I decided to sign up to Audibles the other week as they had a good deal on where the first three months were significantly reduced in price. I had always wanted to try out audiobooks as I thought they would be a great way to employ my time when travelling to and from places or getting ready, etc. Basically to fill in times where it would be tricky for me to get out a book and read. Also, I find it difficult to read fast and blog quickly so thought audiobooks may help to alleviate this pressure.
For my first audiobook I decided on something that wouldn’t be too intellectually exhausting (though it was emotional at times) and one that I wasn’t too fussed about reading per se. I decided on John Green’s bestseller, The Fault in Our Stars, which tells the sad story of a young girl, Hazel Lancaster, with terminal cancer. It has been on the New York Times Bestseller list amongst many others and I remember the hype surrounding this novel last year, when it was released.
Perhaps if I were a teenager when this novel came out I would have devoured it quickly and enjoyed it immensely. However, as my tastes have changed with age (and I have already read plenty of young adult books in my time) I found the novel lacking in originality. There were definitely moments that really struck me, for example, when Hazel overhears her parents talking and her mum cries, ‘If Hazel dies I won’t be a mother anymore’, or when Hazel and Augustus meet the author of ‘An Imperial Affliction’ for the first time to find out what happens to the characters in the novel and the author blasts them for believing that the characters continue to live beyond the pages of the book. But I feel I am definitely getting too old to enjoy teenage books, such as this one, anymore.
The point of this post, though, was not to give a review of The Fault in Our Stars, but to document my experience of listening to an audiobook for the very first time. In the title I have put in brackets that this will probably be the last time and the reason is as follows: I love reading books. The joy of reading a book is to see the words across the page, to see the visual representation of the story. By just listening, I feel that the magic of the words are lost to me. Despite the fact that the first stories that existed were oral and meant to be memorised and said aloud, and that silent reading didn’t always exist and that I learnt to read by listening to my parents reading to me, I just couldn’t get into audiobooks. I found that my concentration tended to wander when I didn’t have anything concrete in front of me to look at. At one point, whilst listening to The Fault in Our Stars in bed, I actually fell asleep and woke up hearing the end of the book in the early hours of the morning! That never happens when I am reading a book, no matter how boring it is (and even if it did, there isn’t the fear that I could hear the ending!). So for these reasons I don’t think I will be continuing with audiobooks – unless it is Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter, which I really want to hear…