No, I’m not going to rehash the issue of whether audiobooks “count.” As long as the audiobook you listen to is unabridged, it counts as having read the book, just as does reading an ebook.
However, I recently listened to two audiobooks that reminded me that sometimes I prefer to listen and sometimes I prefer to read from a print or ebook version.
The Island by Adrian McKinty
- Little, Brown & Company Audio, 2022
- Narrated by Mela Lee
- ISBN 978-1-54-912242-2
Newlywed Heather Baker hopes that a family vacation to Australia will provide the much-needed opportunity to build a rapport with her new family. Heather is much younger than her new husband Tom Baxter, a widowed doctor with a 14-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son. Heather has always been insecure, and Tom’s children resent her addition to their family. As their plane flies out of Seattle, she longs to find a way to begin to bond with the children.
But the children find the Australian outback hot and boring. When they discover a ferry to remote Dutch Island, Tom talks the reluctant ferry operator into taking them to the island in hopes that the kids will be able to see kangaroos and koalas there. But the island is run by an extended family of locals who have no use for outsiders. Then an auto accident forces Tom into confrontation with the local family. As the locals prepare to take vengeance from Tom, Heather manages to escape into the surrounding wilderness with the children. The situation quickly escalates, with the locals vowing to hunt down and kill them.
This fast-paced thriller was a perfect audiobook for a vacation road trip. The characterization is dramatic and explicit, with no need to reread (or relisten) to catch subtle nuances. I’ll look for other books by McKinty the next time we hit the road.
© 2023 by Mary Daniels Brown
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Random House Audio, 2018
- Narrated by Adepero Oduye
I wanted to read this short novel because it received lots of awards: Booker Prize Nominee Longlist (2019), Anthony Award, Best First Novel (2019), Women’s Prize for Fiction Nominee (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Mystery & Thriller and for Debut Novel (2019).
Because the novel is set in Nigeria and contains names I had no idea how to pronounce, I decided to listen to the audiobook. I was happy to hear the names. However, the novel is broken into many short sections, each with a label. As the story unfolded, I began to wish that I was reading rather than listening because I would have liked to see the way the sections were set off on the pages.
This is not a big deal because I can certainly check the print version out of the library and take a look at it. But this experience did remind me of some of the differences between reading the print book and listening to the audio version. these differences don’t make one format inherently better than the other, but they do mean that the experiences are different. And recognizing those differences will help me in future decisions about whether to read or listen.
© 2023 by Mary Daniels Brown
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