Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Audiobooks and the Impatient Reader (aka me)

I don't know about you, but I'm quite fond of audiobooks, particularly since they now come downloadable to one's favourite electronic device via the internet, rather than in boxes of countless CDs or, for those of you who remember, actual tapes. Those things always seemed to conspire against me by hiding the most important part somewhere so that I'd end up buying the book anyway (I have the sneaking suspicion that the cause for the cd/tapes disappearance is somehow related to the One Missing Sock phenomenon). These days (thankfully) it's hard to lose parts of your audiobook if it's right there on your phone or what have you. 

But I digress. 

So, I've told you I'm quite fond of audiobooks, particularly for long car journeys, boring waits for appointments, long, solitary walks and even during my runs. The problem is that some books are rather exiting, and it turns out that I have no patience WHAT SO EVER.

My most recent audiobook favourite is The Lion of Senet by Jennifer Fallon. It's an older book,  a fantasy of the political intrigue kind (no real magic). Brilliant book, the first of a trilogy, and so engrossing that about halfway through I had to buy the ebook and finish it RIGHT AWAY.  

The problem, you see, is that I read somewhat faster than the presenters of audiobooks are capable of telling the story. I've always been a fast reader, easily finishing exiting books in a single day (well, if they're not too long, anyway), and I've been known to read late into the night to find out WTF happens to the hero/heroine...(way too late, in fact...)...

In and of itself this is not a problem. Right? Right.

BUT.... well.

I've never done a course on speed reading (and yes, there is apparently such a thing), but it's through my troubles with audiobooks that I figured out the way I read so fast:

I skip things.

And by that I don't just mean that (GASP!!!) I sometimes flip to the end of a book to see what the last page says (SACRILEGE!!). I skip words and sentences and let my mind fill in the blanks. I'll consciously read, say, (and I'm guessing here) every 6th, 7th, 10th word, and just sort of register the rest of them.

I think.

Which explains the problem of ebooks... you can't skip ahead (well, not easily, anyway), and if you make it play faster you get Mickey Mouse voices. *grumbles*

It's frustrating!

So here's my point, or rather question, for the day (and yes, I have one):

What type of reader are you, and, if you're a writer, what type of reader do you think would enjoy your book most?

There's all sorts of readers out there, and I'm in no way saying that one way is better or more legitimate than another (where would be the fun in that?). Some people like to savour every word and ponder sentences, others drop into the flow of things and can't stop without getting to the heart of the book. Some skip ahead like me, and some would never even dream of looking at the last few pages ahead of time.

Do you think there's a certain type of book that invites (or seduces?) the reader to hurry forward in their nail-biting exitement to figure out who it was, and others that invite the reader to linger? Is it a genre question?

Let me know what you think!

I promise next time I'll tell you all about that One Missing Sock Phenomenon. : )


  1. Oh,, I'm definitely a 'read every fourth word" kind of reader - in fact, part of the reason I married my husband is he's the only person I ever met who can read faster than I can. I've never tried to listen to an audiobook, and now you've de-incentivized the activity even more.

  2. I linger on every word in some sections and then burst carelessly through other chapters with barely a glance. Depends on the character or if I'm bored (sorry, JRRT) of the history of the Ents.

    Do love an audiobook though!