Are audiobooks cheating?

Welcome and happy Tuesday! I’d like to start this post with the question from our title:

Are audiobooks cheating?

When I say cheating I mean, cheat reading. You’re not ACTUALLY reading, but it IS material from a book. So, is it cheating? I feel like I have induced smoke to billow from audiobook lovers ears at this point…so let’s jump right in!

No, audiobooks are not cheating! That is my own, personal opinion. However, I will sprinkle in a few facts to support my opinion.

I use to feel that audiobooks were cheating but as I mentioned in a post from two weeks ago, finding that special reading time to be a reading sneaker can be a challenge. My mother-in-law, who is a sheer delight and avid reader, highly encouraged me to listen to books while cleaning/cutting the grass. The 2020 pandemic hit and she shared a user friendly library app that included digital books and audiobooks.

I began listening to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I quickly found that I would seek out other activities to steal a few extra listening minutes. Power wash the patio? You got it. Clean the inside and outside of the car? I’d love to! Laundry for days? SURE!

One of the first times listening, I was cutting the grass and listened to quite a steamy scene in Outlander book 1. I messaged my mother-in-law, “Well that was interesting cutting the grass to a steamy scene.” Without missing a beat she quickly typed back, “You might need to cut it twice.” Haha! I’m typing it here so I never forget it. I mentioned she was a delight, right?

In the book, “The Enchanted Hour – The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction” by Meghan Cox Gurdon, she discusses the benefits of reading aloud to children. Some of the benefits include increasing bonding time and a feeling of security/safety, learning new vocabulary words, and listening to a fluent reader to help learn what reading is supposed to sound like. Regarding reading aloud she wrote, “No one wants to hear a voice droning on without regard to the words or the listener. At its best and most uplifting, the experience becomes a piece of art that the reader pulls from thin air and gives us a gift to the hearer.”

I don’t know about you…but “a gift to the hearer” sounds perfect. As adults we have the ability to give that gift to our children or children in our lives. But also as adults, we deserve that gift as well. We can find it by listening to other adults reading fluently to us through audiobooks. We can get lost in a fantasy book, learn new information from a nonfiction book, or enjoy traveling the world without ever jumping in a car or plane.

My favorite audiobooks:
1. Outlander series by Diana Galbaldon – The narrator is the same in all of the books and she does a remarkable job narrating with subtle shifts in her voice as characters change. Also, these books are all very long and I enjoy turning off my brain to listen while I read other books.
2. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn – Characters are from the US, England and Scotland and the narrator jumps back and forth flawlessly. Fun Fact: This book has my favorite last line of a book – it isn’t monumental or profound in anyway, but it was so perfect after you grow to love the characters and painted a perfect picture in my mind.
3. You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar – This is read by the authors, Amber is a comedian in real life, and the delivery of these awful/embarrassing stories is perfectly read.

My favorite time to listen to audiobooks:
1. Cutting the grass
2. Cleaning bathrooms
3. Changing sheets
4. Weeding
5. When I’m alone in my car

So no, audiobooks aren’t cheating and I know for many people allow them the time “get through more books” during their commutes, errands and chores. Book lovers famous phrase seems to be, “so many book, so little time.” I hope that audiobooks give you the opportunity to sneak in some reading time and get through the never ending stack of books you may want to read.

If you are an audiobook lover, type your favorite audiobook(s) in the comments below.

Happy reading and also…happy listening.

2 thoughts on “Are audiobooks cheating?

  1. LOVE this – you’re the one that reignited my love for audio books and my sanity thanks you! It’s brought me so much peace on a daily basis! My favorite time to listen: while cooking! I can drown out the chaos happening in the other room 😉 I love the idea that this is a “gift to the hearer”. Thank you for your lovely words and thoughts!


  2. One of the first times I listened to an audio book was on a road trip. A four drive turned closer to 6 since I wasn’t paying attention to exits and directions.


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