Audible books in Russian

Anyone here have Audible? I’m going to try them out and see if I like it. I’m going to go with childrens books or beginner school books due to my limited vocabulary.

I’m just wondering what people here have used from that site and if there’s any low intermediate booms out there that peak your interest. I’m asking because I’m at a stalemate and I need interesting stuff to read and listen to.

While you’re looking for books, try this podcast series. It might push you forward a bit if you have not already tried it. Ignore the level it says it is.

Thanks I really like these.

Also, after more research, I don’t think Audible books are cost effective or if they have the text to go with the books.

It’s the series im currently working through. My goal has been to switch over to real life news and current events stories, but it just hasnt worked out for me, it was too hard, just noise. This series is adding many words to my known words list though as well as not being boring, I feel some actual progression.

Just some thoughts.

Reading and listening to real life news and current stories is crazy hard - crazy hard. It’s a great goal, and it is my goal, but realize it will take a lot of time.

With real news/stories you are dealing with lots of factors - speed of speech, sloppy speech with people interrupting each other, idioms, cultural references, a crazy amount of vocabulary, complex thoughts traversing sentences and paragraphs, etc.

I have been working at it for 7 years and it is just starting to click. Some native content I can understand almost as easily as English and some is like listening to Martian. I would also say there is a big difference between day-to-day conversational Russian and news/real life stories on the radio. For example, I can understand about 100% of what I hear my Russian wife say to her friends but listening to an indepth discussion of the Ukrainian crisis on the radio is a different matter entirely.

Even if you could read everything perfectly and understood all, you would still have a hard time listening to natives at first because words are no longer words in regular speech. They are blurred sounds and you need to be able to pick up the patterns without translating as they are too fast otherwise.

Same thing happens in English as I am trying to explain to my Russian wife who is having trouble with native content. For example, it is very easy for even a beginning English student to read the following:
“What are you doing today?”
“I am to the movie with David”
“What time you going to be home?”

But Americans say in a very blurred way:

  1. wayadonTODAY?
  2. gontaMOVIEwdavid
  3. WHATimyagonbehome?

They are not individual words but blurred sounds where you hear based on flow and emphasis. Same thing with Russian (and I assume many language).

My advice is too relax on the native content and go slowly or you will frustrate yourself - I did and was frustrated daily. There is so much great content on lingq in Russian! My one wish is that they would create a guide that would help students work through content more easily than just say “choose what is interesting to you”. That works when you know how to learn a foreign language but death when you do not. I found the levels assigned (beginner, intermediate, advanced) to be completely inaccurate for me.

My Recommended list of content for beginners to advanced IF the goal is towards conversational Russian (only a snippet. Just my highest recommended choices):

  1. Beginners: “Who is she” and “eating out”
  2. Intermediate: The entire 111 Русский Подкаст by Solena (I did all of these but 2, due to low sound quality, and loved them. I just like her voice I think).
  3. Intermediate: NCLRC-2009
  4. Intermediate+: ДЕНЬ ЗА ДНЁМ, РАЗГОВОРЫ С ЕВГЕНИЕМ (tons and tons of great stuff by evgueny)
  5. Intermediate+: VoA - Russian
  6. Advanced: RussianLingQ
  7. Advanced+: Эхо Москвы (if you really want to kill yourself) I found “ГОРОД ОТ УМА” series to be the easiest of the bunch though.

I tend to stay away from books and stories except for the joy reading. I read them but don’t spend too much time on listening because it is not conversational Russian.

I would say too that it is hard to learn too much vocab and listening together, at least it was for me. I would do this - "Ah! I am smart and motivated! I’ll just go straight to a RussianLingQ dialog. I would open it and I would know about 10% of the words. I learned the words and listened over and over and over. I got there with some of these dialogs but what a massive waste of time and with much suffering. Much more efficient when I learned to pick dialogs where I knew 80%+ words.

Good luck. Okay, back to suffering through a Эхо Москвы conversation that is super hard for me ))))


Good advice right here.

I did the entire Eating Out series and about 3/4 of the Who Is She series. I also did 2/3 of Evgueny’s Простые тексты на разный темы but it started to get a bit dry and difficult for my liking.

It would be cool if LingQ had subcategories of the content (IE, a Food section, Exercise, Cars, etc.)

Also, 7 years is a daunting number! But good job keeping it up for that long. I really hope it doesn’t take me 7 years to become decently proficient.

Even if you could read everything perfectly and understood all, you would still have a hard time listening to natives at first because words are no longer words in regular speech. They are blurred sounds and you need to be able to pick up the patterns without translating as they are too fast otherwise.

This is true. I can try to listen to the podcast without reading to just focus on listening, but listening to a similar dialogue by someone else, there will be stuff lost in translation.

Unfortunately, conversation is not an ideal model like listening to podcasts.

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It really depends on your goals. I have been able to carry out meaningful Russian conversations for many years. Although, in fairness, my wife is Russian and my home language is Russian. So, I probably get to speak more Russian than any student who isn’t in a Russian speaking area.

I was in Tver and Petersburg on business 18 months ago and had zero problems with the language. In fact, I had a super scary situation at the Mariinsky theater where for some unknown reason I lost consciousnesses during Swan Lake. I woke up laying in the hall surrounding the theater with a doctor over me. I had zero issues speaking with him even in a crisis situation. I remember thinking 2 thoughts at same time - “Omg. What happened to me?” and “Wow. This is cool that I can speak Russian with the doctor.”

However, in conversation you have so much control. Usually, people will adjust their speed and complexity to you. You also have the power of the question or response:

  1. Can you repeat that?
  2. I don’t understand
  3. Please say a little slower?
  4. Can you say in different words?
  5. Just give me a second to think…

News shows are a completely different beast. The topics are more complex, they are fast, and you can’t interact.

I found listening to podcasts that are way above my level without the text first were a complete waste of time. Until recently, to really learn, I always read or read/listened and then tried to hear without the text. Otherwise, I was just listening to mostly jumble.

It is only recently I don’t always have to do that. On the way home the other day I said, “I will listen to this Eko Moskvi podcast cold and then when I get home I will read and see how much I knew”. When I got home I didn’t need to read anything because I understood the whole podcast.

However, I am working with a different podcast right now that there is no way I could do that with and I am working heavily with the text. I could listen to it and certainly understanding a ton of common phrases. But I couldn’t listen to it for meaning.

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Hi SanneT - weirdly it won’t let me reply to you directly so I just posted above.

I don’t know why I collapsed and I don’t remember anything special. Never happened before or since. I just went back and looked at my facebook posts from that time. Kinda funny. However, the last thing I said in these posts is absolutely true and that is why I am sharing them (and I don’t think I have shared them on lingq before but I have a terrible memory. I apologize if I have.)

FB Post 1:
Mariinsky ballet. St petersburg! i love this place. Waiting for swan lake to start. Right now!!

FB Post 2:
Haha. That didn’t go as planned. Show started and 10 minutes later I started to get dizzy. I was in 4th row and knew I had little time before I lost consciousness. I tried to make the door but collapsed in the isle with big thud. Woke up laying on floor outside of the hall with doctor looking over me. I have never lost consciousness before. They called ambulance. Nurse locked arm in arm with me to help me walk. Haha - 2 nights in a row with a beautiful Russian girl locked on my arm but unfortunately still not the one I would most like to lock arms with. Here is my doctor. Kinda fun as I spoke Russian to him only.

FB Post 3:
With the bad there is always good. There is a beautiful little story from my terrifying incident yesterday. I was sitting in the medical room and I was dizzy and not fully aware. This pretty woman arrived several times and smiled at me. She kept looking at me and smiling. I was ‘out of it’ so I wasn’t really aware of her.

Later I asked my friend, “who was that woman who kept arriving and smiling and checking on me? Was she head doctor or clinic director?”

my friend said, “No. She was the woman who saved you. She ran and got the doctor and sat with you and demanded that everyone ‘help this beautiful young man.’”

I was so mad at my friend for not telling me this immediately. If I had know I would have gone up to her and hugged her and kissed her head and thanked her for her kindness. Now she will never know how grateful I am to her.

When I go to Russia people often ask “why? Isn’t it filled with crime and violence?” I always answer, “No, it is filled with the kindest most beautiful people on earth.”


I have been with audible for a long time now and you are right: There’s no text to accompany the book so you’d have to get the book/ebook elsewhere.

If you have an Amazon account you could look for the other way around: If you buy the ebook first you can sometimes get audible’s audiobook for cheaper. (e.g. Unfortunately this does not work for Swedish and I expect not for Russian either.

I’m not going to say anything much about cost effective; that’s something everyone has to decide for themselves. There aren’t many possibilities to get English audiobooks in Germany and for me iTunes audiobooks are a lot more expensive (in the case of the book above: 10 € difference between my monthly audible sub and iTunes). This may well be different for everyone else.

For the time being I use text-to-speech for Swedish to get the sound as well but it’s obviously not the same as real voices. It also takes a lot of time to copy the text from the physical book to a text file and then have the computer read it to me. I do it in small chunks and it does help but…

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