Having tried audiobooks in the past, I have never actually been able to finish one – always getting bored or losing concentration for too long so the storyline no longer makes any sense. Something about listening to a thirteen-hour audio seems more daunting and time consuming than simply reading the book. Now, however, since time is not an issue and distractions from the outside world are near-impossible, I decided it was a perfect time to give them another try. Using yet another fake email (I know, I’m a cheapskate), I signed up for my third free audible trial, browsing the listings for a book that I both wanted to read and did not yet have a physical copy of. I’m a huge David Nicholls fan, having read all four of his other novels, and his latest release Sweet Sorrow has been on my to-read list since it came out last summer.
Narrated by Rory Kinnear, an actor I have unfairly disliked ever since being made to watch endless reruns of his Hamlet for my A Level English, I was sceptical about how well Nicholls’ prose would be translated into audio. Yet, being a predominantly Shakespearean theatre actor, Kinnear brought this book – incidentally about the production of a Shakespeare play – to life in a way that no book has ever come alive for me before. As expected, the book itself was a beautifully written and heart-wrenching story about love, adolescence and nostalgia; hearing it read aloud made the story feel even more pitch-perfect. I found myself laughing and crying at points in the audio where I would have inwardly acknowledged some emotion had I read the words on a page but not been affectedly so profoundly. Therefore, while we are all stuck inside and looking for an escape from the reality that is our world right now, there is nothing I would recommend more than downloading an audiobook and surrendering yourself to it for the foreseeable future.
– Esther Huntington-Whiteley
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