As a mom of a two-year-old and a 6-month-old, I am in one of the busier and more exhausting stages of life. I don’t have as much time to sit down with a book and read as I used to, and even when I do have the time, I rarely have the energy to read more than a few pages before I willingly succumb to the coveted and rare entity of sleep. Cue my recent infatuation with audiobooks.
Audiobooks have been my primary method of reading for the past few months, largely because they allow me to multi-task, but also because I’ve discovered that audiobooks add an element of enjoyment and relaxation to otherwise mundane and monotonous activities. Over the course of the past few days, for example, I’ve listened to audiobooks while getting ready, during my morning run, driving to Fenton for physical therapy, doing the dishes, picking up the kids’ toys in the living room, folding laundry, cooking, and nursing Kai. Essentially, I’ve been “reading” around the clock.
Did you know that there are over 43,000 audiobooks available for download at no cost through Libby, the library reading app? This app is accessible from the library’s website, or available for download through the App Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, you’ll need to enter your library card number and your passcode to login. After you select a book, you’ll get a notification from Libby letting you know your book is ready. The app is extremely user friendly and allows you to manage your loans (audiobooks currently checked out) as well as holds (books you’re in line to receive).
Soon patrons will be able to access roughly four times as many audiobooks from Libby as
Wickson prepares to merge with three other Michigan co-ops. Ultimately, the goal is an
extensive, unified e-collection of audiobooks shared by all Michigan libraries. What an
If you’ve never tried an audiobook, there are some benefits you might be missing. One perk of listening to an audiobook, as opposed to reading a physical book, is that it is much easier to detect subtle details such as intonation, inflection, and sarcasm. In my experience, this allows readers to know the narrator or characters even more than by simply reading the text.
Additionally, the element of voice adds a richness that cannot be drawn from the traditional
text, especially if the author is narrating their own work. And humor! The delivery of a joke is
exponentially better with audio. I often find myself laughing out loud with an audiobook in
ways that I wouldn’t with a written text.
Sometimes it’s nice to zone out with an audiobook in the background, especially if the book is a light, beachy read. Alternatively, when a book requires more of my attention, listening takes a bit more intentionality and effort since I’m typically multi-tasking. Overtime, the more we flex this listening muscle, the better our listening skills will become. Better yet, according to a 2018 article from TIME magazine, researchers found an “enormous overlap in comprehension of an audio text compared to comprehension of a print text.”
These are just a few of the reasons why audiobooks might be a nice alternative to traditional
books. If you’re still on the fence, give it a try before you rule it out completely. And if
downloading apps and retrieving audiobooks via electronic format directly to your phone isn’t
your thing, know that you can still check out audio discs and cassettes through the Wickson
app, website, or in person. As always, happy reading! And happy listening, too.