I used to subscribe to the school of thought that you were either an audiobook fan or not, and never the twain shall meet. However, it appears that you really can have your cake (cake being a physical book) and eat it (devour aurally), too.
General consensus: in 2020 it’s quite hard to sit down for any period of time and concentrate on words sprawling across pages and more pages – no matter how many #shelfie posts tell you X or Y is a masterpiece and that it was consumed in one afternoon (trust me, it wasn't). There's doom stories to catch up on and a general feeling that one should be doing something, anything, else.
So, it makes perfect sense that more people are turning to audiobooks as a soothing resource. Escapist entertainment that is neither a Netflix documentary, scrolling through Instagram, or that Spotify playlist you keep skipping through to get to the good stuff.
For many, it’s a very specific extra-curricular tonic. Consulting an avid reader, of actual books says: “I like [listening to] them on car journeys and car journeys alone.” My flatmate enjoys having stories playing in the background while she’s working (“it stops me from falling into a deep pit of boredom by 3pm”). Another friend only listens to political memoirs, read by the author in question (“it’s too heavy to read otherwise. I find it easier if I’m listening to it, often when I’m travelling to work.”)
Speaking to writer and author Raven Smith earlier this year, he said that listening to Poirot helped him sleep in his early 20s, after suffering from a bout of insomnia: “Now I listen to audiobooks every night,” he says. “Which I read is scientifically the same as reading them [activating the same parts of the brain].” Seeing as there’s a wealth of options to choose from, scroll for a curation of the most comforting narratives to listen to now, from empowering autobiographies to nostalgic classics.