The Challenge

Why I love Audiobooks

I love audiobooks. Mostly because:

 

Radio sucks.

There are only about five Nationally Recognized Corporation Approved artists that cycle the pop hits lists anyway. I can’t tell the difference between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry and whatever other recent addition to the girl pop star crowd. Which only makes it worse that…

 

I listen too hard.

If I hear a song one too many times, I start to try to make sense of the words, which is a futile attempt when it comes to pop songs. How can someone “fall into the sky”? That’s an annoying girlfriend, not a Black Widow. And who, by God, can possibly justify putting the emphasis on “tion” in the word “UncondiTIONal”??? That is the least important syllable in that word.

 

My own music is old.

I don’t care enough to update my music, so I will be literally listening to the same shit I listened to since college. And, how many times do you need to listen to the same song, really? Such a waste of time! I’d much rather learn or hear something new.

 

Audiobooks are great for trying new genres.

Just like a music rut, people can also get into a book reading rut, where they only read from a specific genre. I like to try new things, but I can’t for the life of me get myself to read something that I don’t immediately love. Even books that I enjoy but are not enthralling end up being a chore to slog through till the end. I’m a one book kinda girl, so I’ve spent a couple months reading one book that I didn’t even like.

Audiobooks, though, are great for books you can’t quite get into. Usually, I am doing something while reading an audiobook, so I am not exactly “wasting time.” For some reason, crappy writing doesn’t bother me as much if I am listening to audiobooks. Not sure why. I’ve read quite a few books that were really good, but I probably wouldn’t have finished it if I read it in book form.

 

And the browsing!

In prementioned book rut, a person might go to the same familiar area of the library each time. I like the limited selection that comes with CD audiobook perusing. They are all lumped together.

 

The engagement!

Have you ever noticed how often everyone takes their phones out while watching TV? TV is not engaging enough to capture your whole attention. I have a theory it’s because you don’t have to use your mind to picture what’s going on. Then, with commercials, you have completely lost me. I find myself playing games on my phone, aimlessly looking at Facebook, or getting something to eat. What the point of entertainment that doesn’t really entertain?

Audiobooks are so much more involved, with deeper plotlines, more in-depth characters, and fun, fantastical worlds that activate your imagination. I’ve found myself reading an audiobook instead of watching TV a lot lately. Most of the time, if I’m not doing anything else, I will play a game on my phone while I listen, but sometimes I get so involved, I don’t even do that.

 

The multitasking!

Audiobooks have the engagement of a paper book, but you don’t have sit down and dedicate time to them.

I have found that I can listen to audiobooks most of the time while I work. Since I do a lot of graphic design and web design, I have (another) theory that my pictures brain can be engaged while my words brain can listen elsewhere and be sucked into the magical world of an audiobook. The only thing I can’t do while listening to audiobooks is write or do heavy problem solving. Low engagement tasks like data entry, however, are excellent with audiobooks.

So, basically, I listen to audiobooks when I drive, work, clean, exercise, play games, and sometimes for fun. That’s pretty much all day. A typical audiobook is about 10-20 hours, so, if I like it, I can knock out a book in a day or two. That’s a pretty fantastic turnaround, considering that even if I like a book, I don’t usually finish a paper version faster than a couple weeks. Add to the fact that I also read paper books when time permits, I can put away quite a few books in a month. Which leads me to one of the things I have been doing for a while now…

 

The Challenge

Here are some essential things about me: 1) I like to try new things 2) I like to set myself massive, near impossible goals 3) I hate choosing and 4) I like documenting my progress.

All these culminated into the birth of The Challenge.

It started when the CD player in my car broke. I couldn’t get audiobooks on CD player anymore, so I finally tried out OverDrive.

OverDrive lets you check out audiobooks through an app on your phone, just a simple download and then you have them for 14 days. No going into the library, no late fees, etc.

OverDrive is useful, but it has some problems. It has thousands of books, but just kinda random ones. It can have book 3, 4, 27, and 32 of a series, but no others. It has some of the popular ones, but not all. I think it has to do with your library’s subscription. There are also waiting lists for many books.

The worst thing about OverDrive, though, is that it kinda hard to browse. You can look by subject, but it’s just not the same experience as a real person library.

When faced with a whole lot of random books I’ve never heard of only sorted by subject, I thought to myself, “well, I guess I’ll just read them all.”

The first goal I set was to read all the Regency Romance novels. I sorted by author and started at A. Well, I finished them all. So, now I have The Challenge.

The Challenge:

Read all audiobooks in the romance subject category of OverDrive.

 

There are 1,215 audiobooks in OverDrive right now. They are constantly updating, but I guess they get rid of some too.

Of course, now that I have a goal, I also came up with limitations.

 

The Rules:

  • Sort by author, and work through the whole catalog from A to Z.
  • Try each author once. If I don’t like the book, I can skip the other books by that author.
  • Make a valiant effort, however, to give the author a chance, if possible. Trying another book from another a different series is a good example.
  • Subgenres I’m allowed to skip: Christian, YA, Amish, and some Contemporary.
  • When looking for new books, start at A to see if there are any new additions.
  • When I finish a book, I can change the GoodReads listing to “read” and write a review.
  • Books consider “read” need to be at least half finished. If I give up on the book before then, I can skip the author,  but I can’t count the book as “read.”

 

I’m right now on the letter F.

This time around I am focusing on Paranormal Romance, but will also read other subgenres if they don’t look too boring. I am least in love with mystery romance, chick lit, and contemporary, but I’ve read some good ones from those so I’m willing to try.

I also read in paper form, and ebook form, so not all the books I review I read as audiobooks.

For last year’s progress through the OverDrive collection, and other reading, as well as my Super Sophisticated Rating System, check out my 2016 Booklist.