Why I Love Audio Books

I recently finished reading the great classic novel War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy. It was my first time and I was thrilled to have finished it (although I’m currently going through separation anxiety because I already miss the characters)

It took me 61 hours to finish it. I know that not because I’m a freak who enjoys timing his reading. I know it because I actually listened to the book in Audio format, read by the brilliant Nevil Jason.

Like many of you reading this, I had drifted away from books and got into reading shorter things: Tweets, blog posts and, when I really have time, newspaper and magazine articles. I became the kind of person who at any given moment in time had 20 tabs open in my web browser (Chrome if you must know). Sitting on a chair and reading a book no longer fitted my daily schedule. Worse, it no longer fitted with my attention span.

Then, as I was looking for ways to alleviate my 2-hour daily commute, I discovered audio books. My first audio book was A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson (18 hours) , read by the very talented Richard Matthews. I found myself focusing in a way I never thought possible. I was smiling at little details, frowning at others and being deeply immersed in the spoken words. I was hooked.

Some would say that listening is not the same as reading. I agree. I think listening is a better experience. In fact I have a little theory about why: As a species, we only started writing and reading in the last few thousand years, whereas we listened to each other for hundreds of thousands of years. Listening, in a way, is a more primal experience than reading.

I never stopped enjoying audio books. In fact I just started reading listening to Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (a trifling 6 hours). I really recommend that you try, for a change, to listen to a book. Just go to audible (uk edition), pick a book and listen to a sample. Perhaps, like me, you’ll get hooked..


About Mustapha Hamoui

I'm a Lebanese designer, businessman, geek, and blogger at beirutspring.com ..


  1. Pingback: Beirut Spring: My Piece In The Cube On Why I Love Audio Books

  2. Marie

    OH I should try that.. but is it feasible with our #Ontornet?

  3. #Ontornet is definitively a big problem. But it’s worth it, audio books (and audio magazines like The Economist) are just great..

  4. OH

    Audiobooks are great at the Gym. Tony Blair’s memoires, read by the author, were so irritating that I found myself running faster on the treadmill whenever I got angry. I lost a kilo thanks to Tony. Not bad, eh? I would also recommend Bush’s memoires as a substitute to any crash diet. Seriously.

  5. Pingback: Book Promiscuity « The Cube

  6. Thanks M,I never considered audio books as books. I love the sensation of holding a book. I will give them a try. I will download an audio book n listen to it in the car… It my be a good change from blasting my singing talents on the street of Beirut

    • If you don’t like literature(books or audiobooks) then don’t get in the car with me.
      My audio system is a 6 CD-Changer loaded with 6 MP3 disks each containing about 5 audiobooks. I drive a lot. On a weekly basis, I make trips for 2 hours at a time. I used to get unbelievably bored until I started listening to my audiobooks in my car.

      My girlfriend loves to read as well, but she enjoys the traditional way: reading a book. But who doesn’t? Even though I listen to my audiobooks on a daily basis, I still read physical books. Actually, my friends make fun of me for the fact that I have a book in the bathroom, one in the living room, and one beside my bed.

      You should see me while stuck in traffic. As you all know, traffic is becoming a real pain in the ass. However, while other people are sighing because they’re bored, tired or angry; I’ll be focused on my books, and from time to time I would burst in laughter(I look ridiculous).
      The reason I laugh is because I read (or should I say listen to) a lot of funny fiction/non-fiction audiobooks.
      Two days ago I listened to the last chapter of “Mostly Harmless” which is the fifth book from the series of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”; and guess how I read the previous four? Yup, you’ve guessed it: I had been laughed at a lot during traffic… I listened to them in my car.

  7. Many thanks for writing “Why I Love Audio Books The Cube”.

    I personallywill certainly end up being coming back for far more reading
    through and commenting here soon. Thanks a lot, Janis

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