Literature is what sets humans apart from well-dressed monkeys.
Literature simultaneously preserves and shapes culture.
All in all, literature advances the human race. But can it also advance your Spanish skills? Well, if you enjoy a good Spanish audiobook, it can definitely help take your Spanish skills to the next level.
Whether you want to learn Spanish in your car or simply prefer spoken to written language, audiobooks are a great way to enjoy all the wisdom and insight contained in books in audio form.
You probably have a collection of audiobooks specifically designed to teach you Spanish. These are like the audio version of learning e-books in that you can easily take them with you on the go and they contain tons of great information about the Spanish language.
But don’t be afraid to venture into the realm of other great Spanish-language books available as audiobooks. Whether you want to enjoy a classic Spanish book or a modern tale, audiobooks have you covered.
Without further ado, let’s get up close and personal with some awesome Spanish audiobook sources that will help improve your Spanish skills and let you listen to a good story at the same time!
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Spanish Audiobooks
Try jotting down notes. Assuming you’re not driving, jot down notes on unfamiliar words, plot points or even interesting quotations. This will help you get some writing practice, but you can also use your notes as study material. Look up unfamiliar words or memorize interesting quotes to help expand your vocabulary.
Think about the work in Spanish. You can even speak your thoughts aloud for a little speaking practice. Regardless, summarizing and analyzing what happened in the audiobook in Spanish will help you improve your skills by using Spanish for complex thinking. Over time, this will improve your overall fluency and build your confidence with the language.
Consider starting a book club with Spanish-speaking friends. Not only will this help push you to continue learning, this will also give you the opportunity to discuss your favorite audiobooks in Spanish. Put up flyers at the local library or coffee shop, or use social media to get the word out.
When you stop enjoying yourself, stop listening. There’s nothing worse than to continue on with something once you get bored. If you listen for too long of a stretch, your brain gets tired and the activity might start to seem dull (or painful). You start to tune out. And, worst of all, you’ll stop learning. If you’re no longer enjoying yourself, you’ll no longer associate listening with fun and you’ll quit using this tool. That’s why it’s important to seek texts that keep your interest–spice up the type of books you choose and just try to keep enjoying yourself!
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6 Superb Sources for Spanish Audiobooks
Audible, one of the most popular sources for audiobooks, offers a nice selection in Spanish. This includes works that are currently popular as well as older texts.
Audible allows you to purchase individual audiobooks or access their collection with a monthly subscription. However, if you’re not sure this is something you want long term, they also offer a free trial. You can also download the Audible app through iTunes or Google Play.
Recommendation: “1984” by George Orwell
The classic novel by George Orwell has recently had a resurgence in popularity. The dystopian novel follows Winston Smith, a lowly government worker, as he independently rebels against a tyrannical government. The novel uses some words that are exclusively for the story, but other than that, it leans on fairly common vocabulary, so it shouldn’t overwhelm Spanish students.
While many of Amazon’s audiobook options simply link to Audible (which is also an Amazon company), it’s important to mention this source separately because you can also still find a number of Spanish-language audiobooks on CD. Using the search term “audio libro CD” (audiobook CD) will turn up some strong options.
Recommendation: “Orgullo y prejuicio” by Jane Austen
“Orgullo y prejuicio” (“Pride and Prejudice”) is the Jane Austen classic that follows Elizabeth Bennet, a spirited young woman, who has hastily judged a potential suitor. Over time, their relationship grows in spite of the initial foibles. “Orgullo y prejuicio” is a good choice for Spanish students since the plot will already be familiar to many. This makes it easier to follow the story even if you miss a few words.
Audiobooks offers over 100,000 audiobooks, including hundreds of Spanish-language options. Subscriptions cost $14.95 per month, but they do offer a 30-day free trial. The $14.95 gets you one book a month, but you can purchase additional titles if one isn’t enough. The Audiobooks app is available for download on iTunes or Google Play.
Recommendation: “Platero y yo” by Juan Ramón Jiménez
“Platero y yo” (“Platero and I”) was written by acclaimed, Nobel Prize winner Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez. This prose poem follows a loveable donkey (Platero) in whom the speaker confides. The language is poetic, so it’s generally more flowery (and therefore a little trickier for Spanish students). However, the work is relatively brief and is broken down into shorter chunks, so it should still be approachable for intermediate Spanish students.
Loyal Books offers free public domain audiobooks in tons of different languages, including 80 free Spanish-language options. The site is very easy to navigate, but you can also download these books and play them from whatever device you like.
Recommendation: “Cuentos de amor de locura y de muerte” by Horacio Quiroga
“Cuentos de amor de locura y de muerte” (“Tales of Love, Madness and Death”) is a collection of short stories by Uruguayan playwright Quiroga, whose work influenced the Latin American magic realism movement. The short stories contained in this volume cover all sorts of dark topics like drug addiction, greed, insanity, death and more. “Cuentos de amor de locura y de muerte” is a good choice for Spanish students because it’s composed of several short stories. This division into smaller chunks will make it easy to dive in without committing too much time in a stretch.
LibriVox offers free public domain audiobooks created by users. Volunteers have read public domain books and made them available for download on their website. With over 300 Spanish-language options, you’ll have plenty to choose from. You can listen online or download to your favorite device. LibriVox also offers an app through iTunes and Google Play.
Recommendation: “Las cien mejores poesías de la lengua castellana”
“Las cien mejores poesías de la lengua castellana” (“The Hundred Best Poems of the Castilian Language”) is an anthology of popular Spanish poems. This is a good option for any Spanish student who has very little time to commit to listening to audiobooks. Many poems are just a couple minutes long, so it’s a great way to enjoy the benefits of listening to audiobooks with very little time commitment.
Libro Móvil (Mobile Book) is a website dedicated entirely to Spanish-language books and audiobooks. Each book or audiobook requires a one-time purchase. Since the website is entirely in Spanish, this is a better option for intermediate and advanced students—the purchasing process could be challenging for beginning students. Check out the Libro Móvil app on iTunes or Google Play.
Recommendation: “Los Borgia: Crimen y Pasión”
“Los Borgia: Crimen y Pasión” (“The Borgias: Crime and Passion”) tells the story of the Italian Renaissance noble family with Spanish roots. They were suspected of many crimes, engaged in power struggles, made enemies with the famed Medici family and so much more. Many of the family’s exploits seem like they could be pulled from the latest plot line in your favorite soap opera. Sure, the Borgias were also patrons of the arts, but that bit of history just isn’t as entrancing.
“Los Borgia: Crimen y Pasión” is a good choice for intermediate to advanced Spanish students. It uses some historical vocabulary that you probably haven’t encountered, but it’s also a nice way to improve your Spanish while learning about history.
Plus, this audiobook also includes the text of the book, so you can refer back to it to aid your learning.
These six sources for Spanish audiobooks will help you find an audiobook that’s just right to improve your Spanish and give you hours of enjoyment.
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