Doing Discussions: What Makes a Good Audiobook?

February 1, 2017 Uncategorized 2

I’ve recently started running and I’ve been struggling to find an audiobook that keeps me engaged enough that I’m not bored. That’s got me pondering what I’m looking for in an audiobook and what it would take to keep me entertained. I’d also love to hear what you all think makes for a good audiobook and would definitely appreciate any recommendations you have!

Here are a few of the things I’ve found make an audiobook work or not work for me:

  • Great narrator – Starting with the most obvious! I have to enjoy listening to the narrator. I can’t find their voice too monotonous or otherwise annoying. If they’re able to do entertaining voices, that’s a bonus.
  • Story or content does not constantly need my full attention  – I sometimes zone out for a minute while listening to audiobooks and if doing that means I’m going to feel lost, I have a hard time getting through a book. I recently listened to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything and it was a painful experience. It seemed funny enough that I think I’d have enjoyed it as a book, but listening to it, it felt so dense! It was very easy to tune out, especially since I’d heard many of his stories before, and very hard to pick up the thread again.
  • Humor – Some of my favorite audiobooks are the ones that have made me laugh – How To Be a Woman and The Martian in particular. Humor can be hard to get right though. Dad is Fat was reasonably entertaining, but never quite made me laugh out loud.
  • Fast pace – I’m still exploring with this one, but I think a more action packed read can stand up better to the audiobook format. I audiobook slower than I read, so in a slower paced book, it can feel like it takes forever for anything to happen.
  • Narrated by the author – Memoirs narrated by the author often really work for me. I think hearing a book read the way the author intended almost always adds something to the experience.

Is there anything you’d add to or remove for my list? Are there any audiobooks you’ve listened to that you’d recommend to stave off boredom while running?

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