Sunday, November 23, 2014

Audible.com: Worth the hype?

I gave in. I finally cashed in my Audible "one-month-free".

If you don't know, Audible.com, a subsidiary of Amazon, is a subscription website (kinda like Netflix), where you have access to hundreds of thousands of audiobooks. Every month you pay $14.95 and you get 1 credit that you can use to purchase an audiobook, most of which cost at least $20 otherwise. If you're not keen on using Audible for a certain month, you can bank the credits and use them later on.

I was skeptical about using Audible for a multitude of reasons. First, every YouTuber and their mother seems to be sponsored by them. I was like, "What is this fail service that requires so much advertisement from YouTubers?" But then I realized, I think the company puts almost all of their advertising efforts into YouTube because I haven't seen commercials for it on TV or anything like that, which is pretty cool that they generate most of their business using YouTube primarily.

Another reason I was skeptical is because I wasn't sure about audiobooks in general. It felt like a lazy way to read a book, but then I thought, well I'm not reading any books at all... So it has to be a step up from that, right?

Overall I'm really pleased with my experience. To-date, I've listened to a total of three audiobooks. I think it's a great way to feed your brain on the drive to work/school (that's when I use it). I get so annoyed with stupid radio station banter and sometimes I get tired of listening to music, so it's perfect for me to have an audiobook on-hand. Also, if you get anxious driving alone it's like having someone there with you. It's also great for keeping your mind off mundane tasks like doing chores or exercising at the gym.

You can find "first month free" coupons for Audible all over the internet, so really, there's no reason not to try it.



The book I used my free month on is "Is everyone hanging out without me? (And other concerns)" by Mindy Kaling. I was drawn to this book because Mindy actually narrates it herself, and that's pretty special since she knows all the inflections and intonations to get the sarcasm just right. Also, I love love love the Mindy Project so I knew I was going to enjoy this book. The humor is very similar to the show, obviously, so if you like Mindy Kaling, this is great audiobook to start with.

But honestly, even if you're not on the Mindy train like I am, it's still a good read (/listen?). She's so relatable and witty that it doesn't even matter if you're unfamiliar with her career. She has a whole portion of the book dedicated to her time at The Office, a show I don't watch, and I still found that part enjoyable.

She guides us through her childhood, her teens, her time at college, and her career as a comedy writer. She talks about what it's like to be a female writer in a male-dominated industry, and growing up as a chubby girl (keeping it light and funny throughout, even though these issues can be heavy!). Overall this book remains my favorite audiobook of the three I've listened to so far.

And then I forgot to cancel my membership since I totally meant to take advantage of the free book and then quit. I was charged $14.95 with one credit to use, and it was about the time Lena Dunham's autobiography came out so I figured, why not. Lena Dunham also narrates this so I figured it would be in the same vain as Mindy's.

I ended up enjoying this book as well. Not as much as Mindy's, but still. Lena has a lot of interesting stories to share and it was cool to hear her reflect. She's been getting a lot of criticism over a certain portion of this book, and I think it's all bogus and should not deter you from reading/listening to it. I feel like people love picking on her and, yes, some of the criticism is well-deserved, but most of it is not.

Like Mindy, she talks about largely feminist issues, which is always interesting (to me at least). Lena isn't a perfect feminist (again, she is problematic in many ways), but she has fallen victim to certain injustices as a woman and speaks about them in a frank and honest way. In this sense, her candor is appreciated.

Are you sensing a pattern with my book choices? I responded really well to the feminist undertones in Mindy and Lena's books, and I guess I wanted something more substantial to chew on, so to speak. "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gay was perfect for me. It's a collection of essays and it talks about her experiences with feminism and racism. If you're trying to keep your feminism intersectional, this is the book you need in your life. 

She discusses so many contemporary feminist issues (including Lena Dunham and her show "Girls"-- how fitting) and provides honest and well-founded insight. Her tone is both critical and sarcastic, which makes it enjoyable to listen to, and Bahni Turpin (the narrator) does an incredible job at capturing it. 

If you're looking for some brain food, this is precisely the book you need. Instead of listening to inane radio chat on your way to work, listen to Bad Feminist. It's educational and fun.

So that's it! To recap, Audible is worth the hype! Definitely give it a shot, and if you have any book suggestions similar to these, be sure to let me know because have no clue what to listen to next. :)

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