Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Trouble With Audio Books

Obviously there are a lot of advantages to audio books; one of the biggest being that you can listen to them while doing something else like driving or cooking or exercising or sewing. Well, maybe you can. I can't. Believe me, I have tried. But when it comes to audio books, my ability to multitask seems to vanish into thin air. The tiniest distraction and I completely forget about the book and start thinking about something else. It becomes background noise, like when the TV is on without anyone watching. When I realise this, several pages or even chapters have passed, and I have to rewind and try to find the place I zoned out. I can manage for a while if I sit completely still and focus on listening, but then another problem arises: I fall asleep. It doesn't matter how interesting or exciting the book is; if I listen to it for more than a few minutes, I start getting sleepy. And if I don't actually fall asleep, my mind starts to wander and we're back to problem number one again. It just doesn't work for me.

I have come to the conclusion that my attention span is simply too short for audio books. However, I must have a very selective attention span, because I normally never have this problem when reading "real" books. (Okay, sometimes I fall asleep with a book in my hands, but that is usually because I stayed up too late the night before.) There are several occasions when an audio book would have been great, like when I am stitching or scrapbooking, but no. I just can't seem to pay attention. I feel like I am missing out, because no doubt there are great adaptions out there. For instance, I love listening to Neil Gaiman reading his own works, but not even he can hold my attention for any length of time (sad, I know).

What do you think? Am I just not trying hard enough? Does your mind wander while listening to audio books?

3 comments:

The Book Gatherer said...

You're not alone! I have the exact same problem. I completely zone out - and more often than not fall asleep listening to audio books, so I've long since given up on them. Plus - nothing beats holding a book in your hands!

Hilde said...

Good to know I'm not the only one! I guess audio books just aren't for us. And you're right: there's something special about snuggling up with a book in your lap.

mervih said...

I listen to a lot of audiobooks and I usually do something else while listening, such as click on the mindless Facebook games or shopping.

However, I can't concentrate all of the time fully on the reading, so sometimes I have to rewind and relisten parts of it. The reader can also make a huge difference.

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