written by Lauren Hillenbrand and read by Edward Hermann

As You Wish written and read by Cary Elwes (with parts from most of the Princess Bride cast)

The Wednesday Wars written by Gary D. Schmit (great one for families to listen to together)

Dad is Fat written and read by Jim Gaffigan

The Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling and read by Jim Dale

(image via Tim Roth)

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Love this post! I use Overdrive too but always wonder what’s available on it and what to listen to – thanks for the recs!

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