Kids in superhero costumes holding out speech bubbles that say bam, pow, and boom.

I can’t read comic books. I love the superhero stories, but have only been able to connect with them on film and television. There’s too much visual information on the page for my brain to process. I don’t know where to look or what order to read things. It’s much more complicated than that, of course, but it’s the best I can do to explain it. 

I used to think I couldn’t listen to audiobooks, either. I just couldn’t keep my attention on what was being said without some sort of visual to go along with the story. 

I tried. I really did.  I joined Audible in the days where they would send out tapes. Not even CDs. Tapes. I would listen on the bus or  in my car on the drive to and from work, but I just couldn’t retain anything. I canceled and restarted my membership several times, but it never took. Even once Audible moved to streaming, I just couldn’t seem to process and follow the stories very well. 

Until last October, when a friend from choir recommended listening to one of her favorite authors. She’d mentioned her before and I don’t know what was different this time, but I looked the author up when I got home. I’d recently started knitting (again) and one of her series was about the women in a knitting group, so maybe that was it. 

I joined Audible again and downloaded the first title in her knitting series. It was Neanderthal Seeks Human, by Penny Reid. I’ll review the book in another post; for now I’ll just say that I was hooked. Not just by the book, but by audiobooks in general. 

I think part of it’s the more advanced app on my phone that can sync where I am in the book, skip back a few seconds, and turn itself off with a sleep timer. It’s also narrator dependent. I don’t know if I just hadn’t come across a really talented narrator before, but now I know there are some that can really hold my attention and create distinct voices for different characters. There are some that can’t and I now know to listen to a sample first to make sure I like the narrator!

Plus, I discovered Audible Escape, which is a program within Audible where you pay $12/month to listen to as many romance audiobooks designated as part of that collection as you want. Makes it easier to go through lots of audiobooks when you don’t have to purchase them individually. You can check out 10 at a time and it’s funny to me that I have a few favorites I refuse to take out of my queue. I’m a book hoarder at heart, even in digital formats. 

In the ensuing six months, I have listened to 66 books. It will be 67 tonight after I finish my latest – Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper. That’s almost three times the number of books I generally read in a year. 

Not that I don’t read a lot, I’m just really slow. One of the great things about audiobooks is that I can listen to them while I do art because I’m using different parts of my brain. That gives me more time for reading, hence the increase in books read.

Serious little girl with blue eyes wearing gray dress sitting on sofa in living room and using smartphone to listen to audiobook in headphones. with text that says Er, listened to. Whatever.

One of the not so great things about audiobooks is that I can’t listen to them while I try to concentrate on other things involving words or numbers. Between scheduled school breaks, snow/flood days, and the coronavirus, I have had very little time to myself this year. That has led to an upswing in stress and overwhelm that I am dealing with by escaping into stories. It has been a battle to turn off the audiobooks and do the word and number work that seriously needs to get done. 

I have discovered a dozen new (to me) authors I’m dying to share! I intended to start reviewing the books on the blog as I read them, but haven’t been able to make myself concentrate enough to do it.  Since we’re all stuck at home now, I think I need to start. 

So this is me starting. 

This experience made me wonder if I could learn to read comic books, too, so I got some Buffy, Firefly, Doctor Who, and Jessica Jones books to try. Nope, still can’t process them and it makes my brain hurt to try. I can’t really imagine how my abilities in that area will change, but I’d love to be wrong. In the meantime, I’m still loving the MCU.

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