Skip to main content

A Conversation with Susie Stangland

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

A Conversation with Susie Stangland

Susie Stangland is a social media consultant for authors and journalists. On a whim (encouraged by Lee Woodruff and cemented by Jim Gaffigan), she decided to try listening to audiobooks and hasn’t looked back. Here, Susie describes the magic of audio and why listening is sometimes better than reading. She also shares her favorite experiences and her big plans for getting the rest of her family hooked.

Question: How long have you been listening to audiobooks?

Susie Stangland: I’ve been listening for six months.

Q: What made you start listening?

SS: Lee Woodruff has been referring to books she listens to for years, and I thought I would give it a whirl. My first audiobook was [comedian] Jim Gaffigan's FOOD: A Love Story.

Q: When and where do you listen?

SS: In the beginning, I listened on my long walks, then in the car. Now, when it's a great book that I can't put down, I listen everywhere.

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

SS: Memoir --- there is nothing like hearing a writer share his or her own story. You can hear the emotion and love that Brooke Shields has for her mother in THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL, feel as if you have joined Jim Gaffigan at his family table in DAD IS FAT, or that Dick Cavett has invited you to lunch in BRIEF ENCOUNTERS.

Q: What do you use to listen to audiobooks? 

SS: I listen with my iPhone 5.

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

SS: No --- they are the same, and often I will still purchase the book.

Q: Where do you buy/borrow audiobooks from?

SS: --- I am their biggest fan, I know it. I attempted on several occasions to borrow books on CDs from the library, but ultimately a disc would be lost and I would have a fat bill each time. to the rescue!

Q: Do you share your audiobooks with anyone?

SS: I share with my youngest son Brian, but I’m trying to get the rest of the family hooked. I won't give up!

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

SS: Solo voyage --- I have to be immersed and others keep talking.

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

SS: It's grown to 30 percent!

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

SS: I have two: Zach Appelman --- even if you have already read ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, gift yourself a listen. Beautiful. I also love Caroline Lee --- just finished listening to her read, BIG LITTLE LIES. Her voice painted a true picture of each character. I adored Ziggy! I am ordering all she reads; even if she read a cereal box, I would download it!

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

SS: ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE --- haunting! --- I will listen again. And again, Caroline Lee captured perfectly the competitive passive aggressiveness that occurs between the school mum set.

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

SS: Just finished BIG LITTLE LIES --- listen, listen to this book! And also some YA: DOUBLE DIGIT, written by Annabel Monaghan and read by Julia Farhat.

Just starting DESCENT today.

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

SS: I would love to see greater awareness of audiobooks. People spend so much time in their cars or at the gym, etc., and don’t realize they can be simultaneously appreciating a great book! Just another reason I love