A few months ago I was on this big kick to try out a bunch of new technology, and during that time, I signed up with Audible. I've always had a huge problem digging into books, and an even bigger problem with finishing them. I figured I could listen to books on headphones while at the gym or running or whatever. Turns out audiobooks aren't really the thing if you want to get energized for a run. Nowadays, that's strictly a job I give to music, and very specific music at that.

When audiobooks does come in handy is during bouts of high stress and related insomnia. But here's the problem with that whole thing: I can't take notes when I listen to books like this, and because I can almost never get into fiction, I listen to a lot of the stuff I'd like to take notes on. The reality is, I finish listening to more books than if I just read them, but I'm so in-and-out of consciousness most of the time when I listen to audiobooks—like too-tired-to-prop-my-head-up-and-read-a-book tired—to make much sense of the thing. In fact, now I’ll often put on an audiobook in order to put myself asleep, and I can remember having done this since elementary school, back when they were still known as books on tape.

Heretofore, the only value I can see in audiobooks is that of a sleep aid/insomnia companion. My brain is usually too ravaged with distraction to listen to them otherwise, and I don’t really have any hobbies like crochet to occupy myself with while listening to a book. All this said, I realize that not only is this problem likely a problem for a small minority of people, a subgroup that I am not at all enthusiastic to be a part of, but also that I may very well just be doing it wrong. As such, I pose a two-part question to the successful audiobook users of Slog: How and when do you listen to them, and what else are you doing while you listen? The thing is, I want audiobooks to work for me, I just haven’t figured out how to make that a reality yet. Meanwhile, my Audible account is on hold while I continue to toss and turn my way through my collection.