Listening to an audio book builds vocabulary just as reading does. It actually challenges your brain to comprehend words in various ways simultaneously. Pronunciation (which is why whenever I listen to something and the narrator mispronounces a word continuously through the production I cringe SO hard) and context become very important in deciphering previously unknown words or phrases. Depending on the speed of the narration, as well, your brain has to decipher these things more quickly than if you were physically reading and go back to verify information.
In fact, these are all reasons that educators and librarians now encourage a lot of students who are having trouble learning to read to listen to an audio book version of a story as they read along in the physical book. It helps children (and adults learning to read English for the first time) to build their vocabulary and comprehension. Listeners can also pick up grammar rules and preferred sentence structure without realizing.
Why am I sharing this info with you? Just because I love audio books so much I am continuously trying to find ways to lure readers over to the "dark side." HA. But seriously, I cannot remember exactly how old I was when I really started listening to audio books - it may have been when I started reviewing them for School Library Journal 10+ years ago - but I am a total addict now. I hate going anywhere in the car without one and I find myself continuing to listen while I fold laundry or wash the dishes now that I can load audio books onto my phone rather than relying on CDs in the car.
|Astrophysics for People in a Hurry|
Written and Narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson
audio book owned in my personal collection
I had been super excited to listen to Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson, both because I actually love astronomy and because NdGT reads it himself! I love listening to him speak. I was a little disappointed in this audiobook, though, honestly. I think because I already knew the majority of the information provided I found myself drifting in and out listening without even realizing I'd stopped listening. Having watched the Cosmos series that he did on TV, I also found myself missing the little graphics and animations to go along with the book's narration. Hopefully whatever non-fiction title I listen to next will hold my attention a little better.
|Blackwater: the Complete Series|
Written by Michael McDowell
Narrated by Matt Godfrey
Audio book sent for review
At the beginning of January I listened to Blackwater by Michael McDowell, an audio book I never would have picked out on my own. It is a compilation of McDowell's Caskey Family Saga novels (there are six of them) set in Alabama in the early 1900s. It is both a gothic Southern family saga and a horror story that unfolds slowly through the family's history over a period of several decades. Though I rarely pick up straight horror stories, I found myself captivated by this one as it really focused on the Southern family dynamics with only a sprinkling of horror tossed in. It was like watching a soap opera where suddenly a werewolf swoops in, grabs the family dog, runs off into the night and then isn't seen again for ten years (NOT what happens in the books, LOL).
Lastly, I find sometimes that if I realize a book I want to read is narrated by a certain person I will pick up the audio version rather than the printed. Narration can make a book come ALIVE. The best narrators are basically actors and man, can they deliver a good storytelling experience.
I was devastated when I learned earlier this month that one of my favorite audio book narrators, Katherine Kellgren, had passed away. She was an EXCEPTIONAL talent and I will most definitely miss what she brought to every book she narrated. I always knew that if she narrated the book it would be excellent, no matter the genre, intended audience, or author. She won many awards and deserved every one of them.
|Her Royal Spyness|
Written by Rhys Bowen
Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
audio book owned in my personal collection
So, that was the majority of my audio book listening in January. Aside from two titles sent for review, I stuck to my 2018 Books I Already Own Challenge in my listening, as well. *Victory Dance*
What about any of you? Do you love audio books as much as I do?