Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down – Audiobooks

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down is feature on my blog to promote discussion and the sharing of opinions because I’m curious what other readers/bloggers think about the topics relevant to the book/blogging world  Every other week I will give a topic to be discussed. You can give your vote on whether or not it is a thumbs up or a thumbs down for you and then explain why. The topics will cover anything related to reading, blogging, the book industry, etc. etc. Basically whatever is on my mind! This feature is NOT intended to be a place to bash anybody or start a nasty fight or controversy. It is a platform for a mature discussion and sharing of opinions. It is also NOT a feature in order to TELL you how you should blog or act or think. Just a discussion of ideas. 

Last week’s TUTD about e-readers made me think about another non-book form of reading — audiobooks. I know a lot of people who LOVE audiobooks because it seems to supplement their reading when they are driving, cleaning, working out, etc. But with everyone that I’ve seen that loves them, there are just as many people who can’t do them or feel cheated out of the reading experience since they aren’t actually reading the words but hearing them. I’ve heard many times that it always depends on the type of the book and the narrator as well as to how the audiobook experience is.

What about you? Do you use audiobooks? When do use them and have you found you are able to finish more books this way? Do you find any drawbacks to audiobooks? Do you have a hard time paying attention or letting your mind wander? What kind of books are best to listen to? Do you have any recommendations for good audiobooks? If you aren’t a fan of audiobooks…have you tried them and had a hard time? Have you never tried them? What holds you back from doing so?

Vote now and leave a comment telling me what you think!

My Opinion:

I’ve only done an audiobook once. I really enjoyed it. I was bored with my 45 minute commute and I found a random audiobook in my house…I think it was my mom’s. It was I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. At first I had a hard time getting into listening to a book rather than reading it but soon enough I was completely engaged and found myself not wanting to get out of the car when I arrived home or to work. I actually even was bawling my eyes out at one point on the highway at the end of this one. I had a good experience with it..but that was 2 years ago or so. I WANT to do another audiobook because I know it would be a good way to spend my commute but it’s hard for me to find ones that don’t lose me…because my mind is prone to wander for sure. I wouldn’t want to use audiobooks that often because I really love the actually process of reading..BUT I think audiobooks can be so supplemental and are perfect for people like me who like to multi-task. And could help me be able to have more to blog about.

So any suggestions of engaging audiobooks for me?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. YA Bibliophile says:

    I love audiobooks while driving and working out. I just finished The True Meaning of Smeckday and ohmystars it was AMAZING!!! The narrators was phenomenal! I also really loved White Cat, Clockwork Angels, and The Dead-Tossed Waves on audio. I couldn't do Before I Fall… the narrator was just all wrong for me. I think it really depends on the book!

  2. M Caledonius Rae says:

    I've done a blog post on this very issue ( ). I adore audio books as they let me read on the way to/from work and while doing mundane tasks around the house.

    I'd only ever advise something unabridged. Those I have most enjoyed are I, Claudius and The Count of Monte Cristo.

  3. Jenica704 says:

    Up until five days ago, I was a thumbs down to audiobooks kind of reader. Typically, I'm easily distracted by my thoughts and my surroundings. My mind wandered off and by the time I remembered I was actually listening to a book, too much time had passed and I had no clue what was going on in the story. Needless to say, audiobooks weren't my thing.

    However, I wanted to give audiobooks a whirl, again, so I borrowed Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading by Maureen Corrigan from the library. She's a book reviewer on NPR and a college professor. I've left for work early every day this week so I'd have a few extra minutes to listen and I've spent quite a bit of time in my car, parked in my driveway listening too.

    I think the secret for me is that I need to listen to non fiction, read by an engaging speaker, who draws me in and makes me feel like I'm in college again, minus the copious note taking and tests. It's working. I can't wait to go somewhere so I can keep listening!

    Great question. Thanks for posting!

  4. Jess (Gone with the Words) says:

    I love audiobooks, but I use them a little differently. For YA, I like to reread books in a series before the new one comes out but I don't really have time for that. Audiobooks give me that opportunity. I listen to them in the car, at work(when I can). Right now, I'm actually listening to The Iron King, which I have NOT read before and am really loving it.

    I love all the TMI audiobooks the most out of all the ones I've listened to.

  5. Meredith says:

    Is there an option like "Thumb Held at a Horizontal Angle B/c I Have a Neutral Opinion?"

    I used to listen to audiobooks all the time growing up. My grandparents lived a good six hours from us and we'd listen in the car during the drive. But I haven't listened to one in awhile, because I'm convinced I'll get distracted while driving (because in all likelihood, I'd only listen in the car.)

    I like the idea of audiobooks and think they're great as an alternative to reading, but I guess I really just don't have a strong feeling either way. So my thumb's horizontal on this one.

  6. Guernsey Girl says:

    Audio books were my lifeline when I hurt my spine and was too ill to read. I'm all for anything that encourages people to delve into the world of literature….

  7. The1stdaughter says:

    I adore audiobooks! That being said, it has everything to do with the narrator for me. If I can imagine the story through an engaging narrator, then I'm hooked! Love it!

    One of my absolute favorites…Nick Podehl. He's an unbelievable narrator. The series I just finished with him as the main voice was The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! Seriously, I think I stopped breathing during the last hour of the last book, well, maybe not, but you get what I'm saying. Definitely try this. He also narrated will grayson will grayson by our favorite author, David Levithan.

    So yeah, I have more, but that would be my first choice. :o)

  8. Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) says:

    I think I need to start doing what Jess is doing…rereading books in audiobook form which is such a great idea!

    Yes, the narrator and the type of book makes a huge difference if I can get into an audiobook, I've listened to a few and for some reason I stopped doing it. With the advice of Jess, I may have to start again.

  9. Ria- The Beaucoup Review book blog. says:

    I love audio books, it's a way for me to enjoy a book whilst still doing homework/writing blog posts/cleaning my room etc. I also love playing an audio book whist I'm going to sleep, it helps me to get to sleep (:
    Thumbs up from me

  10. I discovered Audio Books about a year ago and I love them so much I'm hosting the audio book challenge. I agree with The1stdaughter, it is all about the narrator. If the narrator bugs me then it is much more difficult to get into the story. (I'm having a problem with this on one I'm listening to right now)

    Like Jenica said you need to figure out what you like. Some genres might work for you in audio and some will not.

  11. Anything that allows me to "read" more is a thumbs up, in my opinion. So with audiobooks, you can "read" while you are driving, or cleaning the house. It has to be the right audiobook, though. Water for Elephants was one of my favorites. The Flavia De Luce books, by Alan Bradley are good too.

  12. Avid Reader says:

    I'm a huge fan of audiobooks. I've been listening to them for years while doing chores and driving and it allows me to get so much more reading done. I never have a problem getting distracted, but if you do it's probably the book/narrator, not the fact that it's an audiobook. I'd highly recommend the audiobook of The Help, so great! I'd also agere with Annette that Bradley's books are great too.

  13. Chrisbookarama says:

    Big thumbs up! I get most of mine from the library and listen on the ole ipod when cleaning. I get a lot done. One of the best recently was The Dark Worlds of HP Lovecraft. The narrator was super spooky!

  14. The Crooked Bookshelf says:

    I liked listening to audio-books but a lot depends on the narrator for me. For example I loved the Harry Potter books & cried for The Book Thief but couldn't listen to more than a few minutes of Mockingjay.

    There are some books that I just can't seem to want to read. I try to find the audio-book versions for these and have managed to actually finish them a mot of times.

    I enjoy listening to them while commuting to work or while cooking.

  15. Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) says:

    I tried an audiobook years ago but stopped not far in because I didn't like the narrator. So I gave up on audiobooks. However, since starting my blog, I find that there are so many books I want to read that I don't have enough time! So out of curiosity I grabbed one and fell in love with the narrator's voice. So I decided that audiobooks with a good narrator are a major win!

    Sometimes with suspenseful parts of the book, it massively kills me because normally while reading a paper book, I'll just start reading faster… It REALLY builds suspense in an audiobook when you have to wait and suffer through the tension. At times, I'll be ADD and realize I haven't been listening and have to rewind, but that's okay. It's not too much of a problem.

    The ones I have loved the most so far are The Darkest Powers trilogy narrated by Cassandra Morris. I also LOVED The Lost Hero narrated by Joshua Swanson, and now I am listening to the Bloody Jack series which is narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Very amazing, all of these.

    Audiobooks make my drive to and from work a lot more entertaining and productive. Some days, though, I have to detox my brain my listening to the radio…

  16. I don't "read" audiobooks often – only when I'm driving. I also prefer stories that I've already read before, so I can listen along and not worry about focusing too much.

    Also, it has to be unabridged, unless it's a well-known classic like P&P. But otherwise, I feel like it doesn't really "count", you know?

  17. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    The only reason I said "thumbs down" is because I've never listened to one. I know that's not fair, but I'm knocking it before I try it. I like to imagine the character's voice in my head in MY OWN WAY. The guys sound like guys and the girls sound like girls. I don't know if I'll ever read an audiobook.

    Then again, I said that about e-readers.

  18. I can't do audio. I didn't like listening to people read aloud in English class, and it's worse when it's the whole book. I get really frustrated, because I read a LOT faster than the narrators. And, my mind wanders.

    I get why they are great for other people, but they definitely do not work for me.

  19. Peppermint Ph.D. says:

    I'm a horizontal thumbs person too…I won't just listen to anything on audio…I have loved audiobooks (The Glass Castle and Kite Runner) and disliked audiobooks (South of Broad). I also had my first DNF as an audiobook (Traveling w Pomegrantes) so it very much depends for me. The only time I listen to audio is in the car though so it also takes me a while to get through one…but that's ok. I don't want to buy audiobooks…I've only borrowed them from friends or checked them out of the library.

  20. Heather @ Between the Covers says:

    I don't usually do audiobooks, only because I like doing the actual reading, but I used to listen to them often when I had an hour commute to work years ago. I grew up with audiobooks because my mother is legally blind and had no other choice until the Kindle came out. So there was always an audiobook playing in the house when I was a kid.

    The Harry Potter series is AWESOME on audiobook. I know you've already read it, but you would not be disappointed by taking the time to listen to it. The reader does an amazing job with the voices. I loved it.

  21. I can't listen to audiobooks. They don't pronounce things the same way, and my mind tends to wander if I'm not looking at what is being read to me lol

  22. gabrielreads says:

    I've never actually listened to an audiobook. I like the feeling of a book in my hand while I read it and I don't like the idea of someone reading to me.

    Great post as always. I really enjoy reading your blog. It's one of the reasons why I've given you an award: Well, that and I had to choose seven blogs. 🙂

  23. I've attempted audiobooks, but I just haven't been able to find a narrator lately that doesn't annoy me. Plus, sometimes they read slowly, and I harly ever drive since I'm on a campus… so listening to a 15 hour audiobook could take me like 6 months. I'm open to recommendations of great narrators, though! 🙂

  24. I have nothing against audiobooks, however, I cannot personally get into them. Having someone read to me soothes me right to sleep. Even if it's the middle of the day. Sometimes my bf will even read to me at night if I can't sleep.

    So even though I don't use them, I think they have many benefits for people who commute to work, travel, etc. so I give audiobooks a thumbs up.

  25. thatcovergirl says:

    I tried, once. It was for Pam Bachorz's Candor. I was cleaning in the kitchen and had gotten the book free from Audible, I think. But about 20 minutes in, I was tired of the narrator. I kept imagining a twentysomething in a small cramped booth pitching his voice to sound like a teen. Then when he started doing dialogue for other characters, it sounded hokey.

    I've heard the Harry Potter audiobooks are absolutely atmospheric and engrossing. But I'm still incredibly critical of them as a whole.

  26. IndieReader says:

    I love the concept of an audiobook, and I have several, but I can't seem to pay attention as I listen. It's not a question of the quality of the reading – I've just never been a listener. I don't really listen to music either. I like to have the noise, but I tend to tune it out. I'm hoping I can learn to focus, because I'd love to play them on long drives.

  27. Cat the Librarian says:

    I just started getting into them, but I love having them around for work, or when I get sick of all the overplayed music on the radio while driving! Great post!

  28. I've recently tried my first audiobook and while I liked it, it was a bit of a confusing experience sometimes because I couldn't keep track of the characters' names as easily without reading them. And it has the side-effect that I wasn't able to just flip back a couple of pages if I hadn't been paying attention as much as I should have. It's easier to get off track for me, but I'm probably gonna try one again in the future. It felt nice being read too, like when I was a kid and my mom used to read to me all the time.

  29. I think audiobooks are oxymoronic. If I'm going to read, I'm going to read. I've heard people go on about their benefits but as someone that's prone to zoning when listening to something, I'd rather not. I've only listened to one audiobook and it was Denis Leary's Why We Suck where he was the one reading it. It was four hours of Denis Leary stand-up so that's probably really different than your traditional book. But I'll pass on them.

  30. I'm a thumb held at horizontal level like Meredith. I have listened to an audiobook. It was…America's Best Non-required Reading 2003 selections, and I think that was the only reason why I became invested in the audio book. It was a collection of short stories, and there were different voices for the different selections. It kept my attention for the most part, but I am prone to letting my mind wander. I can't imagine what would happen if I listened to the same voice for a long while. I just imagine I'd end up doing a lot of rewinding, so I think I'll just stick to my books.

  31. I have only ever listened to the Harry Potter books. I think these work so well for me because I've already read the books and watched the movies a bajillion times. I'm not sure I could focus enough on a "new" book with external stimuli distracting me. I do want to give a book a shot though if I ever go on a long road trip or some other case where I would be doing something monotonous for an extended period of time.

  32. I gave up on audio books because I coouldn't concentrate on them, but have recently tried them again and have found some great ones. I think that the trick is to find the kind of book and narrator that works for you. I listen to non-fiction and a lot of YA. Two that I thought were fantastic, with amazing narrators, were Shannon Hale's The Book of a Thousand Days and Mary Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox.