Audio Books by Allison Symes

I mainly read books but split that between “proper” books and Kindle reading. I have a soft spot for audio books though. 

My favourites are the Terry Pratchett Discworld series, which I think work well. (I go for the ones narrated by Sir Tony Robinson).

When going on holiday to Scotland, a couple of those audio books will take my family and I from Hampshire to Sutherland, but we will have been entertained and had many a laugh on that trip. Then we have the joy of two more Pratchett audio books on the way home.


No matter how often I hear these, I always pick up on some new nuance I missed on previous hearings plus there is always the joy of re-hearing favourite lines.  

Audio books are wonderful shared experiences too. Read a book, laugh out loud, and you’ll get some funny looks (or so I’ve been told, honest, guv). 

Share an audio book and have two of you laugh out loud - not such a problem!

Stories strong on dialogue work best for audio, I think. It is like eavesdropping on a conversation. I’ve never had a problem with that (as indeed most writers don’t. You never know when and where you’re going to pick up an interesting story idea, hmm? That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.). 



Audio books are useful as well for bringing stories to those who simply won’t (for whatever reason) sit and read. I’d rather someone had stories “put into them” via audio than not have the joy of stories at all.  

I also think of audio books as a natural continuation of the ancient story telling tradition. It’s just done in a different way now (and more accessible to more people too). 


I must admit I don’t envy the narrator’s job. I do read my work out loud as part of my editing process. (It’s a great way to ensure my dialogue does flow as well as I think it does when looking at it on screen). But I write flash fiction so that is much easier to read out loud. Nor does it take long!


Having a quick web search, I see War and Peace has been split into audio volumes. Can’t say I’m surprised by that! 

We did have some stories on cassettes back in the day but I can’t say I’m sorry about the move to CDs etc. I should imagine it has made it easier to store more material in one go and that will make all the difference to what stories can be produced for audio. Imagine War and Peace on cassette! How many tapes would that take?!


There is also something wonderful about being read to as an adult. When was the last time you were read to? Audio plays a great role here and perhaps an understated one. I unwind totally when I listen to a story. It is something I need to do more often.

 Image Credit:  All images created in Book Brush using Pixabay pictures.


Eden Baylee said…
Thanks for a great blog, Allison. I've never liked being read to as an adult. This could account for why I'm not a huge fan of audio books. Despite this, I see the allure of them.

Thanks for giving me a much more well-rounded explanation of what audio books offer.

Allison Symes said…
Many thanks, Eden. I have to have my fix of stories. When travelling, I find it easier to listen to them rather than read directly. And a wonderful narrator enhances a story.
Chris Longmuir said…
I never thought I would enjoy audiobooks because I have a mind that wanders when watching TV etc. However, I am now hooked. I listen to audiobooks when I'm doing my exercises and other things that require no brain action. Since getting bone conduction headphones (the buds irritated my ears) I even listen when I'm driving. The strange thing is that even though I know I'm not a good listener anywhere else, it's different with an audiobook and I never miss a thing. I'm currently listening to Brighton Rock narrated by Samuel West and he's an excellent narrator.

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