Audiobooks Vs. Book-Books

15 Feb

I read physical books, ebooks, and listen to audiobooks — I love books in all forms. I choose audiobooks mainly for travel and exercise/chores. The last two books I listened to brought home for me the debate over whether audiobooks or book-books are best. I generally say the more the merrier. If you can get in more reading by listening then all power to you. However, the experiences I just had made me reconsider. My problem wasn’t a bad narrator or technical difficulties. It revolved around content, of which the book-books and audiobooks share.

I’m not going to share the titles of the audiobooks — one was general market and one was Christian fiction — because I disliked them both! The general market had adult situations and language I could do without, while the CF also had some adult language and had some pretty graphic violence. Basically I couldn’t unhear any of those things.

When reading a physical copy or ebook, you can skim. When faced with a scene that should have remained behind a closed door or one that inspires nightmares, I can skip ahead. And when a particularly nasty word is presented I don’t have to sound it out in my head. Listening often feels like a slap in the face.

General market offerings often have things I don’t like, so I usually do more research before choosing a book to read or listen to. On the other hand, I am more trusting of Christian fiction, especially when published by the traditional houses, and often don’t do a thorough vetting process.

I still listen to audiobooks. In fact, I am currently listening to Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd, my book club’s March selection. It is excellent, by the way (see blurb below). No offensive language or cringe-inducing scenes, just wonderful storytelling. But I am going to be more discerning going ahead. Even if a book is CF, if I don’t know anything about it or the author (which I didn’t) I’ll look at reviews, especially of trusted book friends. I have a list of wonderful reviewers on the sidebar to turn to.

So what do you think?

Audiobooks or book-books?

Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

7 Responses to “Audiobooks Vs. Book-Books”

  1. Suzanne Sellner February 15, 2023 at 7:44 am #

    I, too, loved Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd. In fact, I listened to that book and enjoyed it immensely. While I generally prefer reading print books, I love to redeem the down time while I’m getting dressed, doing my make-up and hair, and when I’m getting ready for bed. Audio books allow me to get in more “reading” while I’m doing those mundane tasks.

    I don’t know if you have any control over the lightness/darkness of the type in your reviews, but my eyes are getting old, and the darker the print, the better. For many years now, I’ve used your reviews as a gauge to determine what books I read, so I know in advance what to expect. Thank you for your sage advice.

    • rbclibrary February 15, 2023 at 10:37 am #

      Glad you liked Heirlooms! Sorry about the problem with the darkness of the font. I will look into it. And thanks so much for your continued encouragement of my efforts here on the blog. Your words mean the world to me.

  2. Barbara Harper February 15, 2023 at 10:39 am #

    I am much the same. I first started listening to audiobooks to make a commute seem less long and boring. Then I became hooked and now listen while getting ready in the mornings and sometimes while housecleaning. They’ve expanded my reading intake so much and have several advantages.

    But I agree about these disadvantages. I try to avoid books with bad language and objectionable scenes, but sometimes they surprise me. Profane words do seem more jarring when heard. And though my audiobook has a place to tap ahead 15 seconds, you never know if that’s enough. And by the time your realize you need to tap it, you’ve heard more than you want to.

    I wish books had a Parent’s Guide like IMDB has for films, where you can look up ahead of time whether a movie has objectionable material. Barring that, I guess we just have to be extra careful. One thing that helps, if I don’t know the author at all or know little about a certain book, is to look at the 1 star ratings for it on Amazon. Sometimes those will list whether the low rating is due to bad content.

    • rbclibrary February 15, 2023 at 10:52 am #

      Good advice. Unfortunately, the CF novel I mentioned was a nominee for a Christian fiction award. I figured I could count on that.

  3. Cindy Davis February 15, 2023 at 3:35 pm #

    I like both as well. However, I recently also ran into an issue with listening to an audio book that surprised me with it’s mild cursing (CF), I am was mad! I stopped listening to the book, then checked to see if the next book had the word in it (it did) and took it off my TBR. I had LOVED the first book and it was so disappointing.

    • rbclibrary February 15, 2023 at 3:59 pm #

      That’s too bad. I generally over look “mild” words, but the one I referenced had an insulting term that I find too much.

  4. Sue Wendt February 19, 2023 at 12:37 pm #

    I love audio books for when I am in the sewing room, but I agree that words or passages that could be skimmed in a print book are a bit off-putting to listen to. Luckily my selections this year have not been problem some. And lately I often get the same book in print (or ebook) and in audio format. That way I can listen while I work during the day and settle down for quiet reading time in the evening, polished a book faster. I also often need to read the first chapters in print to better settle into the story — who the characters are, etc.

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