Audiobooks: They Have the Advantage!

Audiobooks are the latest reading craze. I can understand why. When I was a young girl, radio was big. There was always a radio on in my house. My mother was a big music fan, but she was also a big fan of the “novelas.” 

“Novela” is the Spanish word for novel. Here, when you say the word “novel,” it is understood that you are talking about a book. In the Latin countries, the meaning is usually taken to be a soap opera.

Soap operas were the most popular daily entertainment when I was growing up. By the time I was ten years old, mom watched her favorite ones on TV. Before that, the Spanish soaps played on the radio! In fact, they played on the radio for decades. My mother swore that they were far more exciting on the radio.

I remember that she listened as she worked at her chores. The soaps would start in the morning and play until noon. The stories usually played daily for about six months, sometimes longer, but they always had an end. As soon as one ended, the next one started. 

Most of them had a woman’s name for a title such as Maria, Carmen, or Juliana. A few famous ones did not: for example, Corazon Salvage (Savage Heart) and El Derecho de Nacer (The Right to be Born). Interestingly, Savage Heart has been re-made several times for Spanish TV.

Every neighbor waited with bated breath for each episode. Often, they got together in the evenings and discussed the last episode. Thinking back, I can honestly say that they were addicted to the radio soaps. 

I can also see where the radio soaps were superior to the ones shown on TV today. For one thing, the voices for the characters were distinctive and highly dramatic. Of course, it was the same group of actors and actresses playing them all the time, but no one cared. You see, the imagination filled in the gaps.

There was one very sexy, deep, manly voice that everyone loved. The actor’s name was “Ricardo Montalban.” Yes, just like the actor that played on The Love Boat. It seems that it’s a common Latin name. When Ricardo did a novela, not one lady in the neighborhood missed it. It was great that they could listen and never be late with lunch. 

Everyone envisioned Ricardo as tall, sleek, dark, and devastatingly handsome. My mother thought that he might look like a passionate, dashing Gypsy. My aunt argued that he would look like a Spanish caballero. Imagine the heartbreak when with the first TV novella, they heard the gorgeous voice attached to an aging, overweight, balding gentleman with bad teeth. It broke their hearts.

Audiobooks are the equivalent of the old radio soaps. You don’t have to stop working to listen. In fact, listening makes a chore or task go by faster and more enjoyably. Also, the book goes by faster as the speed of the reader is steady and usually faster than most people’s reading speed. Best of all, your imagination fills in all the gaps according to your taste. It is no wonder they’ve become so popular.

Have you never listened to an audiobook? Well, here’s a treat for you. On the links below I have provided examples of two of my books in audio format. Just click to listen. 

Strongheart’s Woman                     Daniel’s Fork

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