Audiobook, Book Reviews

My First Audiobooks

I’ve been wanting to do a post about audiobooks since I first tried them earlier this year. I was pleasantly surprised by my first forays into this digital world…

My little brother loved Lord of the Rings growing up and so my mother bought him the cassette tapes (pre-audiobook) where each voice was acted by a different voice actor. He ran those tapes until they were just threads. My family saw them as an aberration at the time but we weren’t surprised later when the digital way made audiobooks more accessible.

In spite knowing and applauding the idea of books on tape for a long time it was only this year that I decided to venture into trying an audiobook. In fact I tried three different ones that really clarified what an audiobook is all about. I’m in a book club with my mother and some of her friends; at first it was really fun and we read a wide range of books and I read some that I normally wouldn’t have but enjoyed. Over the last year or so the books have not been as good so this year I decided to make it fun by making it audio!

My Thoughts on Audibook

Crocodile on the Sandbank
(Amelia Peabody #1)
by Elizabeth Peters,
Susan O’Malley (Narrator)

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I read this a long time ago, this author is a favorite of my mother’s and I fell in love with Amelia too. When our book club decided to read the book again in 2017 we decided to listen to the audio book. This was my first audio book and I loved it! The voice actor (Susan O’Malley) did an excellent job with the narration and especially all the other voices. While you can tell the same person is doing all the parts it’s fun when you can still differentiate the different character’s parts due to the voice. Totally enjoyed, followed and kept my interest… Listening to the book’s narrative and dialogue instead of reading it made the book a lot more dynamic to me. The beginning which always read slow and slog-ish, was filled with personality due to Amelia having a voice. For my first audio book I could not have picked a better choice! There are 8 parts at a hour to 1:15 each and that was a good length to listen to and not feel the book was dragging.

by Daphne du Maurier,
Anna Massey (Narrator)

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I read this a while ago so when my book club decided to read it again I decided to go the audio book route. It was only the second audio book I’d ever listened to and while I wasn’t a fan of the narrator, she was very good at the alternate voices. The voice used for Mrs. de Winter just didn’t seem to be realistic to me. Brits have several different accents and the one used was very aristocratic while the girl was as plain and un-aristocratic as could be. It was very distracting, but I did get used to it by the end. The audio book was so terribly long! We listened to it on 1.25x speed just because there were these odd lulls at times that drove me crazy. I’d have even gone up to 1.5x but then there were some times when the narrator spoke extremely fast and 1.5x was too fast to be understood. It was quite impressive though to get Mrs. de Winter’s thoughts in a female voice, it truly added so much to the story. There were 15 parts between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours each. I think they cut them that way because they wanted you to be able to stop at a cliffhanger.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
(Flavia de Luce #7)
by Alan Bradley,
Jayne Entwistle (Narrator)

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I made it through several chapters of this audiobook and it quite killed any desire I had to even read this book. The main trouble was that the voice actor could not be more off on her rendition of Flavia de Luce, a young girl from an old world aristocratic family. Instead of using a child actor it was an adult which I expected… then she had this guttersnipe accent that is no where near what her upper class British accent should have been! It was worse than with Rebecca because it made Flavia sound like a member of the cast for Oliver Twist when he’s out on the street. I’m not making fun of the accent so much as pointing out that it is NOT how Flavia de Luce would sound. The thing is the voice actor was quite superb with the other English characters so it’s not that she didn’t have mad skills! I eventually gave up and am now at 8% in the book.


What I concluded from my first experience with audiobooks is that hearing the words audibly can totally change how you experience the story. With Rebecca it shone a light on how Mrs. De Winter truly was, with Crocodile on the Sandbank it improved the experience or it can totally ruin it like with As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. The best you can do is try the audiobook version and continue if the voice suits your taste.

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24 thoughts on “My First Audiobooks”

  1. I find that audiobooks really help in completing books soooooooooooo much faster than reading books, but I just can’t help but see them as movies without visuals or books without words. Audiobooks just seem to lack that thing that makes me feel that it’s totally worth it you know? I definitely prefer books and being able to see the author’s writing style, but I guess the biggest appeal of audiobooks is in the person who narrates huh? I have yet to embrace ebooks too. Might have to wait till I am fully into ebooks before audiobooks now hahah 😀 Great post though!!

    1. I agree that skepticism reins on audiobooks. They fit a specific lifestyle where you have time that you’re doing mindless tasks. They take so long to listen to though… I have totally embraced ebooks because I like reading 3 or 4 books at once and carrying them with me at all times. I miss being able to mark things, quotes and details but I like ARCs because then I can just pull it and store in goodreads. Not that I don’t miss real books… *sigh* Thanks Lashaan for sharing! (I love getting others POV 👍🏻)

  2. I have started listening to audiobooks more now that I have a longer commute and I love them. But, there are times when I just know one won’t work. Sometimes, the narrator makes or breaks the audio for me! The one I am currently listening to is 25 hours long!! Totally worth it though!

    1. WOW! 25 hours… the 9 hours of Rebecca I thought would kill me, lol! If I had a long commute though I would definitely do audiobooks and get back some of my reading time. I agree about the narrator – that’s what happened with Flavia’s audiobook…

      What book is that you’re listening to for 25 hours??

  3. I’m horrible at audiobboks I’ve been trying to listen to them while I do other hobbies like puzzles but most of the time I feel like I can read books quicker. #getsocial17

    1. You can read books faster! I’ve found audiobooks are for a niche market of people who spend at least an hour a day walking a dog or exercising and want to use that time. An audiobook is a good way to do two essential things at once. If you don’t commute to work or otherwise have a largish period of time that you want to maximize I don’t find audiobooks helpful. If there was a cast with totally different voices for each character that might be different 😁🌈❤️

      1. I listened to the Lord of the rings a BBC adaption that had different actor for each character! That was really good. I find even at 2 x speed I can read faster than that. I’m working on a 2,000 piece puzzle right now so I’m listening to the audiobook of Peter pan.

  4. I’ve never been able to ‘do’ audiobooks. The only way I can follow the story is if I sit there not doing anything else and just listen and if I’m going to do that why would I not just read them for myself?
    I’ve heard so many mum’s comment that they listen to books while doing ironing and I think that maybe that could work for me as I could stick the headphones in, focus on the story and mindlessly complete the task but anything else and I think I’d be lost… Maybe I’ll try this and revisit them at some point.

    1. That is a problem for me too, which is why when the narrator is annoying I just can’t continue. If you wanted to exercise like walk the dog, that’s another good time to listen, but it is much shorter to just read yourself. Thanks for sharing ❤️🌈🌟

  5. Big fan of this and hope to see more! I have been discovering audio this year as my vision and other things fail at times. This is super helpful. I may add Rebecca to the list. Even though you did not fully enjoy the narrator, it seems like there is still enough going for the audio. Alternating voice and dialog are huge for me, so when that is successful I am sold 🙂

    1. The narrator on Rebecca was great and not grating like with the Flavia book. If you have time to listen then I heartily recommend the audiobook. I read it and that experience differed greatly from the audio which was very intriguing!

  6. Hmm..I think audiobooks are you either like them or hate them. I started to get in to them and now I am out of it again, but maybe I need to push myself a little. I need to look in to the books….

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