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A Conversation with Anne Glasgow

Sounding Off on Audio: Interviews with Listeners About Their Love of Audiobooks

A Conversation with Anne Glasgow

Now that she’s retired, Anne Glasgow has more time for books than ever. She maximizes her reading by listening to audiobooks, so she can get caught up in a great story, even on the go. Here, she talks about where and how she listens, and why it’s important to always keep a well-stocked library on your iPhone and earbuds in your bag.

Question: How long have you been listening to audiobooks?

Anne Glasgow: Pretty much as long as I can remember. I joined in the days when they sent out a little device named “Otis” with which you could listen to books --- long before iPods and other MP3 players.

Q: What made you start listening?

AG: I don’t recall specifically but probably just to maximize the number of books I could read. 

Q: When and where do you listen?

AG: My favorite time for listening is during my morning walks. I get a nice long hour plus, so I can really get caught up in the storyline, understand the characters, etc.  

I also listen when I'm cooking, driving and whenever I get stuck waiting for something or someone. There are always books on my iPhone and a set of earphones in my bag. 

Q: What kinds of books do you like to listen to best?

AG: No particular kind, but I tend to go for somewhat simpler storylines than when I’m reading a book or eBook.   

Q: What do you use to listen to audiobooks?

AG: iPod and iPhone are my usual listening devices. Very rarely, I'll open something on the computer if I'm doing a particularly mundane task that allows me to comprehend the story while working. 

Q: Are the books that you listen to different from the kinds of print and eBooks you read?

AG: Not really. Often it's just a matter of which I can get my hands on quickest and easiest. It seems the library’s eBooks circulate more than its audiobooks, so I can get them quicker. 

Q: Where do you buy/borrow audiobooks from?

AG: I rarely buy audiobooks, but I do use the library, both for audiobooks on CD and digital through Overdrive. 

Q: Do you share your audiobooks with anyone?

AG: Only reviews of books that I’ve read with my best reading buddy, Kathy. She is also a big audiobook listener. 

Q: Do you listen with anyone else, or is it a solo experience?

AG: Occasionally my husband and I will listen to a book if we have a long drive. It sure helps the time to pass. 

Q: What percentage of your reading is done via audiobooks?

AG: Well, it takes me longer to listen to an audiobook than it does to read a print book, so I’d say maybe as much as 30 percent. 

Q: Do you have favorite narrators? If so, tell us about them.

AG: Not really. I seem to prefer listening to male narrators, but I don't pay a lot of attention to who they are unless they are really bad or have an annoying voice. I love the books that are produced with a whole cast. 

Q: What are some of the most memorable books that you’ve listened to and why?

AG: UNBROKEN [by Laura Hillenbrand, read by the late Edward Herrmann] is the first one that comes to mind. I was so caught up in that book that I would sit in the car longer than necessary and wake up in the middle of the night and plug it in just to find out what was going to come of Louis. 

Q: What is the last audiobook you listened to? Tell us about it.

AG: I loved THE SLEEPWALKER’S GUIDE TO DANCING by Mira Jacob. The book is read by the author, and she gets it just right. It is the story of a young woman who is drawn into her family's issues because her brain surgeon father has started to act erratically. She leaves her job, her friends and her home and moves back in with her family. There are all kinds of family dynamics at play, and while it’s not a light read, there are some funny moments, some bittersweet and some completely heartbreaking scenes.

Q: Is there anything about the format of audiobooks that you don’t like or would like to see changed or improved?

AG: Well, it's not a perfect format for note taking, or even for marking favorite passages. I guess it would be nice if there were some sort of bookmarking feature. I do have that option on my iPhone, but not when using other devices.