Audiobooks are real books
by Allison Fiscus, Adult Services Coordinator
Do you want to read more, but never seem to find the time?
Perhaps you check out books from the Library (or even spend your hard-earned money on them!) only to move them from place to place throughout your home, never able to crack open the cover.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. No shame here. And, as a special treat, I’m here to tell you a secret — a solution to your reading woes that will change your life.
Have I piqued your interest? Are you intrigued? Lean in a little closer and I’ll share the magic answer…
But wait – audiobooks aren’t “real” reading, right? They “don’t count” and “aren’t the same” and “are cheating?”
Audiobooks are as real as that paperback copy of The Silmarillion that’s been sitting on your shelf unread for twenty years and as real as the barely held together copy of Goblet of Fire you’ve lovingly reread countless times. (Seriously, I’ve never seen a more inept binding.)
In many ways, audiobooks offer benefits that traditional reading doesn’t provide. Besides the science and the studies that show audiobooks
“If your child is easily frustrated by books, audiobooks can be real game-changers for capturing their attention and developing reading skills.“
an help readers (especially young ones) gain knowledge, increase vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension, I can tell you from experience that their true magic lies in the way listening to a book can make reading better.
So here are my top three reasons that you should give audiobooks a go.
1. They are convenient.
I read audiobooks
C O N S T A N T L Y.
When I’m driving, cleaning, getting ready, falling asleep, waking up, mowing the lawn, laying in the pool, making dinner, browsing the internet, shoveling snow, painting my nails, cutting my kids’ hair, trimming my dogs’ fur, walking, working out — the list is endless. I’m not even particularly great at multitasking, yet audiobooks not only work for me, they keep me focused.
And access to audiobooks is amazingly easy.
Many of us seem to have a phone attached to our hands much of the day. My phone currently holds the key to thousands of audiobooks via Toledo Library’s Libby and hoopla apps. With a few taps and swipes I can find a new book, check it out, download it, pop in my ear buds, and listen while I tackle my day.
So, for all of you that say “I just don’t have time to read,” I say, “audiobooks, my friend!”
2. They are versatile.
Like me, you can easily download audiobooks for free with a Library card and Toledo Library’s Libby and hoopla apps. You can also borrow a Playaway which comes preloaded with an audiobook, no WiFi or other device is needed. The Library also has audiobooks on CD, Wonderbooks for children, and Dial-A-Story.
In addition to the various formats, audiobooks are ideal for people of all different reading levels, accessibility needs, attention spans, and interests.
If your child is easily frustrated by books, audiobooks can be real game-changers for capturing their attention and developing reading skills. It is heartbreaking to see a child derailed from a love of books and learning simply because they are struggling with reading or see it as a chore. Audiobooks provide a relief valve from that tension and allow children to develop essential reading skills such as learning vocabulary, making predictions, phonetic awareness, and fluency.
Once books are linked to a positive and enjoyable experience through audiobooks, the path to becoming a strong lifelong reader is much more clear. Given the overwhelming evidence that reading is critical to success throughout school and beyond, audiobooks can fill an urgent need for children’s development and potential.
3. They expand your reading horizons.
There was a time in my life when I truly thought I would never read a nonfiction book. I was a fiction reader through and through, and unless a book involved some epic fantasy or swoon-worthy romance, I was out. There was just something about the real life, fact-driven aspect of nonfiction that seemed insurmountable, even to a lifelong reader like myself.
For me, when someone is speaking facts it is easier to keep focused, become engrossed in the words, and retain the information. Audiobooks opened a whole new world of books for me in ways I never could have imagined. I’ve now read histories of obscure American heroes (thank you, Sarah Vowell.) I’ve had astrophysics explained to me by Neil deGrasse Tyson himself and understood at least 20 percent of it! I’ve heard firsthand what it was like growing up as Barack Obama and as Colin Jost.
Audiobooks ended up being the key to unlocking a self-imposed limit to my reading life. When you have epic narrators such as Jim Dale voicing each character in Harry Potter with expert emotional application or Tina Fey applying her professional wit with precision cadence to the words of her memoir Bossypants, you quite simply gain more from the experience.
“Besides the science and the studies that show audiobooks can help readers (especially young ones) gain knowledge, increase vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension, I think their true magic lies in the way listening to a book can make reading better.“
So there you have it. Audiobooks are real books. They do as much good as printed words. They are not cheating. I invite you to try one today and see if they are a better fit for your way of life and habits. You might be surprised at how much more you are reading.
Where to start?
If I’ve convinced you that audiobooks are amazing, but you don’t know where to start, no worries, I’ve got you. Here are my recommendations for truly exemplary audiobooks across a range of genres and topics, all featuring top-notch narrators guaranteed to entrance you from word one.
You can also stop by or call any Library location for recommendations from your friendly neighborhood librarian catered specifically to you.
For all ages
The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
Tale from Alcatraz series by Gennifer Choldenko
The Fudge Series by Judy Blume
The Track Series by Jason Reynolds
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
The Martian by Andy Weir
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Circe by Madeline Miller
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehhead
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Razorblade Tears by S A Cosby
The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
Calypso by David Sedaris
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by
Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Don’t Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis
Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
What Happened to You by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey