JIAM: Sophia’s Aha Moments in Audio Listening

Posted June 16, 2017 by Jennifer in Blogger Guest Post | | 11 Comments



My Aha Moments In Audio Listening


My first listening experience with audio books was in August of 2014.  Although, come to think on it… it could be argued that it started when I was a child of six or seven sitting on the floor of my room engrossed in a book on a record.  “When you hear the chimes, please turn the page…”

But yes, 2014, I chose Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and narrated by the incomparable Davina Porter.  It took me nearly three months to listen to all 32 hours and 43 minutes of the beast.  Incidentally, that’s the one to snag if you want to get your free Audible trial credit’s worth.  Haha!  But at that point, I thought, wow, getting a story in audio is amazing.  I must do this again.


And serendipity, right on the tail of that thought, Delighted Reader was approached by the lovely Esther from Audible inquiring if we would accept audio books for review.  Both of us bobbed our heads gleefully.  Those first few months, I was offered a book at a time and all I knew beforehand was that it would have a romance element of sorts to meet our blog’s requirement.  Like getting the surprise book box each month.  So as a result, I started getting my first audio book review offerings.

The first book was a train wreck.  Both narrator and book weren’t a match- for me or for each other.  I could only say that the narrator’s voice annoyed me and exasperated my annoyance with the whiny heroine and lack of plot development.  This was that aha moment when I realized (don’t laugh) that all narrators are not created equal.  My satisfaction and enjoyment in Ms. Porter telling me Outlander was not a given each and every time.


The next few offerings were eh, and I was at the point where I could take or leave audio editions.  I struggled to focus on the story.  That’s when I figured out that I needed to be doing busy things rather than just sitting and listening- I was distracted or too tired.  Chores, exercise walks, and drives were now much more entertaining and suddenly audios weren’t so meh for me.


At this point, I was only reviewing about one book a month, but I wanted to do more and get better at my review posts now that I was reviewing this added component.  I would never steal another person’s style, but I still learn best by observing how other people do things so I was pleased to discover there were blogs who focused on audio book reviewing and offered discussion posts on occasion.  Big thanks to Loupe and Melanie @ Hot Listens, Jennifer @ The Book Nympho, April @ Eargasms, and Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer for each piece they contributed to me learning about audio reviewing.  


And, oh, another little breakthrough came when I noticed someone mentioning in their review that they adjusted the speed when they played the story.  We can adjust the speed?  Many of my early issues with audio books was that I felt the narration was sluggish.  Some apps have this feature and mine does.  Aha, zip it up to 1.5 or 2xs and problem solved.


But the biggest aha moment came from when I read an interview on Eargasms with a narrator talking about her craft.  She said, “The narrator is there to tell a story and needs to do whatever they can to stay out of the way of the story.”  This was the crux of it for me and audio listening.  The voices, accents, timing, tone, emotions, pacing, and pretty much every voice acting skill was there to tell a story.  In the end, did the narrator tell a good story?  Did they get all the mechanics right so the story shone through?


Those are my big Aha moments in the early days of book reviewing for me.  Now I have gone from one audio book a month to about one a week and I do not hesitate to explore new narrators and books for personal pleasure or review.  I am privileged to be accepted as an associate or guest reviewer at a handful of blogs who allow me to share my new enthusiasm for audio books.  I anticipate my next big Audio Aha moment to be when I figure out how to convert audio formats to match my listening app.  Haha!


Feel free to share some of your Aha moments – I love learning all I can.  🙂


Thanks so much, Jennifer, for allowing me to participate in your JIAM event.  It was a pleasure.



About Sophia:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.  Associate and Guest Reviewer for Delighted Reader, Fangs Wands and Fairy Dust, Caffeinated Book Reviews, The Reading Frency, Brazen Babe, Night Owl Book Café, and Hot Listens.

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Owner/Blogger at The Book Nympho
I coexist with my husband of 15 years, our 11-year-old son and two chilled cats in the Deep South.

After 17 years I've finally finished my BA in English (no I do not want to be a teacher). Before majoring in English I would not have touched anything labeled "classic", but I have enjoyed a few along the way in my college career.

While I hated to read growing up, I am now an avid book reader and audiobook listener. I love rejecting reality one book at a time. I only read fiction within my favorite (at least to date) genres which include: most romance (paranormal, contemporary, D/s, BDSM, M/M)Urban Fantasy, and a few YA (mostly PNR or UF from favorite adult authors, but I'm slowly stepping out of my comfort zone after enjoying a few contemporary YA novels in adolescent literature class I took).
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11 responses to “JIAM: Sophia’s Aha Moments in Audio Listening

  1. I grew up with the records with the read-along books. 🙂

    Bloggers have taught me so much about writing reviews and new tricks for listening, etc. I love how much we, as bloggers/readers, share our tips and tricks with each other to make reading more fun. Great post.

  2. I haven’t listened to audiobooks yet, so not aha moments yet. I do plan to give them a try, I just am not sure when. I mostly struggle by thinking of when i could listen to them, as I prefer to do most things without adding another task. I can’t imagine cooking with headphones up or doing the laundry. Maybe if I have a headache, I would sit down and just listen, but besides that? I am not sure. I did listen to a few audio samples on amazon and I did notice that some narrators I liked immediately and some just didn’t work for me, so that’s definitely something I’ll keep in mind for when I finally pick up an audiobook. I do like reading reviews for audiobooks as well and getting a feel for what others think of them. Great post!

  3. Sophia Rose

    Thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Jennifer, Anne and Jonetta. 🙂

  4. Great!!!! I love Davina Porter. I heard her on some Elizabeth George audio. I love the accents anyway. Also I just learned YESTERDAY about changing the speed on audio froma post Jen Twimom did. Wow that is going to come in handy on certain ones.

    • Sophia Rose

      Oh neat! I didn’t know she does Elizabeth George’s mysteries. And yeah, changing the speed is a great thing, Anne. 🙂

  5. I am still trying to train my brain so that it will listen when I do others things besides drive. I have cancelled my Sirius XM in my car since I only listen to audiobooks when I’m in it anyway. Even after a few years of listening, I still forget to strap on the headphones and read a book while I’m crafting or whatever.

    • Sophia Rose

      Yes, it was tough at first to think of times to click the audio on for company. Now it’s replaced my radio and TV listening quite a bit.

  6. Jonetta (Ejaygirl)

    Love your story, Sophia Rose! My aha moment came when I realized how many opportunities for listening came with my new headphones. Chores and shopping took on new meaning. It still ranks as the best gift I’ve ever received.

    • Sophia Rose

      Thanks, Jonetta!

      Yes, figuring out the opportunities is a biggie. Makes those drudgery things of life so much better. 🙂

    • Sophia Rose

      For me, the best narrators are ones that I barely notice when I’m getting the story. If that makes sense. So I agree, Felicia! 🙂