“It’s not possible, in the audiobook format, to get caught up in the words or language because there’s no space to reflect on or ponder them.”
I have always resisted audiobooks. I am able to read faster than the speed of audiobooks, so the latter never seemed efficient. I also become easily distracted and daydream easily, so I expected audiobooks to be frustrating. But for my new job, I drive an hour each way; my reading time is more restricted too. So audiobooks have become a solace during a difficult commute. I recently read AN OCEAN OF MINUTES by Thea Lim.
It’s not possible, in the audiobook format, to get caught up in the words or language because there’s no space to reflect on or ponder them. I notice character and plot far more easily. I am also more aware now of skillful transitions. AN OCEAN OF MINUTES takes place during two different time periods, but Lim paid quite a lot of attention to how the story moves between the past and present, so I am never lost. (I tried reading LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders in Audiobook format, but as innovative as the multi-cast audio format is, that’s a novel that I think is best understood in the text format.) I am reading in an entirely different way as a writer too. For the first time, I’m thinking about the best qualities of oral storytelling and how they can be used to strengthen storytelling on the page.
Mahak Jain writes fiction for children and adults. She lives in Toronto, where she is a professor of creative writing. Learn more at www.mahakjain.com.