STEPHEN KING SAID YOU SHOULD NEVER BE WITHOUT A BOOK – I always used to carry a book with me – now I’ve started listening to audiobooks. I mainly listen when I exercise as it takes my mind off the pain and boredom!
It feels like a different experience; someone else is doing some of the work for you and using their voice to create a character that may be different from the one you would have imagined. Plus they’re usually a whole lot better at accents than I am.
I find you process the book more viscerally and your memory of it is linked to your activity at the time. Sometimes when I’m doing a particularly difficult leg lift I suddenly hear the Australian accent of Hannah Heath, the protagonist in Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book.
Recently, the dark winter mornings have been filled with brooding menace: rising at 6am before my daughter is up to work out and listen to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I was so gripped by this auditory equivalent of a page-turner that I ended up doing a lot of lying around on the sofa just so I could keep listening. Or perhaps that’s merely what happens when you’re the mother of a toddler.
The books I’ve found work best are those with a first person narrative – a distinct voice that echoes in your mind long after you’ve switched the book off. Interestingly, I’ll put up with a book I don’t like but think is ‘good’ for longer – probably because I’m multi-tasking.
Do you get a chance to listen to books? What kind do you think work best?