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I Am SO Converted!
I was a late adopter of Audible. As a writer with a borderline unhealthy relationship with books, I fundamentally disliked the idea of digital books, e-readers, and audio books (unless we are talking about the ones that say, “You’ll know it’s time to turn the page, when Tinkerbell waves her magic wand, like this (sparkly sound).” Those were perfectly acceptable, but all other audio books – thumbs down!
I despised having some stranger’s voice in my head, getting in between me and the story. It never sounded right. End of story.
And, luckily for me, through all my childhood years and my twenties and early thirties, I had ample time to read. Although, I’m not sure I would have said it was ample at the time – it was a lot of time, as in several hours a day – but I always agreed with Bill Richardson who wrote in Bachelor Brother’s Bed & Breakfast, “…the ratio of books to available time is terribly skewed.” Yes. Yes it is, Bill.
Never Enough Time
And then… I had kids. And that was where my reading stopped, for a long time – the literary desert years of my life.
Suddenly there were no free minutes of the day or night (although, if there had been, I would have chosen to sleep, not read). And then I was juggling full-time work, and two kids, and reading and books just fell by the wayside… for 5 and a half long years.
But, ironically, while parenthood had driven me into the desert, it was also parenthood that drove me back out of it – more specifically, it was my struggles to parent a challenging child that led me to audible.
I had no time. Zero. But I was desperately in need of information. Or support. Or a lobotomy. Something.
I had bought several books about raising high-spirited children, and what to do when traditional discipline doesn’t work – basically a whole bunch of “what to do when you don’t know what the fuck to do” type books, and they had been sitting on my desk for months, untouched.
I was going to read them. It was on my list to read them. But I never actually got that far down my to do list in any given day. I had spent more time dusting them than reading them – and that is never a good thing.
Then one day, I discovered that the very same books that were sitting – unread but dust-free – on my desk were also available on audible. And, while I didn’t have time to sit down and read (ha ha ha – ah, I remember those days), I did spend quite a bit of time in the car, and I could listen… so I signed up.
At first, I listened only to non-fiction books, because the voice reading the book didn’t matter as much to me. It was the information I was after, not the experience of being swept into some other world.
But it didn’t take long for me to discover all the incredible fiction, including classics (most of which were thrown in with my package and didn’t take up any of my monthly credits).
And something else was happening too. The quality of audible books was getting better. Like, a LOT better. I listened to the most wrenching reading of To Kill A Mockingbird by Sissy Spacek. And my all-time favorite – Nick Offerman’s reading of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (phenomenal).
I was getting myself back, because a reader who is not reading… well, let’s just say it’s not a good thing, and leave it there.
Here’s a quick rundown of my listening history:
2015: 4 books
2016: 7 books
2017: 16 books
2018: 24 books
2019: 27 books
2020: 13 books (derailed by COVID and kids “learning” from home!!!)
2021: 18 books (so derailed I decided to quit my job!!)
2022: 39 books
By June of 2023: 32 books
So, I’ve listened to 32 books so far this year (it’s mid June). And I’ve still got 8 book credits that have accrued in my account (which means a LOT of the books I listened to were included in my plan and didn’t require credits) and I’ll earn 12 more credits by the end of the year.
Ah… so much reading to do. And there’s STILL not enough time.
Today, I still don’t have time to “sit down and read.” But, with a 12 year old and a 13 year old at home, I do PLENTY of driving. And now, I don’t mind quite so much when my afternoon looks like this:
Pick my kids up from school
Drive them home to drop off their gear and get new gear
Drive them back to school/friend’s house
Pick them up a hour later
Drive to baseball practice
Drive other kid to softball practice
Drive to pick up first kid at baseball
Drive to pick up second kid from softball
Drive to CVS because “someone” forgot they need to bring poster board to school tomorrow
Drive home and stop for frozen yogurt
(And you were wondering how I had time to listen to an average of 5.3 books a month.)
But it’s gone way beyond just time when I am driving. I can look at washing dishes, folding laundry, and cooking dinner in a whole new light. This is MY time now, lost in a book.
I even take two 30 minutes walks everyday now. I always told myself I didn’t have time to exercise. But, if I can exercise AND listen to a book at the same time… well, that’s a whole different story.
And nothing against reading printed books, but the hours of time I used to spend on the couch with a book – well, those were sedentary hours. But, reading (for me) doesn’t have to be a “lazy” activity anymore. Now, I can be here (see pic) with my favorite books. Yeah… I know… that’s a lot to take in.
I literally live with AirPods in my ears now, which I finally indulged in and purchased for myself and now can’t live without.
Don’t even get me STARTED on AirPods.
180 BOOKS SMARTER
But in all… this is 180 books that I otherwise would not have read. I’m 180 books wiser. I am a better writer for having read those 180 books.
Thank you, authors.
Thank you, readers.
Thank you, Audible.