I should probably clarify that it’s not like I’m all “OMG, what is this new fascinating technology that reads to me??” I used to listen to books on CD all the time, especially when I was in grad school and had a six hour drive home to face at the end of each quarter, but I kind of got out of the habit. After I got my iPhone, I’d listen from time to time to something on one of the free sites, but I usually just preferred a good old fashioned book.
I signed up for an audible.com account a few months ago, when I was faced with a seven hour drive and had reached a gap in audiobooks of the Anne of Green Gables series available in the public domain (that gap, for those interested, is Anne of Windy Poplars, forcing you to skip to the yawn-inducing Anne’s House of Dreams). Sticking with my theme, my first purchase was another L.M. Montgomery book, Emily of New Moon, which I adore (sadly, an audiobook of Windy Poplars doesn’t seem to exist). I had planned to try it out for the free month and then most likely cancel the service. But… I kind of got hooked. I work in a job that requires a lot of focused work, the kind of work that allows me to wear headphones whenever I want. But it’s also sort of repetitive work after a while, and I get bored with music, so podcasts have been a staple in my workweek listening for a long time. (Recommendations? This American Life is just as good as every hipster you know says it is. Ditto Welcome to Night Vale, though in a COMPLETELY different way.) So audiobooks are right up my alley.
The first book I actually purchased? Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns by Mindy Kaling. Otherwise known as that book I already own and have already read and even reviewed right here on this site. So why would I buy an audiobook of it? Because Mindy was reading it, and additional voices were being provided by BJ Novak and Michael Shure. Now, everyone not addicted to the Thursday night NBC lineup just glazed over a little, but for fans of The Office this is GOLD. Hearing Mindy’s own voice and inflections added a whole new level of funny to the book. And so when September rolled around and it was time to redeem another book, I didn’t hesitate – Bossypants it was, read by Tina Fey herself. Another win, as is most things that Tina Fey touches, stands near, or thinks about for more than thirty seconds. I hadn’t read Bossypants and was utterly charmed not only by the book itself, but by Tina’s reading of it.
I’ve moved away from the funny memoirs by funny women of NBC phase and have since branched out into novels. I listened to most of The Fault in Our Stars during one long day at work, during which I was walking around my office with my earbuds in my ears because I just could. Not. Stop. My latest purchase is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which I highly recommend as well (look for a review of both soon!). I love the freedom that audiobooks are giving me – letting me listen as I work or run errands or even clean my house. They help make mundane tasks much more interesting.
So if you find yourself with a stack of books on your to-read list and no time to read them, give it a try. Hit up your local library, download one of the public domain apps for your phone, or try Audible – the first month is free (kinda like that first hit of crack is free, just to suck you in). I’m pretty sure you’ll fall in love with them too.