How You Can Learn to Enjoy Audiobooks. And Where to Find Some for Free.

November 05, 2021

One way I enjoy a lazy weekend is to watch British TV. Every few months, I will subscribe to BritBox and Acorn TV to watch the new episodes of my favorite shows. Lately, however, I'm TV-ed out. I'm sure I'm at the end of Netflix. Nothing seems appealing. I can't watch any more baking shows or I will gain weight. So for now I'm in waiting mode for new seasons on my regular favorites.


Now that I have put down the TV remote, I can pick up more books to read. I even joined a  neighborhood book club to push my reading out of my comfort zone.  

It was interesting to learn that many women in this book club regularly choose to listen to the audiobooks of our monthly selection. Unfortunately, audiobooks haven't been much of a success for me. Three years ago, I tried listening to a couple of titles while driving the car or making dinner. My failure may have resulted from an uninteresting narrator or just the book itself.

After that experience, I decided that books are best enjoyed and absorbed when read.

But this past July, when I was determining what to read next, I discovered a solution to my audiobook dilemma.  


 Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Agatha Christie


Like many who love mystery and suspense, I'm a fan of Agatha Christie. I have watched the entire Hercule Poirot series with David Suchet and the Amazon Prime Original movies of The Pale Horse (2020), The ABC Murders (2019), Ordeal by Innocence (2018), and The Witness for the Prosecution (2016). They are all excellent.

Yet, I have not read one Agatha Christie book. Quite embarrassing, really.

Finding my audiobook solution happened when doing some Google searching. I discovered many free Agatha Christie titles (and several other selected books) on YouTube. How did I not know about this?

Looking at available titles, I was delighted to find many were narrated by Hugh Fraser. He is the actor who portrayed Hercule Poirot's friend Hastings on the PBS TV series. His accent and voice characterizations make each book captivating.

The first audiobook I selected was "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe," a Hercule Poirot mystery. This title was less than five and a half hours, so it did not seem intimidating or time-consuming. I began the book on a quiet evening when it was just me, the dog, and a cross-stitch project (a craft I picked up again to make designs for my handmade cards). Following along with the audio was effortless and relaxing as I stitched.

An hour went by, then two. It was delightful.

Book Narrators


Finding the right narrator makes a world of difference in audiobooks, I discovered. It was lucky to find Hugh Fraser narrating many of the Agatha Christie titles. Determining other enjoyable narrators may take trial and error as I move on to other titles and genres. On her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, Anne Bogel has many posts about audiobooks and narrators if you are looking for direction for your next audio read. 


After ten Agatha Christie titles, my audiobook experiment has been a success. (And I have a lot of cross-stitch finished for holiday cards!)  I plan to listen to more Agatha Christie titles, but in the meantime, I am exploring the Libby library app for other, shorter fiction books to keep me going.

If you aren't into audiobooks, why not take on my experiment? Explore YouTube this week and see if any of your favorite classics are available for a listen. Below I have added links to the audiobooks I've listened to. If you would like to save my entire playlist to your YouTube account, click here à Favorite Agatha Christie Audio Books - YouTube

What audiobook can you recommend? List it in the comments!

 


The Miss Marple series:

The Thirteen Problems (narrated by Joan Hickson, actress from the 80s TV series)  A Caribbean Mystery (narrated by Roslyn Ayres)
At Bertram's Hotel (narrated by Roslyn Leach)

Book narrated by David Suchet, lead actor of the Poirot TV series, 1989-2013):

Poirot Investigates – Hercule Poirot, #3

Books narrated by Hugh Fraser, actor on several episodes of the Poirot TV series:

Cards on the Table – Hercule Poirot, #15
Dumb Witness – Hercule Poirot, #17
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe – Hercule Poirot, #23
Murder is Easy – Superintendent Battle, #4

Stand Alone Mysteries, also narrated by Hugh Fraser:

The Unexpected Guest
Spider's Web

(These last two books are my favorites by far. With new characters, and a plot that twists and turns, both had different endings that I suspected. And that is the best part of a mystery – to find out in the end that "the butler did it," right?)


Want to save this list? Pin this graphic to your Pinterest board! 




6 comments:

  1. I really like reading myself and honestly have not tried an audiobook. I will think about it though. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Neat idea! I have a very hard time with audiobooks. Same with podcasts sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I too love Agatha Christie -- I read almost all of her books before I graduated high school! I am not a fan of audiobooks -- I like having the book in my hands! Also, I zone out when it's only in audio and I miss things. My husband loves audiobooks though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was me -- I would get distracted by something and miss a whole chapter! I still like a book in my hands, but this has helped.

      Delete
  4. Shoot my first attempt at a comment seemed to go to comment heaven.

    I'm an audio nut and love audio books! The narrator is sooo very important. Dull/monotone readers are not fun to listen to. I much prefer author read books which I find more of in non-fiction.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a late audio-book adopter and started enjoying them even more when I was driving from Bakerfield to Flagstaff over and over again to help caretake my mother after my father died last Spring. I even found I enjoy a different genre: copzy mysteries or better yet, cozy mysteries that involve a bookstore of some sort. :-) One of my theater friends is a narrator and I enjoy listening to her books a LOT but a not-so-great narrator can make or break a book and naturally, I have my own pet peeves. :-) Do you have a favorite specific genre, by the way?

    Thanks for the blog recommendation, too. I look forward to seeing what she has to say.

    ReplyDelete

Powered by Blogger.