I have never considered myself an audio book person. I like to hold my books in my hands; I like to see them sitting on my shelves. Being surrounded by books makes me feel warm and cozy. I find books comforting and magical. Of course, I realize that a huge and important part of those books is the stories that they contain. I have always appreciated the existence of audio books—they are certainly an amazing thing, to allow those with visual impairments or reading difficulties access to these stories that might otherwise be out of their reach. Of course though, I can see. I can read them myself. Why would I need an audio book?
For most of my life, the line of thought stopped there. Once, when I was younger, I got an audio book from the library when there was a long waiting list for a book that I wanted, but the audio version was available. This was back in the day of cassette tapes, which I must say gave me a bit of a distaste for the genre. I gave them little further thought until this previous New Year’s Eve—I very much wanted to finish my book by the end of the year, and had a long drive to make. I had only a few chapters left in the sixth book from A Series of Unfortunate Events, and was able to find the audio book for free online. I decided to give it a try. What a treat this turned out to be! The book was narrated by Tim Curry who was a perfect fit for the series; I was really impressed with his voice work in bringing life to the story.
Since I enjoyed the first part from A Series of Unfortunate Events, I listened to parts of other books in the series as well. Unfortunately, I ran into some trouble. I am a little distractible, and often found myself needing to replay parts. I discovered that it was nearly pointless to listen at certain times or when doing certain activities. Even though folding laundry or doing dishes seemed like perfectly thoughtless tasks, I found my mind drifting. And of course, I frustrated myself quite a bit with switching back and forth between books and audio every few chapters. After thinking through some of these kinks over the last several months, I decided that I would listen to at least 5 audio books as a sort of trial run, before putting the format on the back burner again.
As it turns out, I did not need all five books before making a decision: I have no desire to replace reading with audio, but there is a perfect place for audio books in my life. For me, audio books are an ideal way for me to revisit books. I have always been a re-reader, but often struggle justifying the want to re-read when there are so many new books waiting on my shelves. There are a few times that I have found I can work in audio books during my routines without interfering with my other reading, which has worked out really well for me. I frequently walk the parks in my neighborhood, and this is the perfect time to get in a couple chapters most days. It is also a great option for longer car trips, as long as I do not need to concentrate too much on navigating—this summer I have gotten in many hours of listening driving between home and my family’s cabin in Northern Michigan.
I very quickly made it through the five books that I committed myself to, and have kept going. It has been fun for me to get the chance to revisit quite a few previous reads, and I have been lucky that the books I have chosen have had well matched narrators. While I intend to keep this blog primarily focused on physical books and new reads, I do hope to sprinkle in a little bit of audio every once in a while.