Learning styles (and challenging my own with audiobooks)

This is more-or-less part of my slow-updating Newly-Minted Adult series. Technically it’s just another way for me to talk about books, but it still counts. It does!

I am not an auditory learner.

Not even in the slightest. I used to feel lacking, or lazy, or disrespectful when I had so much trouble paying attention to lectures, sermons, lessons—you name it, I struggled with focusing in it.

It helped when I began understanding it about myself. I realized that it probably explains my being a better student in high school than in college (in addition to the general lack of time for studying after running around Chicago every evening). I no longer feel guilty that I don’t get a ton from sermons, or feel bad at how many chapels I slept through in college, and I can allow myself to feel fine about needing to not yet even consider going back to school.

And if I want to work on any of those things, that’s fine–but I finally let myself off the hook for being how I am in the first place (most of the time). Maybe that’s part of  adulting: learning to work on your flaws, but in healthy ways that don’t involve beating yourself up for them. (Or maybe I just wanted to say adulting again.)


Not being an auditory learner also means that I’ve never really cared to be read to (although if I ever did as a small child, I just don’t remember.) And that means I’ve never considered audiobooks as desireable, or even an option.

Which is exactly why I finally decided to give them a shot.

(Well, that, and all the other cool book-blogging kids are listening to them!)


Maybe it won’t actually work this way, but I realized that probably the only sensible way to improve my auditory learning would be to, well, use it.  And since listening to lecture recordings or even a lot of podcasts sounds like a surefire way to make me not bother, audio books are clearly the superior option.

And I’m not sure which came first: the idea of audiobooks as a way to train my sucky auditory learning skills, or the need to read books in all of the ways books can be read.

& I also felt left out when reading blog posts about audiobooks. Let me in the club!

So I am just  trying it all out now. Sometime in the last year I started trying to do library audio books, but I didn’t like the feel of the Overdrive app, or having a limited check out period (something that doesn’t bother me as much with Kindle books).


Sometime before Christmas, Isaac pointed me to a fantastic trial-period deal on Audible (because if a deal exists, he will find it).

I’m often hesitant to go for trials because I am awful at cancelling things. I had a credit score checking subscription for about 9 months longer than I wanted it because their process for canceling was horrible… not that I’m much better when the process isn’t horrible.

Anyways. The trial offer was for three months at their gold level: 1 credit each month. And since it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I missed canceling in time and hit a fourth month at 1 credit for $14, I signed up and downloaded Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please. 

Which is a fabulous book so far.
Which I have only listened to 5% of in three months.

Clearly I needed to start somewhere more basic (for me) than non-fiction.

Enter my obsessive marathoning of Veronica Mars and the subsequent movie. After finishing I discovered the results of one very obsessive fandom: There’s a book too?!?!!

It was a good move: I’m much more interested in opening my audible app when it’s fiction. I’m more likely to be thinking ahead to times I can take advantage of my headphones when it’s a story I’m really interested in (and has great narration!). I’ve even opened it to listen before going to sleep a few times.

It’s still slow, it’s still not instinct in the slightest to want to listen to a story, but that’s hardly a surprise. The surprise is that it’s tentatively working, no matter how slowly.

The other day I bought Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warnings because I though he might narrate it himself (he does, and it’s great) and that short stories would be a curious thing to try listening to. I like short stories, but I tend to forget I’m reading a collection of them—so if listening to them turns out to be a bust, it’s not a great loss.

And Neil Gaiman is fantastic, and I was going to have to read it in some format eventually. (Seriously. Go read something by Gaiman.)


I’m starting to “get” the appeal. I can listen on the bus if I don’t feel like reading (or need both my hands for stability) or walking around. It’s not like I’m not willing to read my kindle while walking, but this is probably safer.

And while I don’t drive often and can’t multifocus well enough to listen while doing chores, I totally get how perfectly suited Audible would be for both.

So I’m not quite sold yet, but when I finish 8 hours of Kristen Bell narrating her very own Veronica Mars, I might be.

3 thoughts on “Learning styles (and challenging my own with audiobooks)

  1. I’m the same way – I do not do well with auditory learning. I learn much better by watching, reading or doing. That said, I have never actually listened to an audiobook or have ever felt the desire to. I just feel like my brain would frolic off into who-knows-where and I would’ve wasted my time. The only thing I can listen to and learn something from is The College Info Geek podcast… as long as I’m not doing anything else (besides going for a 1-1.5 mile walk).


  2. Pingback: Recent Posts | Jenna Kristine

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