Storytelling, podcasts and audiobooks

The sound of another voice may soothe and relax, even if it isn’t live. Most of us have access to the radio and TV, which can offer a welcome on-tap connection to the outside world when we need it. If you have internet access, another resource that can be calming, fascinating and take you into a completely different space is the world of podcasts and audiobooks.

Audiobooks can take you back to a time when people read books to you, perhaps a daily bedtime story, and you may be able to tap into the comfort and relaxation that this can bring. Are there books you’ve been meaning to read for years and never quite got around to like Moby Dick, Wuthering Heights or Frankenstein? Or maybe you’d like to hear books that you go back to again and again, read out loud to you.

During periods of confinement, especially for someone who is the only person in their house, a daily dose of being read to could really help.

You don’t have to part with any cash

You can borrow ebooks, eaudio and emagazines for free from the Reading Libraries website with your library card and PIN. Register now for free. And here’s a short video all about the Reading Borough Council eLibrary

Some commercial sites like Podbean offer free plans that provide access to hundreds of podcasts and the LibriVox books that are in the public domain and read by a team of volunteers.

Listening books is a charity that provides a postal and internet based audiobook service to over 100,000 UK residents who have a disability or illness that impacts their ability to read the printed word. For individuals, membership costs between £20-£45 per year. However, they can also offer a limited number of free memberships for those who would find the fee a barrier to joining the service.

Paid-for sites

Commercial sites like Audible and All You Can Books will give you a free month trial where you can download or stream one free book and make up your mind about whether to pay the monthly subscription, once the freebie has expired.

Audiobooks in languages other than English
For children
  • USA-based non-profit SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Kristen Bell, Rita Moreno, Viola Davis, Jaime Camil, Kevin Costner, Lily Tomlin, Sarah Silverman, Betty White, Wanda Sykes and dozens more.
  • And you can find loads more here.

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