All About My Super-Secret Way to Double the Number of Books You Read in a Year
OK, it’s not that big of a secret. If you want to double the number of books you read in a year, listen to audiobooks. I always have one "regular" book and one audiobook going at the same time. It's not cheating, I swear! It's seizing an opportunity. I have a little kid at home along with a blog, a freelance business, and a part-time “day job.” Sitting and reading books for hours during the day is not a luxury I have. It’s not that I don’t have the time per se. It’s that I have other things to do that keep me from sitting down with a book, which brings me to the reasons why I love audiobooks.
- Look Ma no hands. Because I don’t have to park my butt and hold a book, I can do other things while I “read” like clean the house, do the dishes, drive, walk, or jog. This is the reason I started listening to audiobooks in the first place.
- Overdrive appeals to my frugal side. Audiobooks are EXPENSIVE! That’s why I use Overdrive to borrow audiobooks from the library. So instead of allocating my hard-earned money to a few audiobooks, Overdrive lets me listen to as many as I want! Of course, I can borrow eBooks with Overdrive or go to the library and get some old-fashioned books, but that doesn’t solve my time problem. I also don’t live close to my local library, and I’m terrible about remembering to return books. Sorry, Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh! Overdrive solves this problem by returning the audiobooks for me.
- I read books I otherwise wouldn’t have read. With Overdrive I get impatient, and the most popular audiobooks, the ones I’m dying to listen to, always have a waitlist. So, while I wait for those audiobooks, I check out whatever's available, and I haven’t been disappointed yet. I’m also not afraid to stop listening to an audiobook that doesn’t jibe with me on Overdrive because I didn’t buy it. That being said, I am also more likely to stick with an audiobook I don't love because my brain doesn’t process it as the same kind of time commitment as reading a regular book. This helps me stick with books that challenge me in one way or another.
- I can read more nonfiction. As much as I love nonfiction, my only time to sit with a book is right before bed and nonfiction gets me too riled up to sleep. Also, good, well-researched nonfiction can be hard to get through. I find it easier to digest the information when it’s dictated to me. This tactic, for me, follows the law of diminishing returns though. Some books are so heavy or information-laden that they require a closer reading than audiobooks allow.
- Memoirs read by the author are the best. I am a sucker for any audiobook that is read by the author, but memoirs, in particular, are so much better this way. The author, in essence, gets to tell their own story. My favorite audiobook memoir is Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I’ll get some disagreement on this point because there are some great fiction audiobooks out there that aren't read by the author. In the best ones, either different narrators are used for different characters or one narrator uses different voices for different characters. These approaches add their own layer of entertainment and some people think these are better than audiobooks read by the author. To each their own.
If you take a look at my Goodreads account, you’ll notice that most of the books on my read shelf are not audiobooks. If I'm being honest, I’m way too lazy to find the exact version/form of the books I read. Social media, including Goodreads, is another one of those time sinks I loathe. You can safely assume that I consumed about 1/3 to 1/2 of the books on my read shelf in audiobook format. Some people may judge me for that, but that’s a topic for a different day. Are you already a fan of audiobooks? Are you considering adding some to your TBR list? What are your favorite audiobooks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!