I know when I fell in love with audiobooks. I know which books it was. I know when it was (roughly). In 2007 I was living in Edinburgh but working in Glasgow. That is a one hour each way commute. I had no desire to move across the country, in fact I soon left the city I loved (but that is another story). Now I want to talk about audiobooks and how I fell in love with them.
Driving along the M8/A8 is Boring (with a capital B), especially if you do it on a rainy, windy (it is Scotland after all) Tuesday night at 10pm. You need something to keep you awake. Normally I would probably rely on the radio for my entertainment but 1) at 10pm on a weekday night the radio stations play techno or have football phone-ins (and despite living in Scotland for a total of 6 years, I never did learned to decipher the Weegie dialect. They might as well have been speaking Chinese) and 2) Somewhere around exit 8 you start loosing radio reception and you won’t regain it until you get to Edinburgh airport (exit 2). So in order to keep myself from falling asleep at the wheel I went to the local library branch and borrowed some audiobooks.
I decided to start out with a book I knew and loved. So I got one of the Harry Potter books narrated by Stephen Fry. I LOVED it! Not only did I love it, I noticed new things. Things I had somehow missed when I read it the first (and second and third and and and…you get the picture). Something about hearing the books out loud brought something completely different to the table for me. I don’t know if it was Fry’s narration or what, but all of a sudden I finally got the clue in the Goblet of Fire when Harry meets the Sphinx. I had never quite gotten the “end of the end” clue before, but hearing it out loud, I finally got it (yeah I’m not always the smartest tool in the box ;) ).
This wasn’t a good time in my life and those two hours in the car, alone with my thoughts, would probably have been unbearable had it not been for Stephen telling the story of Harry, Ron and Hermione.
I did try other books, but I found that I was often so tired, or I had to concentrate on actually driving (especially in the afternoon going out of Edinburgh) that if I didn’t know the basic story I missed parts of the story that I couldn’t afford to miss if I was to understand what was going on. So that fall and winter I stuck to the Harry Potter books. I listened to them about a gazillion times (okay so I am overstating it a bit, you get the point). Those books helped me to decompress after very long days. They actually made me look forward to the drive, maybe a bit much sometimes :P.
Then in January last year I got a trial subscription to Audible.com and I haven’t looked back since. It is great to get a new audiobook every month. I haven’t actually listened to all of them yet, but I have them there for long trips or when I go running. I know that I will get to all of them once I (fingers crossed) start working in January 2011. I am reasonably certain that wherever I end up working I will have to commute to and I find that audiobooks during my commute is an excellent way to spend my time.
Audiobooks have been my companions on transatlantic flights, 10k races, on trains up and down the east coast of the US, on commuter busses and stranded trains. Audiobooks keep me company when I play computer games and when I cook. I can rely on audiobooks for when I can’t necessarily read a hardcopy book but I still have time for a book. That is why I love audiobooks