My addiction to audio books developed during the training for my first marathon, Vienna, in 2007. I knew I would be putting in hours on the local trails and pavements in preparation for the event, so when I saw a free iPod offered for a subscription to audible.fr, 2 books a month for a reasonable fee, I took the plunge and have never looked back. Now wherever I walk or run alone, I am listening to a book. (I save music listening for the motorbike, as it’s too noisy for a story). I took my listening to new levels for my second marathon the following year here in Nice (see photo), when I decided to listen to a book during the actual race. I reckoned I was on line for a 4:30 time and chose my thriller accordingly. When I realized I was going to bust that time by over 20 minutes I was sorely tempted to slow down to fit the whole book into the race, but my competitiveness won, of course! Also with an audio book no more squirming on the beach to try and awkwardly hold the book at the right angle to shield your eyes from the sun!
Though I select predominantly novels, I listen to all types of books, usually about half of which I buy in French. My present audio choice is a non-fiction book called The Power of Pull a book about understanding and harnessing the shifting forces of our networked world. My next in line is Carole Burnett’s autobiography, This Time Together (this album also has a grammy nomination this year for Best Spoken Word Album). The choice is pretty extensive.
Do I still read printed books? Absolutely, but this has probably more than doubled the books I enjoy each year. I have always loved being read to and enjoy hearing the different narrators’ styles. I have even been known to search for books read by the same narrator, if I have really appreciated someone’s rendition. There are many audio books for kids and teens and indeed I think this can be one way to potentially encourage reluctant readers in the family. Listening to a book together on a long car journey is a great family activity.
I stock all my audio books on my Mac as I wouldn’t have space for them on the IPod, but there is one that remains on the IPod permanently, that is The Julie Andrews Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies compiled by Emma Walton Hamilton and Julie Andrews. These poems I come back to again and again. If you have never listened to/read this anthology, I highly recommend you borrow it from the library or better still buy your own copy. I have the written as well as the audio version, as it is most beautifully illustrated by James McMullan and is the sort of book that will become a family favorite. You will find old favorites you memorized as a child, new discoveries as well as plenty by Julie, Emma and other members of the family. I had never read any Robert Frost before this book (clearly demonstrating I can’t be American!) and I now just love his poems. If you enjoy watching the Grammies, you may be interested to know that Julie and Emma’s Poetry Anthology audiobook has been nominated for a GrammyAward this year, so tune in this Sunday, February 13th! I am certainly rooting for them.
Let me know your experiences with audio books.