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My 2023 Libby Wrapped by Allison E. '27

I have a problem with audiobooks

Spotify Wrapped came out a little while ago, and Kayode wrote a post about all our results that you should definitely check out!

My own Spotify Wrapped is unfortunately a little underwhelming, since I use Spotify for <1/3 of my music listening. It’s mostly to discover new songs/artists, so I only actually recognized one out of my top five artists this year (and that person was 4th) 💀

Music is also not my preferred medium of auditory engagement—I spend most of my time as a shamelessly mindless consumer of audiobooks. And when I say mindless consumer, I mean mindless consumer. No thoughts, just a constant stream of words going in one ear and out the other while walking to class, while eating, while doing chores, and oftentimes even while doing homework01 I can only do this if it’s STEM homework—it feels like I’m just using two different halves of my brain. And now that I’m at MIT, I can only occasionally do this (usually w/ math psets) 🫣. It’s a bit of a problem.

And before you ask, no! This blog is not sponsored by Audible. In fact, this post is anti-sponsored by Audible. I may have written an entire blog reviewing Amazon products, but I only bow down to the Bezos occasionally, and this is not one of those occasions.

You know who I do bow down to? MY LOCAL LIBRARY!!

Yessiree, folks, this post is sponsored by YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY! If you like audiobooks, consider getting a FREE library card at the branch nearest to you! You could gain access to tens of thousands of online audiobooks, including most popular new releases FREE OF CHARGE!

In all seriousness, the public library system is a truly amazing institution, and they’ve put an amazing effort into ~keeping up with the times~ by building digital collections! You can borrow almost any audiobook you want for 2-3 weeks at a time, and the library has so many copies of the more popular books that there’s usually no wait—or at most it’s a couple weeks. Seriously, it’s the best thing ever. Get a library card02 or four! i may or may not have initiated my master plan to obtain four :) . Get the Libby app. Profit from never spending money to consume books ever again!

As a side benefit of obsessively using Libby, I can go into my loan history and see every audiobook I’ve ever listened to, when I borrowed it, and how long I spent listening to it.

And so… after forty-five minutes of manually entering this information into a spreadsheet instead of doing my PSets, I hereby present…​

Allison’s 2023 Audiobook Wrapped!

My full spreadsheet is linked here, but to expand on/summarize it:

I spent 41,207 minutes listening to audiobooks in 2023. That’s 686 hours, or 28.6 days!

I started listening to 66 audiobooks, and finished 44 of them. That means I finished 67% of the audiobooks I started, which is pretty low, but at least it’s an improvement on past years (I think). I know my interests better, and more importantly, I know what audiobooks will be easy for me to understand while multitasking and good for my general state of happiness.

My numbers are chronologically messy because the data is all concentrated on the date when I borrowed the book, but I likely listened the most during the month of July—starting 7 books and listening for 107 hours. 

The longest I’ve spent listening to one audiobook is “The Source,” by James Michener. I didn’t finish it. It’s 55 hours long. I tried really hard because it was actually really interesting, but I think I just don’t have the stamina for 55 hours of one book LOL. 34 hours isn’t terrible though!

Honorable mention goes to “Iron Flame,” which was 28+ hours of pure brain rotting fun that I thoroughly enjoyed. I finished it in four days, which is mildly concerning. Right behind that was “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand, which I tried to read because of an essay contest. It was more interesting than I thought, and even though a lot of it flew over my head, I think I understand why it’s so controversial. I got through 27/32 hours before giving up. So close, but I just couldn’t.

My top author is Orson Scott Card, which isn’t at all a surprise to me. I spent 191 hours , which is 11,000+ minutes and >25% of my listening time on his books. 16 in total. Finished them all. It’s majorly problematic, for one because I should not be listening to these books for the 7th time. I should also not be listening to the same book twice in three months. Most importantly, I discovered recently that Card is someone that I really, deeply disagree with. They’re not even the greatest books (as I am learning after seven listens). But these stories have been my comfort blanket since middle school. I listened to them a lot during the hectic, unfamiliar first few weeks at MIT, and I listened to more as I’ve settled back at home over winter break. It’s one indulgence that I just can’t bring myself to give up, especially when familiar stories help me get through change.

If I had to pick a non-comfort-based, non-statistical favorite book from this year, though… it’d probably be “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August,” by Claire North. I’m a massive sucker for anything time travel-adjacent, and this story had a really unique take on the quintessential “time traveler” society. I don’t know if there was anything particularly deep, but this was just a really fun read for my tastes, and that’s my only requirement!

Ok, analysis done! If you’re looking for actual book recs, I apologize, but I have literally no more thoughts in my head. I don’t remember 70% of the books on this list. I couldn’t tell you who their main characters were, and I couldn’t tell you anything about the plot. I think I really just listen to audiobooks the way many people listen to music—as much as I wish I could be a cool person with Literary Thoughts™ and actual taste, I have pathetically few intellectual thoughts about books. I just listen to things because they sound nice and because they make me feel the way I want to feel—like the movie soundtrack03 no offense to composers—John Williams we ❤️ you of my life, I suppose! They’re awesome, and fun, and ever-present in my life, but they’re also not the focal point of the story.

So there we go—my audiobook wrapped! And if you’re looking for a good distraction in this hectic season, don’t forget to check out today’s sponsor, YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY, and use my promo code “Hi, I’d like to get a library card!” to start listening for NO MONEY DOWN, NO MONEY FOREVER!

  1. I can only do this if it’s STEM homework—it feels like I’m just using two different halves of my brain. And now that I’m at MIT, I can only occasionally do this (usually w/ math psets) back to text
  2. or four! i may or may not have initiated my master plan to obtain four :) back to text
  3. no offense to composers—John Williams we ❤️ you back to text