Marty Hirons: Audiobooks can help many through these tough times

These past two years have been crazy. Fighting the urge to let everything crash down on me and stay on the couch has been tough.

Between losing more people to COVID than I’d have thought possible two years ago and anxiety made worse by the crazy circumstances we have all faced, I have had trouble finding motivation. Through it all, audiobooks have been a great mechanism to get me moving and motivated.

A narrator can make or break an audiobook. Some make their female characters too whiny or recreate the character that I have already built in my head.

Tim Curry, as it turns out, is not only a skilled actor, but also a wonderful narrator. He has narrated “The Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket, the Abhorsen/Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix, which I cannot recommend enough, and many more.

Tim Curry’s characters find their own voice and life in his narration, which can be missing in other audiobooks. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and Fox and O’Hare series are hilarious! Narrated by C.J. Critt and Scott Brick respectively, I find myself being caught up in the story and trying, but failing, to hold in laughter.

Audiobooks have been the background for cooking, cleaning, mowing, etc. this year. “The Left-Handed Booksellers of London” by Garth Nix has accompanied me while shelving and cleaning the Bookmobile. “Dune” by Frank Herbert has motivated me while pulling books from the main library for our patrons. Sometimes I find lighthearted books to listen to while I help digitize the obituary index. The Harry Potter series has been one of my staple series to pull me through when I don’t have anything specific to read. There are so many genres of books and some writing styles are easier for me, personally, to listen to as an audiobook. The story catches my attention without getting distracted by minutiae. Books written in the form of letters or books that skip back and forth are easier to listen to with my busy brain.

The library, through Libby, also offers audiobooks in different languages. Spanish versions of old favorites help keep my mind active and bilingual. Listening to music, books, the news, etc. in the language you are trying to learn is the best way to learn fluency and cadence. Immersing yourself in spoken language is a great way to unconsciously pick up nuances that you wouldn’t catch in the written word.

Being a human, let alone a completely functioning human, has been tough this year for most of us. Finding coping mechanisms like audiobooks, gardening, making sourdough, and finding new hobbies are great ways to make the world seem a little less dark.

Call us at the library, or find us on the Bookmobile, if you need help with the Libby app, finding a book, requesting a book, or need some great book recommendations. There are so many great stories to dive into and explore. We hope you are happy, healthy, and safe in this new year.