Today I want to ask you a question, do you listen to audio books?
It's one of my favourite past times, firstly because I love people reading aloud to me. It takes me back to my childhood, especially summer holidays where I would get through countless books, ones I had read myself and ones read to me by my parents. I have very clear memories of my mum reading The Silver Sword by Ian Serriallier to me. I was completely blown away by this story, it was like nothing else I had ever heard and just seeing it on a shelf now takes me back to my childhood.
Mum would also re-tell true ghost stories, well I guess they are only true if you believe in ghosts, which I did and do. My best friend and I would hang on her every word and mum was very patient as we wanted to know all the little details and would implore her to tell them time and time again. I was big fan of the Secret Seven and Famous Five and loved to read them myself but there was something magical about mum reading them to me.
Dad would sometimes read me a bedtime story, two of which I remember very clearly, one about children solving a crime and another about a pirate island and ghosts, the titles of which have long since left my memory but a taste for ghosts, crime novels and the macabre has stayed with me.
I first started listening to audio books as a child, long car journeys to holiday destinations were passed with a storybook tape, a firm favourite with everyone was Milly-Molly-Mandy! Actually that isn't quite true, as dad suffered it so many times he knew all the stories off by heart and would often try to tell a different version. A gift one year was a portable cassette player and I was just over the moon, and so was dad as he could now listen to 60s music and not the twentieth re-telling of "Milly-Molly-Mandy and Little Friend Susan Keep House". Not a very policitally correct story nowadays but perhaps that's a discuss for another post. My tapes were played until they wore out, not to mention the batteries it would eat through.
Another reason I enjoy audio books is it's easy to do something else at the same time such as; housework, cooking, traveling, walking the dog, stitching, knitting, crafting, colouring - there is a long list of possibilities. My butterfly nature is so happy when it can listen to a story whilst working my way through a pile of ironing or other chore. Instead of diligently ironing creases out of yet another shirt, I can be enjoying the company of a tall, dark & handsome stranger, solving the murder of a wealthy landowner, or traveling back in time. Listening to a story is just as good as reading it yourself, and just as absorbing.
Most of my audio books are borrowed from the library, bought second hand from ebay or bootsales or in shop sales. If I buy them I usually pass them on to mum to listen to and sometimes my sister and grandmother also listen and then we give them to the MacMillan Ward at my local hospital. I think story telling can offer great comfort, sometimes it's easier to lose yourself whilst listening to someone's voice whereas if you feel down or unwell it can sometimes be difficult to concentrate on reading, often repeating the same line as your mind is distracted. Audio books are also a great resource for those suffering with sight problems. I truly believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the art of a good story.
For the last three years I have joined in with the Audio Book Challenge on Goodreads. It's a fun social group that have a passion for audio books and enjoy challenging themselves both individually and as group. It's a great place to get recommendations too.
Audio books and "real" books both stimulate the imagination and add to our vocabulary. So, do you listen to audio books? When is your favourite time to listen? What else might you do when you're listening? Do you have a favourite audio book reader/narrator? Or is there a particular author whose books you enjoying listening to instead of/or as well as reading? If you don't listen, do you think might be converted to give it a try? Do let me know in the comments below.
Bookworm blessings. x
All images are in the public domain.