For as long as I can remember, stories have been part of my life. Even when I couldn’t read yet. I had a My First Sony, and my parents bought me cassettes with stories on them. I fell asleep every night listening to fairy tales (the Grimm ones, not Disney) or Sesame Street. The voice of the narrator helped me sleep, and for the longest time I was unable to sleep without some sort of noise on.
I became older and had my own tv. I hooked up the dvd player to the sound system near my bed so I could listen to dvds while falling asleep. I didn’t need the tv on for it to work, as long as I memorized how to play the movie. My Shrek 2 dvd has lines on it because I listened to it for years. I knew how it took me too fall asleep because I remembered which scene I heard last. Only when I started to share my sleeping space with other people, I stopped listening to something at night. Vacations, exchange students, boyfriends, sleepovers with girl friends. Now I don’t listen to anything anymore.
Audiobooks just aren’t for me
What I just described can be seen as early forms of audiobooks; stories told through audio instead of books. So why am I saying audiobooks aren’t for me? Well, something happened.
I hit my head (or my mother smacked me in the head with a cupboard’s door) and because of my physical issues, the damage it did was more than just a slight bump. It gave me major headaches (ones that kept me from sleeping and everything else), and reading was nearly impossible. This sucked majorly because I was just starting my master program at the university. I had to read. But the letters danced on paper and I couldn’t concentrate. The words I tried to say came out wrong, and my sentences were off. Even taking notes in class was difficult. The whole language area in my brain wasn’t working as it did before. But the CT scan didn’t show any damage. I had no idea why my brain had abandoned me (still don’t).
Soon enough I could focus on letters again, slowly forcing myself to read my coursework. But auditive learning was never the same again. I used to be able to learn a lot from listening to my professors explaining difficult philosophical theories and making quick notes, now I had to watch them speak before I even registered anything. I noticed the same when I watched Youtube videos. I registered things better if I could see someone talking or something was moving on screen. I tried listening to podcasts when I wasn’t behind my pc, but none of it registered. I wouldn’t know what they said if I walked the dog, did dishes, or took a bath.
I’ve been part of the bookish community for a while now and tried to follow the advice the avid audiobook readers (because you can read an audiobook). I tried different narrators, different genres, different speeds, but none of it worked. I still feel like something inside my brain isn’t wired right, not how it used to be.
And that’s okay. Some people can’t read paper books, or don’t read on ereaders. I’m the kind of person who can’t read an audiobook. And that’s okay. I’m glad I have the possibility to try out all kinds of different reading. Some don’t have that option.
If you’re in a reading slump, I highly suggest trying out other forms of reading. Especially audiobooks if you haven’t tried them before. They might not be for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for you either.
2 thoughts on “On My Mind: Audiobooks Just Aren’t For Me”
Personally, I like reading a book myself more than listening to someone reading it. Like, when we’ve got our literature club meetings at Uni I enjoy listening to other people’s writings but that’s mostly because I know these people and because I appreciate them for bringing their stories to our meetings.
Now Audiobooks quite often are weird for me as they sometimes are a bit too fast or too slow or the pronounciation is off or they stress words differently or I just don’t like the person’s voice, so overall… it’s tricky. The only audio book that I’ve ever listened to (and that I liked) was “Er ist wieder da” by Timur Vermes, read by Christoph Maria Herbst (who’s a great actor and narrator btw!). But apart from that, there’s been only a few audio books worth listening to (Lovecraft mostly) that were still not perfect for me… and that’s why I mostly read stuff instead of listening to it^^
Anyways, great post, Tessa! Hope that it someday gets better :c
I used to like audiobooks more when I had a commute. Now I don’t have time for them and I’m too impatient—I read faster than I listen. But I did seem to retain them a bit better because I’m more of an auditory learner. No sense forcing yourself into a format that doesn’t work for you, though!