Thursday, September 03, 2009

Listen Up

For years, my in-laws have touted the joys of reading books on their Kindle or listening to audio books. While I doubt I’ll ever have a Kindle, I am always interested in hearing how they fit audio books into their lives. I enjoy reading aloud and being read to. Chip and I used to read books to each other on car trips, and there was a time when I listened to Dick Estell’s Radio Reader almost every night. This time coincided with the time when I didn't have kids- it hasn't really worked out for me since then, and I've missed it.

The success of my in-laws’ experience with audio books also seemed intrinsically tied to the absence of small children in their daily lives. They listen in the car, on their nightly walk, as they sit quietly in the evenings knitting, etc. These situations do not occur naturally in my life, but it’s not totally hopeless. I do have two afternoons a week with no kids in the car, so that’s 45 minutes or so a week that I could bank on listening to a book. (I don’t have a fancy iPhone dock in my car like a lot of people out there, though so I had to get over my misgivings about wearing headphones in the car.) And though I won’t ever listen when I’m jogging, I do take nice walks fairly regularly. So I decided that it might work, and I gave it a try.

I went to audible.com, which was recommended by Roy and Sherri, and signed up for their special introductory offer- for $7.50 a month, I can download one book a month. That price is for the first three months- after that the price goes up to $15 a month. (I'm not sure I'll stick around once the price goes up- I'm still trying to decide if it's worth it for me.) So far, I’ve done one month, one book. And it was pretty cool. I listened to Rain Gods by James Lee Burke, read by Will Patton. He was a great narrator and I really enjoyed the book. I did listen in the car and while taking walks- that worked fine. I also liked listening while I was doing the dishes, cleaning up, etc. I hadn’t planned on that, so it was a pleasant surprise. However, I found it weird to sit with the kids and listen to a book while they played or watched cartoons or whatever, times when I would usually be reading a book that could easily be put down when they (frequently) interrupt me. I still managed to pull it off, though, thanks to the “back up a few seconds” rewind button on my iPhone. (Just like the one on my TiVo!)

Because I tend to be lazier about reading non-fiction than I am about reading fiction, I’m thinking that next month’s Audible download should be something like Outliers that I might otherwise kind of drag myself through. Any other suggestions? Do any of you “read” audio books regularly? Where do you get the books? What genres work best? What should I put on my to-read list in this format?

4 comments:

Roy Chockley said...

Glad this is working for you. Outliers is very entertaining, as is Blink, both of which are read by Gladwell, who is very engaging...

Cheapo Mimi in Nashville said...

Long list for me. I tend to like non-fiction & how-tos in printed form and fiction in audio. I have reread/relistened to a lot of classics.

Tops for me
The Darling - fiction, Mary Beth Hurt - I dreamed about this book for weeks
Water for Elephants - gritty, all-consuming fiction, great reader
The Worst Hard times - non-fiction on Dust Bowl & depression
A Christmas Carol - Patrick Stewart, absolutely made me cry
In Cold Blood
My Antonia
Farenheit 451 read by Bradbury
Ender's Game
Little Women
Robinson Crusoe
Great Expectations
Eat Pray Love
Animal Vegetable Miracle
Roosevelt, Kennedy, Obama inauguration speeches

The reviews on Audible are very helpful. But at $15/book I think it's a little overpriced.

Heather said...

The Memphis Public Library looks like it might be another good resource.

http://memphis.lib.overdrive.com/0CA98804-AD15-41B4-B588-32BD51375BDB/10/206/en/Default.htm

Anonymous said...

Hey girl. It's Nikki. I have listened to several Grisham books and loved them.