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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, 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.

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8 Responses to AUDIBLE

  1. Hi Joanna,

    Thank you for visiting BookBlogFun where I discuss books for children. At BookBlogStuff, I blog about all other things centered around books. I recently posted a section called Jog and Blog which I started last year and will begin again in March. Although I have never run a marathon, it is nice to meet fellow runners who enjoy audiobooks as well.

    ~ Lauri Chandler

    • Joanna says:

      Hi Laurie, thanks for dropping by and I look forward to Jog and Blog starting again soon. Great idea to post a list during the year of the books you are listening to while running.


  2. That is so cool that you listened to a book while running a marathon! (Love that you considered slowing down in order to finish the book — probably a good thing that your competitiveness won out, though!)

    I second that recommendation of Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies. I just love it (as you probably know). Mum and I used to delve into it regularly — she had a copy in her room at the nursing home, which I’ve now given to another friend to enjoy.

    I listen to audiobooks in my car at times — I’m currently listening to Julie Andrews’ “Home: A Memoir of my Early Years” (I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to that one — during the time that I was adjusting to both parents going into nursing homes very suddenly within days of each other, that audiobook was what grounded me and comforted me and helped give me strength to go on.)

    I’ve also enjoyed Maya Angelou’s various autobiographies as audiobooks.

    I’ll soon have an iPod, and I suspect audiobooks will play a greater role in my life from now on!

    • Joanna says:

      Beth, I can see how “Home” with its message of fortitude (among others) and Julie’s voice narrating could have been a great source of comfort to you. I also listened to this more than once. I am really into autobiographies right now so thank you for the tip to listen to Angelou, it is a while since I read any of her books.

  3. Patricia Tilton says:

    Another stimulating entry! Never thought about jogging and listening to a book at the same time? The time must fly. You really are atheltic!

    Am a big fan of audio books. When my daughter was young, we listened to so many books while driving on long trips. Her favorite as a child was “Mandy,” by Julie Andrews, along with the Disney books, Anne of Green Gables and Black Beauty and every horse book I could find — she rode horses. Back then they were audio tapes.

    My husband and I travel with fiction and non-fiction books. My personal favorites are more spiritual in nature –Caroline Myss, Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Carol Parrish etc. Usually listen to while cleaning or driving around town. Haven’t heard of “The Power Pull.” Sounds like something I’d like. Right now I’m reading “Manifesting Michelangelo” by Joseph Farrell –very powerful book.

    I still prefer sitting with a book in my lap. Don’t forget to add “Sarah’s Key” or in French, “Sarah’s House,” by Tatiana De Rosnay to your list. A page turner.

    Looking forward to your next entry!


    • Joanna says:

      I go through phases of more non-fiction. I have read most of Eckhart Tolle’s books, but you are giving me lots of other useful ideas. You might like Scott Peck’s stuff, if you haven’t already read any? I was so frustrated when I went to the local library last week and realised I had forgotten to note down “Sarah’s House” and couldn’t remember the name, didn’t think to look on for it, will check now as I am ready to choose two audiobooks for February.


  4. Diane says:

    Oh Joanna, this post put a smile on my face, as I happen to be reading about a talkback radio host, come marathon runner, come first time writer, trying to kick a drinking problem. Hard to imagine all that in one book, well no not really, when the book is called Short fat chick in Paris written by the very witty Kerre Woodham. (see the Childrens Hub for more info). What a great way to pass the time, while running and yes like you I am rooting for Julie and Emma’s book also.

  5. Joanna says:

    Love the title of the book you’re reading, Diane :0 off to the Hub to read more 😉

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