Listening to Books and Sisterhood Reading

My life involves a fairly long commute. When I ride the train, I like to read or blog, but when I drive, I like to listen to something. Usually, this involves the radio or my steady rotation of Adele, The Civil Wars, The Rescues, Sara Bareiles, and Ingrid Michaelson. But last week, BF C lent me the audio book version of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells.

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I’m surprised I hadn’t already read this book, considering it’s a critically acclaimed book about female bonding in the South. On my drives home, I listened to the book from end to end. I loved it! The audio version is performed by the author herself. Wells truly gives each character a specific voice, and because she knows where each character is going, she has complete command over the entire story. I loved her different Southern accents, and her ability to totally over-dramatize the Ya-Ya parts to show how utterly devoted the women are to each other and to their adventures.

There were a couple of things I noticed about the audio book. It’s hard to go back if you forgot something or weren’t paying attention right at that moment. Also, it was too short. With how much I drive, I finished the audio book in four days. And only two of those days were hour long drives. I would linger in my car for just a couple of minutes to bank a few more minutes with the Ya-Yas. I can’t finish a book that long in four hours, mostly because I like to linger over a moment in a book, and reread it in case I missed something.

Another downside is the extra expense of audio books. On iTunes, audiobooks can run the same cost as a hardcover. I understand the expense. Someone is reading the book to you in an entertaining (let’s hope) way. Luckily for me, I am an auditory learner, so I can really pick up things when I hear them. Some people do not remember a thing if they don’t see it or do it themselves. The benefit is that you get to hear the whole book being read, instead of watching the movie, a poor substitute. This book is a prime example of that, because the movie is a terrible adaptation of a beautiful book, in my opinion. (And you know that I am usually nice to film adaptations of books.)

It is for all these reasons that I would probably not approach an audio book as my first medium of “reading” (more like absorbing information). However, that does not shadow over the fact that I loved Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and give it a 4 out 5.

Anyone have an opinion on audio books or on Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood? And as a last note, has anyone else noticed that a requirement for a book set in the South is that it mostly takes place in the summer? It’s like I can feel the humidity as well as hear the Southern accents. What’s winter like in the South?


7 responses

  1. I regret to say I have never read/listened to the book. I did attempt a Neil Gaiman collection of short stories on audio CD for my journeys between university and home… it tended to fail miserably because you would have to turn up the volume louder than normal to hear it, and I have a habit of not listening properly. I stick to music now. Although, if you can think of an audio book that would grab my attention – recommend away! There’s still nothing like holding a real book though…

  2. Ayesha, I would rather read a book than listen to the story. You can easily go back to re-read for a better understanding of the topic. I feel there’s more freedom when actually reading.. Give me a book any day! Must pick up the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood…

  3. I listened to audiobooks for a time when I was commuting and found that a lot of my enjoyment depended on the content and the quality of the person reading.

    If the content is too dense, it didnt work for me. The reader need only use varying tempo and dynamics, which seems obvious but my experience is that some failed to do so.

    I loved a collection of short stories by Anaïs Nin, read by the author. Her charm and wit came into the car and my heart in a way I am not sure a book alone could have accomplished. I listened to a couple of the stories over and over again and laughed every time.

    I also liked the audio experience as a way to read certain books that I probably wouldn’t have committed reading time; for the sole reason that I wasted less time on a mediocre book if I had listened to it. Every once in a while I found a g, but usually made the correct call and I was still able to participate in discussions of the books in my social circles.

  4. I’ve never been able to do audiobooks. I’m one of those people who can’t retain what they hear – I just have to read it! I’m definitely thinking about picking up this book after reading your review, though.

    As for winter’s in the South? Short! There really doesn’t seem to be much of a fall, or spring. You get a whole lot of heat from April/May into October/November, and then the temp drops down to sweatshirt weather. I haven’t even worn a winter coat in two years! The ice storms are pretty awful, though. Even if the ice doesn’t last more than a couple days (typically), it can be really scary with downed power lines and the like. =/ That’s just in the area I’m in, though. It might be different elsewhere!

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Today I channeled the Ya Ya’s at work… I was Lawanda standing up for myself and my program. 🙂 It was very successful… world, watch out for Lawanda- the divine, powerful elephant hiding inside of women all over the world. Loved the book and glad you did too.

  6. I loved audio books from the library during the year I commuted between Milwaukee and Chicago! I almost exclusively chose books I had already read, in most cases many times, because I hated the idea of missing anything. My favorites were Harry Potter, Jane Austen, David Sedaris (most of which I had not read), and the Little House on the Prairie Books.

    Maybe some day, when I am not driving with a very demanding toddler, I can delve back into audio books. For now, it’s the Wiggles, Raffi, and Yo Gabba Gabba . . .

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