I’m an avid audio book listener. I read 75-100 books a year, with the majority read via audio due to some visual issues I have. The longer books definitely give you the most value in terms of cost, however, I’d encourage those of you new to the format to choose a shorter title. I found that when I was just getting started listening to books vs. reading them in print, it was easier to follow the book if it was short and less complex. With long sagas, you can forget the early portions and you can’t refresh your memory via a quick flip through of the early chapters. It’s easier to retain a story if you just heard the early portions a few days or weeks ago. Complex structures can be challenging via audio as well if you’re not used to retaining the info audibly. Books that bounce from one time period to another, shift perspective or have multiple points of view are more challenging. They’re not something to avoid outright, as sometimes the audio can complement these features, such as with Lincoln in the Bardo, but I wouldn’t suggest starting there. I find the easiest audiobooks to follow are memories narrated by the author. It feels like someone is simply telling you about themselves and they have a familiar conversational flow. Consider starting there. Educated, When Breath Becomes Air and Born a Crime are excellent choices. If you want to start with fiction, consider a re-read of a favorite title or a sequel of a series you’ve already enjoyed. This way, you’ll already be familiar with the characters and the cadence of the author.
My biggest tip is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS listen to the entire audio sample to see if:
1. You enjoy the voice of the narrator. Some will just bug you. Some people like a good accent, while others are frustrated with having to listen more carefully because of it. Some people prefer one gender over another. It’s very subjective. You’ll learn what you like and don’t like over time.
2. You pay attention and are motivated to keep listening for the whole 5 mins sample. If your mind wanders and you have to keep repeating sections or you don’t care to keep going, this probably isn’t a good choice for you. Something isn’t clicking.
3. Regular Audible listeners are speaking favorably of the narration. Read some of the Audible reviews (or wherever you get your audio), focusing not on the content of the book, but on what reviewers are saying about that audio format.
Also, keep in mind that, with Audible, you can return books that you start but decide just aren’t for you. Lastly, listening to books is a skill and you will get much better at it over time, so have patience with yourself. I was terrible at it at first because I’m a very learner, but now I am quite good at it and enjoy it immensely. ?