How do audiobooks enrich the reading life?


Like many of you, I have had a lifelong love affair with books. I honestly can never remember a time when I didn’t want to have a book at my fingertips.

However, in an ironic twist, when I entered the world of book writing, I found myself with less time to read, and I also discovered that when I did read, I felt rushed as if I had to complete the book on a schedule.

Reading on deadline has a much different feel than leisurely reading for relaxation and entertainment.  To some extent I created my conundrum because I was reading books to review them on this site or others, or as a beta reader.  I also have occasionally fallen victim to the author’s curse of reading a book with a critical eye to analyze how the writer constructed it, used dialogue, drew descriptions.

Over the last years my time is spent most often at a keyboard, doing what I am now, blogging, responding to emails, writing a chapter in a work in progress, researching the digital book business.  All this is part of the stock in trade of an indie author and a person who contributes to an online magazine like Caleb and Linda Pirtle.

But what about reading books?  How can I work that pleasurable pursuit back into the daily equation?

Along come audiobooks.

Until six months ago or so, I only listened to them on long trips when I would be alone in a car for hours at a time. I would pop in a CD and cruise, or use my Kindle to read a book aloud to me in its tinny, robotic voice.

The smart phone changed all that for me.


Now with the Audible app on my Nexus 4, I have the world of audiobooks at my disposal, books narrated by humans and delivered in seconds.

The most surprising thing I have realized about audiobooks is how much time I spend in the car in my day to day comings and goings.  I live in a small town in a rural area, so I don’t have a long commute. Despite this, I have found that by punching play on an audiobook when I get in the car, I can listen to an entire novel in just a few days.

And, believe it or not, hearing an audiobook while in the car for short periods of time creates in me the old feeling I used to have when I read strictly because I loved reading.

I did not intend to become an audiobook addict in my more chronologically gifted stage of life.  But the experience of listening to great books has re-opened the world of books for me.

And so far I have only received one speeding ticket.

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