The art of listening–audio books


I recently entered the world of Audio Books. I got the idea from my writing partner–Michelle Bond. And if I’m going to be honest, I live in a city where audio books should reign supreme. They (study makers) say that people in LA spend, roughly, ninety hours a year stuck in their car.

What is a better way to use that time then to listen to an audio book? I like to call them “bonus books.” I like to find ways to sneak books into my life. I have my “night time” book–and then I have the books I read for research when I’m writing–now I have my traffic books.”

Most of these books I finish, but I’m finding my newly added “traffic books” don’t seem to get the attention they deserve.

I’m only two books into this experience. (Three if you count the time I tried to listen to Divergent, but we won’t count that because I only made it two lines in before I called it quits.)

Why did I call it quits? Two reasons.

#1–Book 1. I came out of the gate with “Gone, Baby. Gone.” Written by Dennis Lehane, who has a magnificent way of weaving words around you like a spider wrapping a fly–the book is narrated by Jonathan Davis, who also did a fantastic job at transporting me into the world of this story.

Why did I stop? The subject of this book is a hard one for anyone to read. As a mother and a woman, it was even harder. I found myself yelling at the stereo, and then I realized anytime I listened to Gone, baby. Gone. I would be depressed for the next hour or so.

My son has never had so many hugs as when I was listening to this book.

So I chose to stop because my heart couldn’t handle the content. That said, the characters in this book are incredible. If you’re a writer looking to get into the mystery market–read some Dennis Lehane. He’s very, very good at what he does.


#2–Book 2. Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher. Now, I haven’t officially given up on this book. I have four days left on the copy I downloaded from the library–but there’s a chance I’m going to let it expire and put a hold on the paper back.

Initially excited, the book is narrated by James Marster (whom you may remember as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show), but then it became an issue… Every last word goes up at the end. Every. Last. Word. At first I shrugged it off as a character trait–which it may be. Proven Guilty is book 8 of a series, and was the only one available when I went looking at Jim Butcher books–but the longer I’m listening the harder it’s become to deal with it. At times it makes the MC feel insincere. But this is my number one grievance for audio books. If the narrator doesn’t pull it off–then the listener will turn it off.


That’s what happened with Divergent. I don’t have a clue who the narrator was/is. I’m not going to go look it up, but all I remember is how she delivered the first two lines, and I turned it off.


At this point I plan to keep trying. There have to be some books that are waiting for me to hear their sweet words, but if you have any tips on how to pick things out–I would love to hear them! I really don’t want to lose my bonus books… the make my day brighter. Mostly.

Happy reading! –Aryn–xxoo


  1. michellejoycebond · October 30, 2016

    Hey, Aryn! It’s so cool, you’re trying out audio books! I’m sorry you had those bad experiences. I’ve had similar experiences, but largely, I’ve loved audio books. I try to get a sense of audio books from a sample if I get it on Audible. If I know I’m paying for it, I will read the first chapter on Amazon first to make sure it’s something worth investing in. As for library titles, I will listen to the first chapter, and if it’s not for me, I return it. I don’t feel bad about it just–meh, not for me. I’ll usually take out at least two audio books from the library so that I have a back up if I didn’t like the first one. Just like paper/digital books, there are so many audio books, I don’t like to waste my time on titles that don’t grab me. 🙂

    • Aryn · October 31, 2016

      I’ve been downloading e-audiobooks from the library. You’re right, I need to do more research and take a moment to see if I’m even going to dig the title at all. Baby steps!! Honestly, I just need a vacation. A good month off where all I do is swim and read books. Just a little “ME” time.

  2. mekozak · November 4, 2016

    It’s the only way I do fiction anymore unless the title isn’t in audio. I have a 2 hour commute every day, and I can usually knock off at least one novel a week. Yes, some narrators are mediocre, others bad, many great. If you can find anything by Stanley Tucci, listen to it. My pet peeve is when a series – like Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole books or Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series – changes narrator. After five or six books, the narrator has the voices and the tone down, then some newbie comes in, and suddenly it’s Dick Sergeant replacing Dick York on Bewitched all over again. I now belong to a few message boards and other sites where audiobookophiles geek out, and I’ve picked up a lot of good tips on narrators – good & bad – to watch out for.

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