I’ve been listening to audiobooks for years, but I’ve only just started playing around with speeding them up.
I could never understand why someone would speed up an audiobook to begin with. Can you still get the full effect of the story if the narrator is speaking too quickly?
Book Riot writer Kelly Jensen recently wrote about how she was learning to ‘slow down’ audiobooks – to my infinite relief, this didn’t mean slow the narration below the intended listening speed, but in fact, was about slowing down from speeding up and instead listening to it at normal speed.
So listening to audiobooks faster than intended is something a lot of people do, so much so that it’s the norm. She said it was a better experience and forced her to be more mindful – and remembered more of what she read. It was engaging to slow down, not dissociating.
A friend on Twitter wrote about this article, so I decided to ask why she listened to audiobooks sped up in the first place, as it’s not something I’ve ever really been into (except I admit, for Kelly Creagh’s Phantom Heart, a sprawling novel I wasn’t sure I was going to get through in my three week borrowing limit from my local library that I listened to the second half of at 1.2 which to be honest is barely an increase).
My friend said she felt the pressure to read as many books as possible, and I couldn’t help but think that although I also totally feel that as a content creator, it also makes me really sad.
That pressure that literally no one puts on us but ourselves is something I try really hard not to succumb to, and that’s why my commitment to my readers is that I will ‘generally’ post a review every Friday. Once a week reviews has generally given me the kind of time I need to read a good book and enjoy the experience (well, my University studies have thrown that off but generally I read a book a week around all my other commitments).
When I read The Monster of Her Age by Danielle Binks in one day, although I still really enjoyed the book and I don’t feel my rating would change if I had read it slower, I still feel like the experience was different and not one that I personally wanted to keep doing.
What’s more important, the number of books read or what you remember of the experience? Is it the journey or the destination? Is racing through audiobooks sped up an act of capitalism, a desire to consume more, a weird kind of competition?
I don’t want to read books faster. I want to enjoy them.