What I honestly think about Audible!

Let’s turn back the clock 30 years when the 17 year old me thought ‘audio book cassettes’ were for either small children or the elderly. No one my age would dream of listening to any, even when they came accompanied with the written book! But I always secretly wished I could listen to them but felt I would be uncool.. A few years later, my father, a lover of poetry, books and literature was diagnosed with a brain tumour and eventually lost most of his sight. Reading was his life. The two went together. Where there was my father, there was also a book. In any home he had, he always had to have a library / study. Therefore, as soon as his eye sight started fading, I went out and bought all the audio CDs\books that I could find, as frustratingly, there was never a big selection.
After not being able to read a for a short while, watching my father’s smile as he listened to his favourite writers & stories, was absolutely priceless.

There is something very comforting and subtly nostalgic with being read to. Perhaps this evokes memories of childhood or of times of illness, whatever it may be to you, it takes you out of your own world and onto an all immersing other.

Forward to the early 21st Century, audio CDS/ books are now close to obsolete, but books as always, are predominant. After centuries of enjoying a book, feeling it’s pages against your fingers,  brushing your hands against its shiny cover, and reading the epilogue for hints, and for some, like me, finding it sacrilege to turn the top corner of the page as it’s bookmark or highlight or underline words and quotes of meaning, after all that tangibility of textures and senses, and individual reading rituals, came the Kindle.

The concept and practicality of a kindle made sense. Most come with a light,  no trees would be chopped down because of them (though recycling them is possibly not done as much as paper is, even though Amazon does urge customers to recycle and gives ample information on how to do so), and they are immensely helpful for the traveller who doesn’t want to carry a number of heavy books in their suitcase that could be taken up with more useful, lighter things. Despite all these advantages, I swore I would never replace a book with a Kindle and until this day I haven’t.  I have however, replaced some books with Audible, and here are the reasons why:

(Note, the above was written before the coronavirus made it’s appearance and from below, I’m writing in a self-isolating, lock down time).

I absolutely love Audible because of how easily accessible it is. I have also noticed there are certain literature and certain times when Audible works better, say perhaps with a motivational self-help book, or play, or biography or books of a scientific or historic nature. Of course everyone has their own ways of perceiving so these suggestions may not work for you. On a normal, non-coronavirus day, it’s handy for when one is travelling, or when one is busy, getting ready for work, or unwinding, and even perhaps whilst cooking. It’s also company for those who are alone, or wish for alone time. I, personally, listen to Audible at times when I am cooking, getting ready for work, having dinner alone and sometimes in bed before sleeping. And of course, it goes without saying that it’s most comforting and useful if you are visually impaired, or too tired or ill to pick up a book and use what little energy you have left to read. In these cases too, when I suffered from chronic fatigue, Audible was my best friend. 

 Now, let me tell you a bit about my present Coronavirus lockdown situation. I was in between homes, staying with a friend until I find my new place. Once the virus became an epidemic, and before it was any where near a lock down, I decided to go stay with my mother and daughter for a couple of weeks. Those weeks are now probably going to turn into months, and whilst quickly packing for my short stay at my mom’s, reading wasn’t top of my list. Therefore, I brought two books with me, one nearly finished, and the other a new but easy read. I said to myself that if those books finished, I’d get onto my Audible and finally finish what I have already started there.

Presently, I’m 40 pages away from finishing one book, and finished the other. The idea of ordering books somehow feels indulgent at a time when we are all globally finding it hard to even have our basic needs of food and toilet paper and Sanitisers met!

That, plus the fact that I’d like to complete anything I have half done, makes it the perfect time for me to restart my audible subscription. Yes, you can stop audible any time, and keep all you already have as long as you go back to subscribing within 3 months. 

So, what do I have yet to finish? And what have been my top Audible books so far?
Well, I just had a look and there’s a lot I’ve yet to listen to, and I am looking forward to hearing the following below, to name a few, after I finish ‘The Dissolution of Czechoslovakia’ by Charles R Editors first! (What can I say, I want to know more about the history of Czechia!). 

To start listening to:

1. The Beekeeper of Aleppo - Christy Lefteri
2. A Watermelon, a Fish, and a Bible - Christy Lefteri
3. The Audible Theatre Collection - Chekhov - Anton Chekhov
4. Crush it like Cleopatra - Sera Baker

And so far, amongst others, Below are the books I’ve most enjoyed:

1. Broken Glass - Arthur Miller 
It was so refreshing to listen to an amazing playwright’s play, with theatre actors. Nothing like it, in my opinion! Listened in one sitting of course. 

2. The Life & Times of Jean-Paul Sartre - Gary Cox
I found this book covered soooo much of Sartre’s life, from beginning to end, his personality, philosophies, relationships and what was going on in the world at the time. A real eye opener to Sartre and all that he did. Made me want to know more about certain philosophies, certain questions and also, about Simone de Beauvoir.

3. And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hussein 
I would only listen to this in bed, as my bedtime story. Enveloped in a fable style, beautiful and evocative. Wonderful to hear Khaled Hussein read himself, and just when I though it couldn’t get better, came along Shoreh Aghdashloo’s voice. What a voice! I found myself looking forward to the story, sometimes, just so I could hear her voice! 

4. Promise me, dad - Joe Biden 
I always wanted to know more about Joe Biden, and so, I did. The book had me in tears at times and also gave me a little glimpse of American politics and relations for that time. 

Do you have Audible? If so, what do you love about Audible and what have been your favourite books so far? And if you don’t have Audible, would you want to give it a try? Do let me know in the comments!

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