March is National Reading Month. Along with that comes a campaign from schools to motivate and excite children into reading every day. The benefits and fun aren’t limited to children though, it applies to any age! Maybe you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to read more this year, but like a lot of parents, you haven’t been able to find the time. Let me introduce you to a little secret: audiobooks.
I know what you may be thinking, I have seen the looks on fellow mamas’ faces when I suggest audiobooks. For a long time, I said I “wasn’t an audiobook person.” Like many people, I prefer the feel of a physical book in my hands. I enjoy the smell of an old book, the feeling of turning the page, and feeling how far along you are in the book. But then my son was born and he was the type of baby who was (and is) committed to finding any danger in any room at any time, so I was never able to take my eyes off of him long enough to pick up a book. And then nap time would roll around and I would be thinking of my endless to do list instead of whatever book I was reading at the time.
I had a free credit to an audiobook subscription service so I gave it a shot. Y’all, my reading life changed that day. I am now a fully committed “audiobook person.” Read on to see my top tips for getting into it.
Pick something you’re excited to read.
A good thriller, or any fast-paced page-turner will keep you interested while you adjust to comprehending by listening only.
My recent favs include:
- The Guest List by Lucy Foley
- The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Yearbook by Seth Rogen
If thrillers aren’t your thing, look for a celebrity memoir by someone you admire or who you find funny. They generally narrate their own audiobooks and it adds something to the experience to hear it in their voice.
The narrator matters.
Voice acting makes such a difference with the experience of listening to audiobooks. The accents and dialects come to life with the narrator. If the book is told from different points of view, the change in voice can help keep everyone straight. I can’t get past the first few chapters if I don’t like the narrator.
Last year, I listened to The Dutch House which was narrated by Tom Hanks, and let me tell you, it was just so soothing to hear him tell the tale. I’m not sure I would have liked it as much just reading the book. I find myself looking for what other projects my favorites have worked on. Julia Whelan, Jim Dale, and Neil Gaiman are at the top of my list.
Utilize the library.
I use the Libby app which links to my library card so when I “check out” an audiobook through the app I only have two weeks to finish. This helps motivate me to finish in time and it’s FREE! Buying books can add up quickly. There’s often a waitlist for popular books so I usually end up with so many books in my queue that I almost never find myself lacking something to read. When I hear a good recommendation, I go straight to the app and add it to my list.
Play with the speed.
I generally increase the playback speed depending on the book. Too slow and it drags, too fast and you might miss things. I usually keep mine at 1.25x. I like that most apps can tell you how long you have left in a chapter or in the book.
There is magic in multitasking.
The reason I started with audiobooks in the first place was the need to multitask. For me, there are specific tasks I can do while listening to a book. Otherwise I can’t pay attention and end up having to go back. I usually listen while folding laundry, going on a walk with my dog or kids, or while my kids are watching a favorite movie for the 100th time. I have realized I cannot listen while cooking – it takes too much mental energy for me plus the kids are usually coming in and out of the room. I no longer have a long commute, but used to alternate between podcasts and audiobooks to make use of the time. It feels like someone is keeping you company through tedious tasks.
I love reading and I’m so glad I found a way to keep it in my routine. I know some of you may be skeptical, but keep these tips in mind and give it a try. It just might surprise you to find out you are, in fact, an “audiobook person.”
Another motivator for reading is to join a book club. Check out our very own Detroit Mom Book Club on Facebook and Instagram!