Audiobooks & Jigsaw puzzles: killing two birds with one stone.

It is said that doing jigsaw is one of the methods of wasting your time. For many of us this is a way of escaping everyday reality, for others – unacceptable waste of productivity. I would like to present another view: doing jigsaw as a great opportunity to read books.

But before I start, I would like to mention that jigsaw puzzles engage both hemispheres of the brain, develop short-term memory, improve spatial-visual reasoning, and relieve stress. They have a very positive effect on our health, which I am going to describe in another blog entry.

How to ‘read’ while doing jigsaw

Books are meant to be read. Traditional reading is possible when we follow written sentences with our eyes, the same sense which is needed for doing jigsaw. If only there was a way to combine these two activities! Oh, wait…

Puzzle Maniacs may need their eyes to assembling jigsaw pieces, but they definitely don’t need their ears! I myself am a person who loves to diversify my activities to make the most of this time. And one of my small rituals is… listening audiobooks.

What are audiobooks?

An audiobook (or a talking book) is a recording of a book being read out loud by lectors. It can sometimes be in a form of an audio drama, which is an acoustic performance depending on dialogue, music and sound effects. Although the history of audiobooks begins in the 19th century, it has been only recently since the technology allowed them to become popular. I mean, try to record ‘The Lord of The Rings’ having only 4-minute-long tapes!

After the tapes there was an era of CDs and Mp3s, and now we can finally download the recordings directly from the Internet. Many new publishers and distributors have appeared along with new websites and Apps dedicated to audiobooks.


How to listen?

One of the things that have changed about audiobooks through time is definitely their availability. The availability of different titles as well as technological devices necessary for listening.

How to play audiobooks? Few years back we needed CD or Mp3 player. The development of mobile devices allowed us to listen to audiobooks on almost every smartphone. We can also use other tools of course, such as computers, tablets, different audio players. Most of the audiobooks are recorded in mp3 file format which can be purchased in bookstores and online stores on CDs, or in the form of files downloaded directly from the Internet. Here we can either buy audiobooks files which we can download and then play whenever we want, or we can opt for a subscription service and, by paying a fixed amount, have access to the entire database of audiobooks, for a period specified in the subscription.

How to get audiobooks? First, bookstores and online stores , including ones that are dedicated to audiobooks. The largest websites offer several or even several thousand (!) titles in their stores. Fairy tales, poetry, crime stories, romances, fantasy, non-fiction, books on personal development, and other genres - everyone will find something for themselves. But there are also alternative ways to get audiobooks. One of them are libraries. More and more public libraries also have audiobook collections. I personally use collection of Wojwódzka i Miejska Biblioteka Publiczna w Bydgoszczy (Poland) and I assure you that they have a really large selection of records.

Try services such as Audible or Google Audiobooks and you will see, that using pirated sites just doesn't make sense.

When to listen?

Whenever you want? Unlike traditional books, audiobooks don’t engage our attention so much that is why I recommend to listen to them doing jigsaw puzzles! I also listen while cleaning, riding a bike or car, walking my dog… As I observe puzzle lovers on the Internet, I see that they usually watch TV series or listen to the radio. What can be a problem here, is our divisibility of attention, which is an individual trait. So it's worth trying first to see if it's something for you.

What to listen?

Now this is a question you have to answer for yourself. Listen what you like because you have to enjoy it. Maybe some light reading for a start?

If you are afraid that listening to the lector will be too boring for you, start with audio dramas. They are a bit more expensive because their production costs more. Some of them are an amazing experience like Bible Audio (which is the biggest audio drama in Europe with 500 voices and over 113 hours of recording!). I remember how, while listening to the Shining (by Stephen King) in one winter evening, I had the constant feeling that someone was following me. What’s more, in the end I realized that the movie was so much worse than the book…

And when you finally get used to the books that are listened to, you can reach for the more demanding titles, especially if you consider jigsaw puzzles as a method of wasting time. Puzzles and audiobooks are very good for the brain!

Audiobooks for PuzzleManiacs

In love with (audio)books

As you may have noticed, I love audiobooks. I have already listened to hundreds of different titles. For many of them I wouldn’t normally find time for if I didn't listen to them in the background during some other activity. Try and see for yourself. Imagine listening to Harry Potter audiobook while assembling 3D jigsaw of Hogwarts castle!

I think I will write more about some other activities and small rituals of Puzzle Maniacs here on the blog soon.