Why It Took Me So Long to Listen to an Audiobook

This month I finished my first audiobook! Now this was not my first time listening to an audiobook, mind you. I have tried several other times to listen to an audiobook, but this was my first time completing one. So today I want to talk about why it’s taken me so long to listen, what changed to make listening possible this month, and what I thought about the audiobook experience!

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To start off, let me say that audiobooks definitely count as books. That was never my issue with listening to an audiobook. Rather I had two main problems that needed to be solved before I could listen to an audiobook. One was the fact that I don’t process noise well. The other was the fact that I didn’t know what activity to do while listening to an audiobook. And these two issues are very interrelated because part of my issue with finding an activity is that most activities were too noisy for me to process an audiobook at the same time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I have never been one that’s been good at blocking out noise. I’m the person that hears all the little annoying sounds as if they were amplified by 100% on a good day or 1000% on a bad day. Just in the past year or so I was given a name for this phenomenon. I have a sensory processing disorder, which manifests itself for me most often in an auditory capacity. Basically, all that means is my brain is really bad at regulating multiple sounds at once. This means that if I have any background noise while listening to an audiobook, it will be very hard for me to focus on the words, since that other noise is distracting me, as my brain doesn’t really prioritize one sound over the other.

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Me practically all the time

As you might imagine that makes it rather difficult for me to find a scenario in which listening to audiobooks is possible. I mean, where can you find a completely noise free place to listen? On top of that, I’m a very visual person, and it’s much harder for me to process things through audio alone in general. So actually processing a story by listening to it is a lot more difficult for me than just reading a story.

Because of all those complications there’s no real good activity I can do that allows me to have a sound free environment and an activity that is mindless enough that I can process words, but not too mindless so that I get distracted by something visual. Therefore, reading via audiobook was not working out.

Season 4 Nbc GIF by The Good Place

Me the first time I tried an audiobook

So what changed? In reality, nothing. I still have my sensory processing disorder, and I still struggle to find a good activity to do while listening to an audiobook. The only thing that was different when I tried to listen to an audiobook this month was that I had read this post by Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical first. In it she gave some excellent tips based on her experience getting into audiobooks. I had already been contemplating trying audiobooks again because I was planning on reorganizing my bookshelves, and I figured that might be a good activity to do while listening.

One of my bookshelves, all nice and reorganized

One of my mistakes when first testing out the audiobook waters, was not choosing the right audiobook. The first book I ever tried on audio was The Book Thief. And despite not finishing the audiobook, I’d still highly recommend it! The narrator was fantastic! But it was very long. It’s 13 hours and 56 minutes, to be exact. And since I didn’t know what activities worked with listening, I just gave up on listening entirely after a while and read the physical book.

One of the very helpful things that Veronika included in her post were some recommendations for books to start out with. So I naturally picked the shortest book on there, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, coming in at 1 hour and 44 minutes. I figured that I could figure out what to do for about 2 hours while listening. And I was sort of right!

Presenting the very first audiobook that I listened to!

Just to start with, I absolutely LOVED this audiobook, and would HIGHLY recommend it. It’s narrated by the author and is told in verse which I think were another 2 factors that helped this be the first audiobook that I finished. But I did still have some struggles while listening.

For one thing I could not listen while redoing my bookshelves. Because of how badly I process audio, organizing and cleaning my books and shelves took too much brainpower, so that I wasn’t actually listening to the words and making sense of them. Additionally, I feel the need to hear every word, which made me hyperfocus and keep rewinding (again and again and again) until I finally caught the word I had missed the first time around. So this audiobook probably took me 2 and a half hours in reality, just because of how much rewinding I did.

But eventually I sort of found the hang of it. I found some activities, like doing laundry or just walking around my room, that I could do while listening. I also made the brilliant decision of listening with soundproof headphones to block out any other source of noise, to make it easier to focus on the story. And that all made it easier for when I tried my next audiobook!

headphones jamming GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants

I’m currently listening to The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole, the next shortest audiobook on Veronika’s list. (Are you sensing a theme here?) I’m still in middle of it so I’m not yet passing judgement on the full experience, but I’ve learned some more about myself while listening to this book as well. For one thing I found that playing Minesweeper while listening gives me the perfect amount of focus, where I can listen to the story, and not have to rewind incessantly. I’ve also discovered that I can listen while doing puzzles, which means I get to combine two of my favorite ways to relax, reading and puzzling.

My current audiobook read

So does this mean I’ve been converted into a frequent audiobook user? Honestly, probably not. I think that right now the circumstances of quarantine are aligning so that I have all the conditions I need to listen to audiobooks, but I don’t think this will be a reading method I sustain once life becomes more hectic again. But I am willing to give it more of a try now with shorter books. And hopefully, as I listen more, I’ll get better at figuring out the right settings and activities for optimal listening. And who knows, maybe in a few months from now I’ll write a follow up post about how much I love audiobooks, and how frequently I listen to them!

What are some shorter audiobooks that you recommend? What’s your favorite audiobook? What has been your experience with audiobooks?


71 thoughts on “Why It Took Me So Long to Listen to an Audiobook

  1. It took me a long time to read an audiobook for a similar reason: what do I do while I listen? If I’m just going to sit and listen I’d rather read, it’s faster and I process better. I finally started listening to audiobooks in the car, and that was a real game-changer for me. Driving is DULL, but by listening to my books I was able to put my attention there instead of being bored. Of course with COVID I haven’t had to drive at all, so that’s fallen of, but…

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      1. I used to prefer listening to music, but I found that too often I knew the songs well enough to let them fade into the background, and I started zoning out while I was driving. Not safe. Having something else to focus on actually helps me focus on the road. But I don’t feel the need to hear every single word, so.

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  2. I have only listened to one short audio book. Your post today is brilliant! I am a visual person–when I read, I watch a movie in my head. I noticed I start tuning out audio books if the activity I’m doing requires any use of my brain, so I gave up. I also can’t read with music playing or the TV on (this is why I read in a separate room). I have a few audio books here ready to try again this summer, but I need to find the right activity–thank you for giving me so much to think about because I know I’m missing out.

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    1. Thank you, Danielle! 💕

      I’m the same way when I read! And what I find even more interesting is that even when I reread a book, I always re-imagine the story and setting and everything the exact same way as the first time I read it!

      I’m definitely a visual person! I even tune people out on the phone sometimes if I get too distracted by something visual! So you can imagine how much worse my focus is for audiobooks! I also can’t listen to music or watch TV while reading a book, but in my house even conversations happening in other rooms have the potential to distract me!

      I really hope you find an activity that works well for you and that you get to enjoy some audiobooks this summer! I also would suggest shorter books until you figure your audiobook habits out, like I did. Also, if you’re looking for recommendations I cannot recommend Long Way Down more highly!

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      1. Thank you for the rec! I loved this book (I read it on New Years Eve) and still think about it. Maybe trying this audiobook would be a great start since I already read it. The last line still haunts me and I love that.

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  3. Ahh, this post made my day, Malka!! I’m so happy my post helped you & that you listened to my recs. 😭😍 (On that note, I’ve just listened to Felix Ever After, which is not only INCREDIBLE, but has a wonderful narrator, too! It’s like, 8 hours, I think? So not the shortest, though. :/) Anyway, I’m glad you found the activities that work well for you! I’ve been trying to walk 10.000 steps a day, and listening to podcasts + audiobooks has been great to accompany that activity, so I relate to just walking around your room. 🙂

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    1. I’m so glad! 💕 You’re post was so, so helpful that I had to mention it! All of your suggestions and recommendations were fantastic!

      I actually just bought the physical copy of Felix Ever After, so I’ll probably end up reading it that way. Eight hours is still a little too long for me to manage!

      Ooooh, I’ve been wanting to exercise more too! Maybe I should move my walks out to my backyard and get some fresh air as I walk and listen! Thanks so much for inspiring even more helpful suggestions!

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    1. Thanks so much! I want to try out coloring and listening! I haven’t tested out that combination yet, but it sounds like it would be a good match! I don’t do the graphics for the blog though, so that activity doesn’t work for me. But thank you so much for giving me these ideas! I’m still new to the audiobook experience, so any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated! 💕

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  4. Great post! I have also just started listening to a few audiobooks. I have found that I can clean when listening which I have found so helpful. Some of the audiobooks I have been listening to have been really long which has been difficult. I hope you find some more audiobooks that you enjoy❤︎

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    1. Thank you! I’ve tried cleaning and listening, and unfortunately, for the most part the two activities have not been compatible. I get too distracted by whatever I’m cleaning!

      And I honestly don’t know how people manage to listen to such long audiobooks! I know lots of people listen on double or even triple speed, but that’s something that I definitely know I can’t handle! So for now I’ll be sticking to shorter books.

      Thank you! 💕


  5. Ah i get that! I don’t have that disorder, but I do get sensority overload when i’m having a panic attack.. any little thing such as someone talking make me just spiral even more.

    I had the same issue, I was scared of getting too caught up in what I was doing to « block » what I was listening to and ending up not remembering what i’ve read at all 🤣 what seems to work the best is just lying down with my eyes closed.
    Thank you for sharing! Xx

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    1. I get sensory overload too when I get panic attacks! But I also just have this disorder year round, even when my mental health is in a good state. So when I get a sensory overload, it’s on top of my disorder, which unfortunately only magnifies my overload and makes matters worse.

      Honestly, my overthinking is probably what’s keeping me from processing the story, but I don’t know how to stop overthinking! I’ve tried laying down with my eyes closed but then my thoughts start to wander or I get too afraid I’ll fall asleep! There’s a reason it’s taken me so long to finish an audiobook! I really struggle with them!

      Hopefully, I’ll figure out some more activities I can do and it will become less of a struggle to listen. And if not, I can always just stick with my usual physical copies and e-books, and know that I tried my best with audiobooks!


      1. Ooof- not only does it sounds absolutely tiring, I can’t imagine having them doubled like that 😓

        Yeah.. atleast now you know! I feel like for me gaming mind-less games like sims or animal crossing for exemple could work also.. but yep- overthinking is definately one of my problems too..

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  6. Ah I used to hate audiobooks too – I don’t have the same problem as you, but I struggle to process information as sound as well as I can process words on paper. I read my first audiobook in quarantine too – and went for a reread of a book I love and a voice I knew – Ari and Dante narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I adored it, and then read The Foxhole Court as an audio and Love From A-Z which I liked too! Great post – and it felt very real as someone who still isn’t the BIGGEST fan 🙂

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    1. I’m now really curious if visual learners are less likely to enjoy audiobooks!

      Oh! That’s a really good call! Maybe I should try a reread that way too! I just reread Aristotle and Dante in physical form last month though, so I probably would have to find a different book. I really enjoyed Love from A to Z when I read it physically though, so maybe I’ll give that one a go as a reread!

      Thank you! 💕 I had no idea this post would be so relatable, since most of the posts that I see about audiobooks are all about how wonderful they are, and how the person gets to much reading done by listening to them. I’m so glad to hear that there are other people out there who are still on the fence about audiobooks, like I am!

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    1. I was happy to share my experience, as up until now I’ve really only seen people gushing about how much they love audiobooks, and my experience has been totally different!

      It’s a bit of a struggle to find things to do that mesh well with listening to audiobooks with my disorder, but I’m trying my best to see what works! Hopefully once quarantine is over I’ll have all my audiobook preferences figured out! And if audiobooks don’t end up working out for me, I can always just go back to reading my usual physical copies and e-books, but I’ll know I gave audiobooks a fair chance first.


  7. I also have never listened to an audiobook! I too have always been like well what would I do? And when I am just doing mindless things with my hands, I’m usually jamming out to music not books haha. I’m spending a lot of time baking lately though so I’m starting to think I should try listening to audiobooks while I do that! Your experience with finally starting an audiobook sounds great though, and using soundproof headphones is a great idea!

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    1. I used to also just jam to music while I did things! Honestly, I still do, since there are only a specific set of activities I can do while listening to an audiobook.

      I use a mixer when I bake, so that noise would definitely be too distracting. Plus, I’d be too focused on the measurements to pay any attention to the story. But try it out! Hopefully it’s something that works for you! And if not, you can always jam to some music! 🎶

      I’m definitely happy that I’ve managed to find some strategies and activities that work for me! I’ve been wanting to finish an audiobook for so long, and I’m so glad that I finally achieved that goal! And yes, using soundproof headphones is a game changer! If you have a pair, I’d highly recommend using them!

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  8. I listen to audiobooks all the time haha! But I can imagine other noises distracting you, or not knowing what to do while listening, I’ve had that problem as well. Now I listen while doing grocersies or working out (but then of course you do have other noises around)
    I would recommend listening to Acevedo’s books if you haven’t read those yet, they are not too long I think, and she narrates them herself!
    Maybe also rereadng books on audio can be nice, since you already know the story!


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    1. I wish I was at the level where I can listen to audiobooks all the time! But for me those other problems of noise and finding the right activity are still making it a bit of a struggle! I’m still testing out different activities though, so maybe something will turn up that I can easily do while I listen to an audiobook!

      I’ve already read The Poet X and With The Fire On High, but honestly I might do an audio reread of The Poet X because I love it so much! And I’ve heard before that she narrates it herself and that it’s just a fantastic experience! And since I already know the story, maybe my focus will be better! I might just try that out! Thank you for the suggestion!

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  9. I have to confess that I am not the biggest audiobooks fan. Not because I do not count them as reading but because I love the feeling of reading physically. But I am glad that you got the hang out of it and had such a great experience!!

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    1. I also really love the experience of reading books physically! But I had heard such wonderful things about audiobooks that I really wanted to give them a chance! So far it’s been a pretty good experience, but I still have some things I need to work out before I start reading for audiobooks as much as I reach for physical books!

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  10. I’m glad you found a way to make audiobooks work for you!! I also have a sensory processing disorder so I relate HARD. But I’m a bit opposite, in that I really love zoning into an audiobook (I also find it comforting if I’m lonely? 😂😂 which is probably weird) but definitely I always use noise-cancelling headphones too and I like to listen while exercising. Plus it takes your mind off, ya know, nearly dying while exercising 😂 I also like doing audiobook rereads, because I already know where it’s going and I find it easier to focus!

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    1. It honestly took a lot more work than I expected! I wish I could just zone into a book, but I get anxious that I’ll miss a word and so I hyper-focus, causing me to miss words. Also if I zone into an audiobook, I get scared that I’ll fall asleep from the soothing narrator’s voice!

      Noise cancelling headphones have honestly made such a big difference in my life! Whenever I can’t take the external noise around me, popping them in and turning on some music has been such a helpful coping mechanism! I use them for dance parties too, which is one of my only forms of exercise to be honest!

      I think I’m going to try an audiobook reread next! Hopefully knowing the story already will make me less anxious and I’ll be able to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the book!


  11. I think the only time I tried audiobook was for Cinderella story 🙈 and that’s because I just wanted to have a feel of listening to audiobook. Since then I don’t listen to one. Not because it’s bad or anything. Just that it’s not my preferred way.

    But I might give it another try someday. Starting with shorter one is a very good move indeed for beginners!

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    1. I definitely hear that! Audiobooks aren’t for everyone! I still personally prefer physical books, but I know some people who use audiobooks as their main reading format!

      Starting with a short book was a really good decision, and if you ever decide to try out audiobooks again, I’d definitely suggest picking a book less than 5 or 6 hours long!

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  12. This was so interesting to read, thank you for writing this!! I have never found success with audiobooks because like you, I’m a really visual person- any kind of listening exercise when I took Spanish in school was always horrible for me, because even in English I find it difficult to properly comprehend something without looking at it. I also have always wondered what I would do while listening- when it’s not quarantine, I don’t have a lot of down time, so I never exactly knew what I could do while listening.

    This post inspired me to potentially give audiobooks a chance?? Maybe I’ll start with a short one and find something to organize and give it a try.🙂

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    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! 💕

      I really think that the people who enjoy audiobooks are already very auditory learners! I decidedly am not! I am super visual and I think that’s part of the reason why me and audiobooks don’t mesh that well. When I read physically, I give myself the time I need to visualize everything. With an audiobook, I don’t always have time to visualize something before the narrator has already moved on to something else!

      I’m also known for being so visual that many times when I’m explaining something to someone, I’ll stop and take the time to draw out what I’m referring to because I can’t properly express myself without that random sketch or image!

      I honestly can’t be of much help in the advice department of what to do while listening because I’m still trying to figure out what activities work well for me! But I think the best time to try is now in quarantine since now you have the time to experiment and see what works for you! I’d definitely recommend starting with Long Way Down! Not only is is super short, but it was so fantastic, and a really good starting point for me!

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  13. My audiobook beginnings were not easy as well — I may also have Sensory Processing Disorder or something similar? (I can only focus on audiobooks when I listen on my headphones) But then I had my internship and I needed something that would give me just the right amount of focus — listening to music made me sleepy and doing excel stuff just by itself was a nightmare. I also felt like I need to hear every word at first so I decided ‘hey, why not listen to something I already read so I won’t care so much’ and that was the best decision ever because it trained me not to rewind! After my internship ended I had trouble with fitting audiobooks into my life again but now audiobooks are about 3/4 of what I read! It’s such an efficient way to enjoy stories!

    I also have two posts about getting into audiobooks — one about various issues that may block people from enjoying audiobooks and the other about things you can do while listening to audiobooks. Check them out if you need some additional help 🙂

    Great post and good luck with exploring audiobooks!

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    1. I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone in my rough start with audiobooks! I’m usually quite happy just listening to music as I go about my doing random tasks, which is part of the reason why I was in no rush to start listening to audiobooks. I think that working on Excel is a task that would work great with an audiobook for me, but I don’t have anything that requires Excel at the moment!

      I really think that I should try out a reread on audiobook to try to train myself not to rewind as well! Because the constant rewinding is definitely disrupting my listening, and therefore my enjoyment of the book.

      Right now I just want to come up with a few activities in the moment that I can do to during quarantine while listening to audiobooks. I think that when life gets more hectic I won’t be able to listen for other reasons anyway, but I want to take advantage of the time I have now!

      I’m definitely going to check out those two posts! I can use all the help I can get when it comes to audiobooks!

      Thank you! 💕

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  14. Malka, I love & relate to this post so much!! I have tried to make audiobooks work for me for so many years, and while my relationship with them is still far from perfect, I’m happy that I think I’ve figured out how to effectively listen to them. Like you, I get distracted so much more easily when I listen to book as opposed to when I read it physically. I also don’t have many activities to do while listening to an audiobook, so I end up trying to do something that requires a lot of brainpower, like drafting blog posts. and it never goes well—I always have to rewind the audiobook after because I wasn’t able to focus on it the whole time. I think I’ve finally found activities that I can do while listening to an audiobook though: designing blog post headers, formatting blog posts, and (this is kinda gross lol) plucking armpit hair (IT’S FUN OK DON’T JUDGE 😭).

    Coincidentally, i’m listening to an audiobook while writing this comment. And though I’m missing a few things from the audiobook, I think I’ve just grown to accept that I won’t hear every word, and as long as I get the gist of everything that’s happening I’m fine haha

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    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad this post was relatable! 💕 I always see posts saying how much people enjoy audiobooks, so I figured it would be fun to share my experience, since it was so different than so many other posts I’d read on the topic!

      I am definitely nowhere near perfect when it comes to listening to audiobooks right now! I’m only at the very beginning of my audiobook journey! But I’m glad you’ve figured out an effective way of listening! That’s something I’m still working on!

      I’m a very visual learner, and listening to audiobooks has honestly made me appreciate so very much the ease with which I can read my physical books. I’ve been reading posts that have suggestions of what to do because I’ve been drawing a blank when it comes with what to do while listening as well! I can’t write blog posts while listening to music, let alone an audiobook! I need to find an activity that occupies my hands more than my brain! (Formatting blog posts uses too much of my brain, unfortunately, and Chana does all our graphics.) So far working on puzzles is the best option I’ve found, although it’s not foolproof. I also want to try drawing/coloring to see how that goes!

      Also, don’t worry about it! I had bunk-mates in sleepaway camp who had would tweeze all parts of their bodies for fun every night, so I’m definitely not judging! I just don’t think that activity would keep me busy enough to help me focus on the words that I’m listening to!

      Which audiobook were you listening to when you commented? I’ll sometimes listen to music while blog hopping because I don’t need to hear every word, just the melody, so I’m fine with it. For audiobooks I don’t think I’ll ever get over my need to hear every word! Even whenever I listen to a new song, I give it my undivided attention, and usually watch the lyric video while listening. I’m a visual learner through and through! Adjusting to audiobooks is gonna be a tough process!

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      1. i was listening the sound of stars!! idk if it was just the story (i rated it 2 stars, unfortunately), but the narrators’ voices kinda annoyed me haha. it’s a decent audiobook though!! & i can’t imagine having to catch lyrics all the time i would never be able to listen to another song :””) i like listening to music while drafting blog posts, replying to comments, & blog hopping because i don’t have to catch every word like with audiobooks. also, to avoid getting distracted by lyrics, i listen to kpop, which works because i can’t understand Korean. 😂 i don’t think i have to keep taking this precaution though because i’ve gotten good at tuning out English songs already haha. but most of the songs i listen to are kpop anyways i’m too tired to find english artists 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️

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        1. I don’t have to catch lyrics all the time thankfully! Once I’ve listened to a song for the first time and I’m familiar with the song, I can play it in the background while doing certain activities.

          I can sometimes listen to music while blog hopping, but for some reason creating my own content and listening to music do not go well together! As for reading, I get too distracted by the music to process the words on the page. I think the reason I can listen to music while blog hopping is because I usually have an outline of what I want to say as I read the post, so writing down my thoughts is simple and planned out already. But when I’m writing my own posts, I’m starting from scratch so I need to put my full focus into what I’m writing, and therefore music becomes too distracting.

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  15. Glad you found a way to make audiobooks work for you 🙂 I personally reeeeally don’t like audio books (I also DO think they count as books! Definitely!) there’s something about listening to a person acting a voice that makes my skin crawl. I thought at first it was because I disliked having a disembodied voice in my ears (with video you also have visual, so it feels more natural) but then I started listening to podcasts and I realized it’s just about the acting. I can’t listen to podcasts where people act out a script or something, like a radio play, I can only handle podcasts where people improvise everything or just talk. And as actors reading audiobooks are usually reading from a ‘script’.. I don’t know, it’s very weird but I hate that :’D

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    1. Thanks! I’m honestly still struggling with listening and processing, so I don’t know if I’ve been converted into an audiobook fan yet! I guess time will tell!

      I’ve never thought about it that way, but I understand why hearing such a staged monologue directly into your ear could make you uncomfortable! I’m glad that you figured out what it was that bothered you though, that way you can still enjoy some podcasts!

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  16. omg malka, you bring up all the right points, sis. the number 1 hindrance for me not taking up audiobooks is i can’t exactly find an activity to do with it. it either takes too much focus (like damn people who read while listening to music, HOW???) or too little, at which point i’d rather just read the book itself lol.
    recently tho b/c quarantine, i’ve been washing dishes a lot (rip) and dude, that is SUCH a perfect task while trying to listen to something. it’s something you can just do on auto-pilot and listen to stuff. also, just cleaning the house etc works really well, too.

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    1. Thanks! It’s ridiculous how tough it is to find an activity that works well with listening to an audiobook! Since I have my processing disorder, I can listen to music while doing puzzles or whatnot, but not while I’m reading! In fact doing puzzles is the best activity I’ve found to do so far while listening, although it’s by no means a perfect scenario. And I still definitely prefer reading physical books at this point! I can just focus on them so much better!

      I got some advice from other bloggers that commented, specifically E. @ localbeehuntersnook, who has two great posts about audiobooks that I checked out and were super helpful. She basically pointed out that the goal is to find an activity that keeps your hands super busy, but your mind free. I guess washing dishes fits that description perfectly! For me I focus too much when doing most cleaning activities, so I can’t process an audiobook at the same time. But I do want do more drawing/coloring and I’d love to see how well that activity works with audiobooks!


  17. I’ve never actually tried an audiobook but I actually might in the future! When I had my Scribd free trial there were so many books I want to read available as audiobooks but I just never got round to it.
    I might actually try one in the future though because I have really enjoyed listening to podcasts whilst doing my artwork so audiobooks is just the next step!

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    1. If you do decide to try audiobooks there are some great posts out there with tips and recommendations that are worth reading before you try one out!

      I’ve heard so many great things about Scribd, but I’ve never tried using it! So far I’ve used my library for Long Way Down, and I got a free trial for Audible Escape for a month and that’s how I’m listening to my current audiobook! I’m not willing to commit to any subscription service though, until I feel confident about listening to audiobooks first, so once my trial ends I’ll probably just go back to using my library for audiobooks, if I’m in the mood of one.

      I actually want to try listening to audiobooks while working on some art! So far I’ve mainly been listening to my audiobook when I work on a puzzle, but I want to find more activities I can do while listening, and drawing/coloring seems like the perfect task to try while listening to an audiobook!

      I hope that if you try an audiobook you have a wonderful experience! 💕

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    1. I’m so glad you found this post relatable! But using headphones is definitely a game changer! And finding the right activity to do while listening is really important as well! There are some great posts out there that I’ve been reading if you need any tips!


  18. Ohhh how much I feel this! I too just cannot seem to concentrate! I also think I don’t process audio very well. I often miss things when they’re just spoken (for example, teachers who JUST lectured were the bane of my existence ha). And I find that I have gotten better with tuning noises out as I got older, but the problem is, I tune them ALL out- almost like I retreat inside my head? So yeah, I have had no real success with audiobooks, sadly. I think the idea of listening to a shorter one is a really good call- maybe, like you said, under the right conditions I could do one of that length!

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    1. Visual learners for the win! I’m so visual that many times when I’m describing something to someone, I need to grab a pencil and paper to sketch what I’m talking about just so that I can find the right words to use! The pictures are usually more for me than whoever I’m talking to!

      So I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tune noises out because of my processing disorder, but I’m okay with that. It’s just nice that I finally know *why* I can’t tune out noises.

      I honestly don’t think audiobooks are for everyone! Even I’m still on the fence! And I think that visual learners are definitely going to have a more difficult time when they start listening to audiobooks, and may never get into them. But if you are going to try one I’d definitely recommend starting with something nice and short! It really helped me learn a lot about my audiobook preferences, and also helped slowly introduce me to how I interact with the listening process!


  19. Puzzles and audiobooks is one of my favourite things because I also need to do something that requires some attention, but not all of my attention – otherwise my mind drifts off and I stop listening to the book. I also find long road trips when I’m driving works. We used to live about an 8 hours drive from my parents house, so I was always guaranteed to get a decent sized book in for that trip.

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    1. Exactly! I need something to keep my hands busy, and a part of my mind occupied, but the activity can’t be something that requires intense concentration because then I can’t focus on the audiobook! Puzzles seem to walk that fine line really well!

      Wow! Eight hours is a really long drive! Maybe the next time I have a trip longer than an hour I’ll attempt to listen to an audiobook instead of listening to music like I normally would!

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  20. I completely understand your struggle with finding activities to do while listening to audiobooks! It can be hard to find something to do while still focusing, and that’s a current struggle for me. I grew up with my mom doing a lot of read-alouds for homeschool, and my family for years has listened to audiobooks together for language arts or on long beach trips in the car. I feel like both of those settings are easier because you’re sitting down and relaxed and concentrating completely on the story? Audiobooks contain such fond memories for me, and I’d like to get back into them now that I’m older! 🙂

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    1. Yes! When listening to an audiobook the activity has to be just right! It has to keep me busy enough that my mind won’t start to wander, but it also has to be something that doesn’t require all of my concentration, that way I can focus on the audiobook!

      I feel like my mind would wander if I tried to just listen without doing something else at the same time. If I were too relaxed, I’d zone out and wouldn’t process the story. I’m very visual, so it’s difficult for me to focus on something that’s purely auditory. But I think it’s really cute that you listened to so many books with your family! It definitely makes sense that you’d have such fond memories! I hope that if you start listening to audiobooks again, you have a wonderful experience with them once again!

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  21. Welcome to the land of audiobooks! So excited you get to join us. XD It’s definitely understandable that you haven’t been able to process them in the past, and even without sensory issues, I can also zone out during audiobooks – so I can’t imagine what it’s like for you! The important thing, I think, is to pick books that are not only GOOD on audio, but BETTER on audio. For example, I highly recommend all of Elizabeth Acevedo’s books on audio. I read her first book physically, but after listening to With the Fire on High on audio, I realized that the audiobooks are actually a better experience than the physical books. Which is unbelievably amazing. Full cast audiobooks are also really good… you might have to do some digging to find them, but some audiobooks are really worth it! Other than that, I stick to podcasts… less pressure to pay attention there. 😉 Lovely post! Good luck with your reading journey!

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    1. Thank you! 😊 Yeah, having a sensory processing disorder that affects how I process audio definitely affects my ability to focus on and listen to audiobooks! But now that I know that this is an issue I have, I’ve been working on ways to listen to audiobooks that will work with the way my brain processes auditory information! For example, I’m trying very hard to find activities that ensure I don’t zone out!

      I think that’s a really great point! I’ve heard so many fantastic things about Elizabeth Acevedo’s books that I’m considering re-reading The Poet X via audio! And hopefully since it’s a reread I’ll be less bothered if I miss a word. I honestly think that Long Way Down was a fantastic audiobook, but at the same time I’d really love to read the book to see which format I think is better in! And I’m actually listening to a full cast audiobook right now, and really enjoying it!

      I have listened to some podcasts I’ve enjoyed, and you’re definitely right! There’s way less pressure to pay attention and hear every word! It’s been a while since I’ve listened to one though, so you may have inspired me listen again soon!

      Thank you! 💕


  22. i love this post, malka!! i think i only started getting into audiobooks last year, and even then it was maybe 4 (and for 3 of them i had other ebook/physical copies to help if i needed — the one i didn’t have one for was actually long way down, coincidentally!). i relate a LOT to being a very visual person. even after having listened to a lot more audiobooks now, i still struggle to pay attention / retain what happened in the book lmao

    but it’s strange because audios are also sometimes the only way i can actually get myself to read a book! i think that, like you, i’m not going to be super big on audiobooks, both because i do struggle more to remember the events of the book, and also because i don’t have access to as many without scribd. but i’m glad i tried them out!! (and i’m really excited for netgalley’s upcoming audio options)

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    1. Thank you so much! I’ve actually just finished my second audiobook and I really enjoyed it as well! So now I just need to find more highly recommended audiobooks to listen to! Thankfully I’ve managed to figure out a pretty good listening system that doesn’t interfere with the fact that I’m a visual learner, but it relies on me doing puzzles, which I obviously don’t do all the time! And on top of that I feel like I grasp the words better when I read physically, even if I’m processing the audio just fine. (I’m not sure my previous sentence makes sense, but it’s the best way I can explain it). I think that physical books will just always be my preference!

      Oh, that’s so interesting! Since I’m so new to audio, I don’t really consider them as an option when I’m thinking of the format I want to read the book in. I also think that I’m still in the testing phase of my relationship with audiobooks, so I’m not quite sure where I stand with them yet, but I don’t think I’ll ever be a super-fan. But I have a library that has lots of audiobooks for me to try out, so as long as they have books I’m interested in, I’ll probably listen to an audiobook every once in a while, now that I know I can! (And I’m way too scared to ever try out an audiobook through NetGalley! My relationship with that site is already strained enough!)

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  23. This was a fun discussion! I tried listening to an audiobook once, and it probably wasn’t the best book that I could have chosen, because it was long and rather boring. Lol, listening to it made me rate the book 2 stars. The problem was that I also have trouble focusing on things that I’m listening to; I’m pretty visual in that sense. I can tune things out very easily but still focus on them in a weird way. But that’s only with things that I know, like if I was listening to a song or something. With a song, I could zone out but then pick up from any random place when I hear just one word. With an audiobook, that’s impossible because I don’t know what’s coming next, so if I zone out, I have no idea what happened and I’m disoriented. And I hate having to go back, so I’m like why bother? I can read the book twice as fast and actually understand the story. I also don’t really do that many things that require me not to focus, so listening to an audiobook is inconvenient anyway. But I still want to give them a try again, so I’ll re-check out Veronika’s post.

    I hope your experience with audiobooks has continued to be great 🙂 Amazing discussion ✨

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    1. And ahh, I forgot to mention before but I saw Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys on your shelf (I’m totally not stalking 😂) Tthe nostalgia and memories 😭❤ Do you still read them? I tried re-reading a Nancy Drew book (Captive Witness) but I couldn’t get past the first 2 chapters…😬
      And I never read a Hardy Boys book in full, so any recommendations? I always skipped around with Nancy’s books, so do you think I could skip around with the Hardy’s too?

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    2. Thank you! Awwww, long and boring sounds terrible! So far the two audiobooks I’ve listened to have been short and interesting, and I’m very grateful for that!

      I’m super visual too, and focus is problem that I struggle with as well! I think that songs are different, because as you said you know the words already, but with audiobooks they require your full attention whenever you listen. And as someone that can easily get distracted by something visual and therefore turn an audiobook into background noise, that made audiobooks very difficult to listen to. That’s why I had to rewind so much! My brain kept zoning out! But I don’t really mind going back, since I’m aware that I have auditory focus problems.

      I think that audiobooks are great if you’re already doing tasks that you can focus on while listening to audiobooks. Because then you’re not adding an activity into your daily routine just to listen to a book. Instead you’re naturally reading more while doing an activity that keeps you from visually reading at the same time! So if you don’t have any activities that are conducive to audiobooks, I wouldn’t start listening to audiobooks just yet!

      But I’d definitely recommend checking out Veronika’s post the next time you want to try out an audiobook! Not only does she have so many great tips, but she also has fantastic recommendations for what to read as well, so hopefully the next book you try out won’t be long and boring!

      So far I’ve only listened to two audiobooks, but I’ve continued to be impressed! I hope that the trend continues the next time I pick up an audiobook!

      Thank you! 💕

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      1. Oh wow! Those are books from childhood! As you said, there’s lots of nostalgia tied to those books!

        I haven’t picked up a Nancy Drew book in years, and I don’t think I ever will again because I think that I’ve grown out of them, and won’t appreciate them on reread! Some books are still on my shelf for the memories, and not because I’ll ever read them again! (Although there’s a good chance I’d recommend and possibly lend them out to younger friends and relatives!)

        I actually haven’t read The Hardy Boys! Those were my brother’s books, but they got put on my shelf because I have so many bookshelves! Even though I haven’t read them, I assume you can skip around! But maybe ask someone who knows more than me about that series!

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