This past October I joined in for my first Dewey’s Read-a-thon and it was a blast! Of course, that means I’m certainly not a pro at this. But I did make it 19 hours and 8 of those hours were spent listening to audio books. I learned some things about how to use audio books to have even more fun and I want to share those tips with you.
Tip #1 – Give audio a try at times reading isn’t an option
I figured we’d better start here, since I’m sure there’s at least one person out there saying, “I could never listen to an audio book.” I’ll admit (albeit a bit grudgingly), they aren’t for everyone. But I’ve seen quite a few people who thought they’d never like audio books become audio addicts (including me). If this is your first time trying out audio books, pull them out at times where you might otherwise have to stop reading. Perhaps you need to cook, drive to the store, or do some cleaning – these are all great times to pop in an audiobook.
Tip #2 – Use audio books to give your eyes and bottom a rest.
One of the ways audio books really helped me last Dewey’s was that they allowed me to keep reading while taking a break from sitting. I took my dog for several walks, hopped on the treadmill, and took a long hot shower – all while listening to audio books. This kept my body from getting all cramped and uncomfortable from sitting too long and gave my eyes a good break. The exercise really helped me get extra energy to keep going.
However, I would advise against sticking headphones in, turning the lights off, and lying down in hour 19. As much as you’d like to believe you’ll listen, my experience says you’ll just fall asleep.
Tip #3 – Give yourself a good variety of fun, simple audio books to listen to.
A mistake I made last time was trying to start a new-to-me fantasy, with lots of world building in hour 16. That wasn’t a good idea – I needed to focus on a book like that and that’s not the kind of listening for hour 16. I’d stay away from books that require you to catch tons of little details or that have lots of world building. It’s also probably not the time to try out narrators you’re not so sure about.
Right now, I’m stocking up on short-ish (5-10 hours) audio books by authors and narrators I know are light and fun. Stories that don’t need a lot of focus, will make me laugh, and keep me engaged. Everyone has their own favorites, but my pile will be filled with books by Molly Harper (narrated by Amanda Ronconi) and by Diana Rowland (narrated by Allison McLemore). If your looking for good series recommendations, I suggest this list over at Hot Listens. These ladies know their audio books.
Tip #4 – Try listening while reading
I’ve only listened while reading a couple of times, but each time it greatly improved my focus and lessened my distraction. So this is a tip I’m planning to pull out of my arsenal when I’m pushing through the finish line – so hour 22 or 23. There’s lots of books available in both print and audio – and if you have a book on Kindle you can often get it for really cheap on Audible. I figure having the words in front of me and hearing them will keep me from drifting off in those final hours! We’ll see!
These four simple tips to embracing audio books during this Dewey’s Read-a-thon might just add another layer of fun to your Read-a-thon experience – I know they’re a huge part of mine! And don’t forget, your local library probably carries quite a few audio books, via CD, Playaways, and even OverDrive.