So something monumental happened in my reading life last week – I listened to an entire audiobook! I have literally never done this before! I have once listened to a chapter of a book, but it was a super intense book about mental health, so I never went back to it.
(A note: I am not here for any hot takes about how ~listening to audiobooks isn’t reading~, ok? That’s ableist as fuck, and I’m not interested in your opinion. Goodbye.)
So, how did this happen? Well. I bought a load of audiobooks on Audible last year, because I had the intention of listening to some releases that I was excited about. However, because they weren’t immediately visible on my Kindle or bookshelf, I forgot about them. Then last week I was given a long and particularly boring job at work – basic data entering that takes no brainpower at all. I knew that this would take a couple of days, so rather than blasting through dozens of Youtube videos, I thought that I would try one of my audiobooks.
The book that I chose was Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Pérez. This is about:
…the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.
It basically looks at the reasons why smartphones are too big for most women’s hands, doctors often prescribe drugs that are wrong for women’s bodies, and why women are 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a car accident. (And while this isn’t really a review for the book, let me tell you, it was super interesting.)
I’m really glad that I chose a nonfiction book as my first real audio experience, because I do have a bit of a tendency to zone out every now and again. With this book, it didn’t really matter if I zoned out, because I was very quickly able to figure out what the narrator was talking about. It also at times had lots of lists of statistics and things, which was really calming to listen to, for some reason! It really got me into a more meditative state when combined with the mindless data entry that I was doing.
My first audiobook experience was also helped by the fact that it was relatively short – Invisible Women was just over 9 hours. This meant that I was able to get through it in just under two working days. I think this really helped keep my attention, and just generally remember that I was listening to something. I wonder if I would’ve been so committed to listening if I had to remember it over multiple days.
I’m also realising now how lucky I was that the narrator was so good. (I didn’t look into the narration for my other audiobooks, so I hope that they’re as good as this one was!) This audiobook was narrated by the author, who has quite a soothing voice. She is also able to (on the whole) pronounce a lot of the names of the academics that she interviews and cites.
So, what’s my next audiobook going to be? I think I’m going to continue listening to nonfiction. I have a copy on Audible of The Five by Hallie Rubenhold, which is a look into the untold lives of five women killed by Jack the Ripper. This is just over 10 hours, which I think I can get through in a couple of days. I’m also interested in maybe listening to my next audiobook on a slightly higher speed, but I guess I won’t decide that until I listen to the narrator for a chapter or two. I was also thinking that I might listen to some of it when I can’t sleep at night, but given the content of this one, I might save that for a less murder-y title.
Do you listen to audiobooks? What’s your favourite one? Let me know!