Audiobook Week: My Listening Year

Jen at Devourer of Books is hosting the annual love-fest that is Audiobook Week starting June 6 and has set some topics for daily discussion. I don’t have the time this week to do them all but wanted to at least participate once to show my love for audiobooks. Today’s discussion topic is

Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen? This is your chance to introduce yourself and your general listening experience.

I have always loved being read to but it’s only in the past 3 years or so that I have had easy access to a regular, inexpensive supply of audio books at (where books are downloadable in a variety of formats and I pay around $12 per book). Now audiobooks are a permanent and significant part of my reading year.

This year I have listened to 23 audiobooks so far for a total of 258 hours and 54 minutes. Most of this is done during my commute to/from work where I am either walking or packed sardine-like into crowded public transport in which any other kind of reading is impossible. Listening on the bus also has the advantage of drowning out the phone-talkers and other annoyances which has, in turn, probably saved a couple of lives over the years. I also occasionally listen to audiobooks while doing housework. Oh let’s be honest, that statement should read I occasionally do housework and when I do I am accompanied by an audiobook.

Two of my four 5 star reads for the year have been audiobooks:

The first was Christopher Brookmyre’s Pandaemonium which I listened to in January and could reasonably have been expected not to like at all given that it’s about a bunch of teenage kids who go on retreat into the Scottish highlands when a schoolmate of theirs dies but the venue is over run by demons which escape from the military facility next door. However it was one of those reading risks that paid off and I adored the writing, the humour and the themes of the book and I didn’t even mind the bloody monster-fighting. The narration by Kenny Blyth is delicious.

The other 5-star audiobook I’ve read this year is Catherine O’Flynn’s What Was Lost. It’s the story of 10 year-old Kate Meaney who lives in Bristol and has opened a detective agency (as you do) and spends a good deal of time at the newly opened shopping mall undertaking surveillance work. After being introduced at length to Kate’s life we learn that she disappears. Twenty years later we meet two adults who work at the same mall and, eventually, the book unravels the rest of Kate’s story. The book has wonderful characters and everything else about it is perfect, including Colleen Prendergast’s marvellous narration which helped me to create vivid images of the people and locations that O’Flynn has depicted. This is my favourite book of the year so far, regardless of format.


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7 Responses to Audiobook Week: My Listening Year

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Bernadette – Thanks for reminding us of how nice audiobooks can be. They really are a great alternative to traditional books – portable, too :-). I’m also so glad (I know I said this – or hope I did – when you reviewed it) that you liked What Was Lost as much as you did. In my opinion, it’s a truly fine book.


  2. Kathy D. says:

    Glad to hear of another purpose for audiobooks: lifesaving.
    I haven’t tried this yet but I’m not traveling, but at home reading and housework is about no. 50 on my scale of priorities. So for the five minutes I do of housework a few times a week, I can live without a book.
    I would like to propose another category: videobook. When we see a movie of a book, shouldn’t that be counted, too in our reading totals?


  3. Audiobooks do make chores and errands a whole lot easier!


  4. Audio books are a life saver for me – and they make doing the mundane chore not so bad.



  5. Nise' says:

    LOL – too true. I find things to do so I can listen and housework is just one of them. I have What Was Lost on my TBR list, maybe I’ll switch it to my TLT (to listen to) list.


  6. Kristin T. says:

    So far I only listen to audio books while in the car. I really need to look into downloading some onto my ipod so I can listen while I walk.

    My intro post can be found here.


  7. Teresa says:

    Those are both books that I never would have picked up on my own, but you’ve made them sound interesting. I’m going to have to check them out. Thank you!


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