50before50: #32 listen to an audiobook

Selecting an audiobook was a rather harder decision than I’d imagined. I’ve been listening to a bunch of samples, so many samples that I probably could have finished a complete book by now.

Some appear like they’d be excellent, but after listening to the sample, I know I could not bear to listen to the narrator for hours and hours and hours (and hours). And there are some books that I don’t want to ruin by listening to them .

This really is one of those occasions where perfect is the enemy of good. I feel like I want something epic, impressive and challenging for this item, but maybe I should just be easing into it?

Audiobooks I’ve been considering the following (in no particular order):

Haruki Murakami: 1Q84 46 hrs and 50 mins

David Foster Wallace: Infinite Jest 56 hrs and 19 mins (!)

Elena Ferrante: My Brilliant Friend 12 hrs and 39 mins 

Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall 24 hrs and 15 mins

Hilary Mantel: Beyond Black 17 hrs and 12 mins

J G Ballard: High Rise 6 hrs and 34 mins

Anthony Powell: A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement 21 hrs and 3 mins

Tim Winton: Dirt Music 11 hrs and 44 mins

Donna Tartt: The Goldfinch 32 hrs and 30 mins

Donna Tartt: The Secret History 22 hrs and 3 mins

J.K. Rowling: The Casual Vacancy 17 hrs and 49 mins

Margaret Atwood: The Blind Assassin 6 hrs and 6 mins

Lionel Shriver: We Need to Talk About Kevin 6 hrs and 23 mins

Christos Tsiolkas: The Slap 15 hrs and 42 mins

At the moment, based on how much I can tolerate the narration, I’m leaning toward 1Q84, Blind Assassin (the shortest!), We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Slap, Beyond Black or The Casual Vacancy.

Argh! That’s still too many choices! This is the epitome of analysis paralysis – all this effort expended and I haven’t made a decision yet. You see why I want to make an effort to change this in 2017.

Maybe I should just pick one of these from a hat?

And while on the audiobook topic – I’m kind of perplexed, what on earth do you do with your eyes while listening to a book? How does one concentrate? I’m sure the answers to these mysteries will be revealed if I can actually make that decision to pull the trigger on something!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 8, 2017 12:15 PM

the only audiobook I ever tried was Stefan Zweig’s World of Yesterday, and I gave up, too long. I am hooked on (non-fiction) podcasts though, put them on while I am putzing around in the yard or tidying up on weekend mornings. The novels on your list that I have read have not made it onto your shortlist but I will give you my opinion on them as novels anyway (since you asked, or not): Loved Wolf Hall but it was hard to follow initially, it might make a confusing audiobook. Thought the Goldfinch was overlong, but I read it… Read more »

January 8, 2017 8:00 PM

i listen to audio books all the time – but only when I am doing something else: driving, walking the dog, cooking. Does not work for me if I am trying to do any task that requires my eyes and brain to work in concert. I listen to detective stories – I know you like golden age but there are tons of new noir-ish stuff that is good (or maybe Peter Corris?) and a certain thread of fantasy – right now, I am listening to some Patrick Weekes stories. I subscribe via audible but happy to share stuff I’ve listened… Read more »

Carmela Biscuit
January 9, 2017 6:30 AM

I listen to audiobooks a lot when I’m knitting or cross stitching. From the above list I would recommend We Need to Talk About Kevin – the story is disturbing, but told brilliantly and very engaging.

January 9, 2017 3:53 PM

totally off topic, but am considering migrating to wordpress. I notice you’re hosted by wordpress and wonder if you have any recommendations?

January 9, 2017 7:35 PM

agree with the comment that Wolf Hall is hard to follow – but so worth it – so I wouldn’t imagine it would be easy to listen to. I have read The Slap and I really disliked it. I felt a bit grubby after I finished it. I loved the first half of The Goldfinch but didn’t like the second although lots of people I know loved it. Kevin is compelling but as I loathe Lionel Shriver I couldn’t recommend it. I would go for The Secret History which I enjoyed a lot when I first read it.