In this day and age, people are busier than ever. We, as a society, are taught to juggle so many things at once without so much as a bathroom break. At least for me, it sometimes feels like I am simply just walking around like I'm a zombie. No time for enjoyment and solely focused on the task at hand! One thing that I have missed since my life has gone into high gear has been reading. I used to spend hours upon hours exploring new worlds, meeting new characters, and being lost in a dream. But since I have discovered audiobooks, it has reignited that old flame for reading that I once had - and I am not the only one! Thousands of people from around the world are loving audiobooks...but what exactly is the appeal?
1. Flexibility - Anywhere, Anytime!
While I still love reading from an actual book that's in my hands, it is not the most practical way to enjoy stories in the modern-day, fast paced way of life. You not only have to lug the book wherever you may want to read it, but you have to make the effort to read when the location may not be the best (i.e. a crowded bus, a supermarket, etc.) But with an audiobook, as long as you have a listening device and some way to listen to said device, you're set! You can listen to the newest thriller or an old classic wherever you want to as long as you have a moment to spare. As a busy college student, my personal favorite time to listen to my audiobook is my daily walk to and from my classes!
2. Ability to Imagine Even the Most Complex of Stories
Sometimes it can be very hard to even imagine, or start to imagine, what is happening in a book, especially one that you may not be stoked to read or one that may be particularly dense. You will have read two pages of a book, realize that you have no idea what you just read, and have to read the same thing all over again. If you cannot imagine what you are reading, it can make it difficult to engage with a story. But with an audiobook, you have a professional storyteller interpreting the author's words for you - all you have to do is relax and listen. While you may not stay engaged 100% of the time with an audiobook, it definitely doesn't hurt to help create a movie in your very own mind!
3. Experience Your Faves in a Brand New Light
I have been a huge Harry Potter fan pretty much my whole life, or at least as long as I can remember. Even through my darkest times of being bullied or manipulated, Hogwarts was always there to welcome me home. I have seen all the movies, read all the books, and even dabbled in some fanfiction (the shame, I know). I never thought I could replicate the magic I felt the first time I picked up a Harry Potter book, but I have never been so happy to be proven wrong. Narrated by the magical and wonderful Jim Dale (U.S.) and Stephen Fry (U.K.), these men have breathed fresh life into the already established series. It truly feels like I am experiencing it all for the first time and I am so excited that Harry Potter is just the first in a long line of books that have been reimagined for the digital age.
4. Learning a New Language Just Got a Whole Lot Easier
Something that almost everyone can agree on is that learning a new language, especially one that may be very different from your native tongue, is hard. While some kids can get practice books or take classes in school, the only true way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in a place where that language is spoken. So yes, an audiobook is not completely immersing yourself in a culture, but it is one step closer to being able to communicate with a whole new group of people. For example, I have been listening to classic children's stories, ones that I have known for years, in different languages. Not only does it get me closer to really understanding a new language, but it's a fun puzzle too!
5. Say Goodbye to Awkward Silences!
Ahh, awkward silences - something all humans can say they have experienced in life. Sometimes it can be when something has just been said that probably should have remained a thought or when there is simply just nothing left to say. Regardless of its origin, it happens. But instead of trying to force a conversation, try an audiobook! Either you and your friend(s) could enjoy a new adventure together that can do the talking for you or it can allow you all to take a breather and recoup with your own audio journey. And even if it is just you, it can just help with keeping yourself entertained while completing mundane tasks - my personal battle is doing my laundry. Audible to the rescue!
6. Accessibility - Everyone Deserves to Enjoy Reading
Something that I never truly realized until the last few years is that there is a significant part of the world's population that cannot enjoy reading as most people can. Something as seemingly simple as picking up a book and reading it is something that roughly 253 million people across the world cannot do without some form of assistance. Reading has become such an integral part of who I am, and without my glasses, I would not be able to partake in one of my favorite things to do. But now with an audiobook, people that are blind or visually impaired can explore whole new worlds and share those experiences with their loved ones.
7. Engages a Whole New Generation of Readers
While I love to read, I am very much aware that many, if not most, people do not agree with me. Reading has become something that is forced on kids - the same old, dense, and sometimes stuffy classics have been brought on for every student to read. But instead of trying to find new ways for people to enjoy these classics, they have been trained to only consume these stories one way - physically reading the book. If some of these students had narrators setting up the story for them in new and inventive voices, a whole new generation of readers could emerge! Sometimes, you just need a helpful push to take the reading plunge, and from that, a forever reader will be born.
I was convinced for the longest time that audiobooks would not be for me. I loved physically reading a book! And while I still do and always will, audiobooks give me the chance to keep reading even when my schedule is at its busiest. With inventive storytellers, flexible schedules, and immersive experiences, everyone can find a reason to enjoy an audiobook. Take my advice and join the party!