From hardcover to audiobooks + book review for Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again“- The famous starting sentence from a famous book, that was long on my list of books to read. However, before I put down my book review, I wanted to talk about how I ‘read’ this book.

If you had asked me a decade back about my reading habits, I would have sworn by hardcover books. I always had a library membership when I was younger because I loved reading and there are only so many books one can buy with their pocket money. When I started earning, like my pocket money, most of it would go on books or stationary to make notes with on the book, or notes about, in my diary, while I read. I loved holding a new book, smelling the pages of the books, owning books, making them my own, and showcasing them in my makeshift book shelf wherever I lived.

However, I also had to move a lot- have always been a nomad. And in the process, I started finding it difficult to carry my prized books along with me everywhere. The volume of books started growing. Friends who I had lent books to, would misplace them or forget to return. Sometimes it added to extra backpack weight on the flights or everywhere I travelled. Also, I started wondering about the impact on the environment every time I bought a hard cover. Then, technology stepped in, and one of the greatest inventions of the decade was made for readers like me- Amazon’s Kindle.

When my sister first suggested I try it, I was very sceptical. I am not a tablet sort of person- and kindle looked like a tablet. It looked so boring- black and white pages, like a slate. I like my things colourful, or pages where I can make notes with colourful pens! I could not feel the pages, turn them with my fingers. However, they gave me one for my birthday anyway, and I decided to let my issues aside and give it a go. After the initial hiccup of getting used to an electronic device to read books on, I got completely hooked to it. I know it lacks a lot of things that original book lovers look for in a book, but I found it so useful! I could still make notes, highlight passages, carry all my books with me all the time on this weightless piece of device. I could read anywhere, any time. I had access to more books now. Basically, although I love paperbacks, I have now moved on with times and become a kindle reader.

Finally, comes the third part of my book reading transformation- how times and habits change with technology eh? Welcome to the world of audio books now. Again, when I heard about audiobooks in my book clubs, I used to wonder, how is this the same as reading? I mean, one isn’t actually reading, but listening to the book in question. Is that the same thing? Does it trigger the same feeling of satisfaction one gets while ‘reading a book’? So I came across this post by Jo Middleton Jo Middleton’s review, where she suggests trying this app called BookBeat to listen to some good books. I thought, what’s the harm? I can try this out. The first 2 weeks trial period is free, but after that the site charges you around 12 pounds per month- in which you can listen to as many books of different genres available on the app, as you please. I chose ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier as my first audio book and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed at all! The book was very well narrated, and I could listen to it without any restrictions on my mobile. I didn’t have to wait to be in the car, or at home to take my kindle out to read. I could listen to the story while cooking, while walking, while running, while eating during office lunch breaks- you get the drill. I just loved that. I know I missed writing notes or highlighting certain lines that I liked, but I need to figure out a way to do that-maybe pause and rewind and write down the line in a notepad I carry- must think of something.

A snapshot of how the app looks like on iPhone


Now, I have bought another book on my kindle and on the audio book app, and have also downloaded the ‘Audible‘ app from Amazon, which is cheaper in terms of monthly rentals than BookBeat, and also has a lot more variety of books. But I haven’t tried the app yet, so not sure if I can recommend it on this post. A snapshot of how the app looks like on iPhone.

So, all that said, here is my short review for Rebecca:

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book & Author: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

The book was read as part of an audio book and I loved the narration. It was scary and macabre and the background violin score was an icing on the cake. I could close my eyes and imagine all the characters and Manderly house as well. It was like listening to a movie- very well written. I did guess before the end, what part of the mystery was, however, the last page climax was very unexpected. Well written and well narrated on BookBeat. Recommended for fans who like macabre and mystery 🙂

So, my questions to you all:

  1. What are your thoughts on ‘reading’ a book via audio books? Would you consider books finished via narrations as books completed from your to-read shelf, or not?
  2. What are your thoughts on Rebecca? Did you find the narrator- the second Mrs. Du Winters a little annoying in the beginning? Because I did 🙂
  3. Why was the end or the verdict justified by the author? I disagreed actually..I don’t want to give away any spoilers, hence the vagueness of this question. I’m sure readers who have read this book will understand what I am hinting towards:)

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