Why I Rationalize Audio Books As Being Good But Kindles Are Not

I have posted several times on my love of books.  I adore books and I find reading them most acceptable.   I usually draw the line at e-books, and have been quite vocal on not really wanting a Kindle or Nook.  However, I find it perfectly fine to listen to audio books.  What is wrong with me?


I was thinking about this the other day while going through a great spat of audio books.  Maisie Dobbs, The Great Gatsby, The Summer We Read Gatsby, Maisie Dobbs 2: Birds of a Feather, and several more.  I have no issue with audio books. In fact, I really enjoy them, especially when I am out watering the farm for hours, or clearing out a row of weeds.  They are one of the things that can make me go on.  If I don’t have something to distract me, I will literally go insane and not be able to finish.

Cover of "Great Gatsby, The"

Cover of Great Gatsby, The

I love how the narrator can capture certain nuances that I might not have seen in the book.  A whisper, a bit of sarcasm.  I love putting the people to a voice.  I love that I don’t have to hold a book.  Isn’t that terrible?  That I’m saying I don’t want to hold a book?  I would hold a book if I could, but water and books don’t mix well.  I love the fact that I can go through a book I just might not read any time soon, and actually enjoy it.  The Great Gatsby being one in particular.  I have been meaning to read it for years, but I just could not get into it the few times I picked it up.  Now, I am interested in actually reading it and picking up other nuances I don’t get from the audio.


I think audio books are great for kids.  While I do think that reading the actual words is better, at times with learning disabilities like dyslexia, audio books open up new opportunities that might not have been there because the reading aspect is very difficult.  My father has dyslexia and while he has become a better reader over the years, I do know he enjoyed a few audio books, especially on those long drives to work when I was younger.


1966 cover of the revised version of The Secre...

1966 cover of the revised version of The Secret of the Old Clock, the first Nancy Drew mystery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My sister loves to read.  She is the older of us two, but due to having down syndrome, she has stayed a child.  But she loves to read.  I’ve never seen anyone fly through Nancy Drew‘s as fast as she does. (I hated Nancy Drew and still don’t like her) One think she absolutely loves is audio books that are unabridged so that she can read along in the book while listening.  Yes, she has done that with all the Harry Potter books, she owns both the books and the audio cd’s (read by the marvelous Jim  Dale, and if you want to hear him again, listen to The Night Circus) almost all of the Redwall series, and several others.  I’ve even got her interested in listening to the Maisie Dobbs book at some point.


So, you can see I think audio books are quite cook.


And yet I take issue with e-books.  Le sigh.


For those interested, most of the audio books I listen to I download through my library’s connection with Overdrive Media. Overdrive is connected to 22,000 libraries and schools, and you can download e-books and audio books if your library is connected.  Check it out HERE  


I really encourage you to check them out.  Many can be downloaded to mp3 players and some can even be burned to cd.  Great for those long car rides as you travel to your vacation destinations this summer.  You never know  what you might find.  And it definitely makes the time fly.  Just as my mom who was surprised at how much weeding I accomplished the other night in only about an hour.


Signing off




5 thoughts on “Why I Rationalize Audio Books As Being Good But Kindles Are Not

  1. I really love audio books too: I think there’s something wonderful about being able to hear a story and close your eyes, or look up at the clouds, really opening up your imagination without visual stimulus to cloud the mental image. Plus, doing other things WHILE reading (knitting, sewing, playing with a puppy, weeding, etc)?! So cool.
    I don’t want a Kindle for myself, but I gave my dad one last year for Christmas, and he carries it with him like it is his third child: it is lightweight, fits in his pocket, enables him to read at night without making my mom from a reading light, and he is thrilled by the fact that he is carrying HUNDREDS of sci-fi books around with him: he literally never has to stop reading if he doesn’t want to. He never has his cell phone on him, he ignored the MP3 player we got him… but that Kindle… Let’s just put it this way: he picks out what over-shirts to wear based on if the Kindle fits in the breast pocket or not.
    I gotta say, watching him read it in long lines, in the backyard, on BART, in the passenger seat of the car, and while he waits for my mom has really changed my opinion of them.
    Still don’t want one of my own, though.

  2. I agree! Audio books are fantastic four picking up on the way people say things and brings extra flair to the story. In As I Lay Dying each chapter is a different character’s first person perspective and is read by a different person. I’m loving that book!
    As for the Kindle, I have one and I love it but it hasn’t taken any of the magic from the printed copies. I have room in my heart for all story formats.

    • Exactly on the picking up the way people say things. Oh, I can imagine that book is really fun to listen to. I will have to look into it. I love the audio books that have like a full cast, or a narrator that can really change their voice so it sounds like there is a whole cast.

      I still wonder if I will ever go Kindle, but then I delight so much in the real books, it’s hard to imagine I would.

      So sorry for taking so long to reply to your wonderful comment.

  3. If it weren’t for audiobooks, my husband would never “read.” I’m grateful for a medium that allows him to enjoy a good book while he’s at work. 🙂

    p.s. I’m in the midst of reading the Maisie Dobbs series right now and I just love it! 🙂

    • I am really behind in replying to comments, but I wanted to thank you so much for yours. You are not the first person to tell me that their husband ‘reads’ by doing the audio format. When I worked in the library, many of my women patrons would come in to get audio books for their husbands. Especially for the long commutes.

      (p.s. back at you, I’m going to head towards the 3rd Maisie Dobbs, and I quite adore her. I plan on writing a little post on my fascination with her. Book 2 was a blast!)

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