Listen Up: My Love Affair with Audio Books

I spend about 84 minutes a day in my car commuting to and from work.  To help alleviate the stress of driving on the giant highway that is New Jersey, I do two different things to keep me from going loco. 

First, I stay off the Parkway, instead driving on a local road that wends its way along the coastline offering views of the Atlantic Ocean.  Second, I’m listen to books on cd.  I’m an audio book fiend, and I’m proud.

Audio books bring stories to another dimension for me.  Listening to literature harkens back to my childhood, when my dad would tuck me in at night and read me either a Sweet Pickles book or Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

If I’m listening to a particularly engaging book, I sometimes sit parked in my driveway for 15 minutes, listening to the end of the chapter.  My husband used to either call my cell phone or peek out the front door to see what I was doing, but he’s since learned.

It’s rare for me to listen to anything other than an audio book when I’m in the car.  Long rides home to my parents’ house cease to bother me as long as I’ve got a book to listen to. 

Am I alone in my adoration of audio books?  Aren’t they the greatest thing since sliced bread?

No Comments

  • At 2009.03.16 19:42, Heather said:

    I totally agree, audio books are awesome. Although I personally can’t listen to just any audiobook. I’ve been known to abandon some after the first CD if I’m not sucked in right away.

    • At 2009.03.16 19:54, bybee said:

      I thought I would just love them to death when they first came out, but it’s been a mixed bag for me. I’m actively looking for one: Hugh Laurie reading Great Expectations.

      • At 2009.03.16 20:09, pannonica said:

        “About” 84 minutes?!?

        – interjected comment; now resuming reading rest of the post.

        • At 2009.03.16 20:10, pannonica said:

          It’s rare for me to listen to anything other than an audio book when I’m in the car. Long rides home to my parents’ house cease to bother me as long as I’ve got a book to listen to.

          What happened to our in-the-car-superstar?

          • At 2009.03.16 21:43, natalie said:

            it’s 42 minutes one way, little missy.

            • At 2009.03.16 20:12, pannonica said:

              “Jeez, does this pannonica chick do anything but nitpick and criticize? Add useful information, constructive criticism, something like that?”

              • At 2009.03.16 21:44, natalie said:

                i said it’s ‘rare’…not impossible.

                • At 2009.03.16 20:12, pannonica said:

                  “No.”

                  • At 2009.03.16 21:32, natalie said:

                    And I was so excited to see I had six comments–I was like, oh, goody the fledgling book blog is really taking off. Ha.

                    • At 2009.03.17 04:57, Marg said:

                      I used to drive an hour and a half at least each way and audio books were the only thing that kept me sane! These days I catch the train so I read, but I still often have an audiobook around and listen to them when I am doing housework or something!

                      • At 2009.03.17 06:19, Susan of WhelanFlynn said:

                        I never think of getting audiobooks to listen to in the car. We have a favourite radio station that the kids and I can agree on and I tend to stick to that. For long trips we resort to an in car DVD player that we hope will distract the kids from realising that they are trapped together in a confined space (and stop them gazing out the window asking to stop at every McDonalds we drive past).

                        We have a family birthday out of town next weekend (2 hour trip each way) and I think I will call at the local library this week to see what is on offer as far as audio books go.

                        Thanks for the great idea.

                        • At 2009.03.17 08:08, EOL said:

                          I have a 2 hour commute (roundtrip) and audiobooks are my salvation as well. My CD player has been acting squirelly lately but luckily, my library has a downloadable audio service through their website so I keep my Mp3 player full, plus they offer Playaways…thus, I am never without my audiobook!

                          Susan-look into Richard Peck’s The Teacher’s Funeral…family friendly and HiLaRiOuS! I listen to it at least twice a year and suggest it to all of my patrons, young and old alike.

                          Great post!

                          • At 2009.03.17 09:18, pannonica said:

                            I only meant to suggest that 84 (or 42 × 2) minutes is kind of on the specific side to be preceded by “about.” mmph.

                            • At 2009.03.17 09:41, Joy said:

                              I don’t care for the audio books but that’s just me. It’s not like a book to me. When I’m in the car I like to sing and I don’t think I could pay enough attention to the story with all my scatterbrain thoughts while driving.

                              • At 2009.03.17 09:58, Becky Workman said:

                                I totally agree! I’ve just gotten hooked myself, and can’t remember the last time that the car radio was on! I’ve even got my 6 year old listening to books on her MP3! She loves it too!

                                • At 2009.03.17 10:39, Beth F said:

                                  I’m a total audiobook freak! I listen even when I’m driving only 2 miles to the grocery store; I listen in the store when I’m shopping. I listen every night when I make dinner and then clean up from dinner. I listen when I garden and when I walk.

                                  Some people think audiobooks are somehow less than print books. I totally disagree!

                                  I mostly listen on my MP3 player (download from the library or from Audible), but I still own a Sony CD Walkman and even a *cassette* Walkman!

                                  I read books in print too.

                                  • At 2009.03.17 11:01, mariah said:

                                    i too thought they would be great in the car for long trips. but after about 2 1/2 minutes my mind wanders and i begin thinking about other things and the next thing i know a chapter is over and i have no idea what just happened. 🙁 i stick to music that i can sing too (whether my passengers like it or not!).

                                    • At 2009.03.17 14:21, Karen said:

                                      Fortunately I only have about a 15 minute drive to work (each way) but I love listening to audio books when I am travelling overseas and also when I am catching the train for work meetings etc… So far I have only really listened to books I know quite well, e.g. Austen novels but I would like to branch out a little so some recommendations would be great!

                                      • At 2009.03.17 18:42, Jessica said:

                                        ok, this is just too weird. I feel like someone made a twin of me and then made that twin make a blog. I am a literature major, and so to compensate for both the two hour commute AND the insane reading load, I listen to as many of my required reads on CD in the car! But alas, unlike you (or is it really me?!) I am not proud enough to publicly admit it!

                                        • At 2009.03.18 09:55, Hayden Tompkins said:

                                          “I spend about 84 minutes a day in my car commuting to and from work.”

                                          … ???? … !!!!!

                                          That about sums it up.

                                          • At 2009.03.18 11:30, Gina Goodwin said:

                                            I concur on all your audiobook points…after getting them for a vacation I decided to keep using them for my daily commute. Two years later, I find I no longer arrive at work angry about traffic jams…in fact, I like them becuase there’s more time with “my story.” I find I will listen to a book (chick lit, quick-read mysteries, etc.) that I wouldn’t take the time to sit and read, so it gives me a nice mix. However, I have stopped listening to books where I simply cannot stand the reader’s voice for 8 hours! The only problem I have now is keeping all my plots and characters straight between the book I’m listening to in the car, the book I’m listening to on my iPod while walking in the evenings, and the book I’m reading “for real.” Sounds like a true addiction, doesn’t it! Oh yeah, and I have the same problem as you when I get home from work, my husband has to explain to the patiently waiting dog why “mom” is still out in the garage (listening to her audiobook).

                                            • At 2009.03.17 18:57, natalie said:

                                              i’ll step up the level of weirdness…i have a younger sister…named jessica. 🙂

                                              • At 2009.03.18 23:46, Carrie K. said:

                                                I love audiobooks – makes all that time spent folding laundry, washing dishes, and driving feel less wasted!

                                                • At 2009.03.19 17:24, marlajayne said:

                                                  I linked to your blog from Connie’s (Loose Lemons) and couldn’t resist commenting on the audiobooks adoration. I love them too! It’s interesting that now when I pass a certain spot on the road, I’ll remember something I heard (on an audiobook), and I’ll flashback to the scene. I just finished listening to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Tiime (awesome), and now I’m listening to one of Alexander McCall Smith’s books (Morality for Young Ladies or something like that). Anyway, I love it. I mean, how much NPR can a person listen to? How many music CDs?

                                                  • At 2009.03.23 21:22, Molly said:

                                                    I need help! I wish I could listen to audio books. I have tried several times, but the problem is….I am a visual learner. I seem to translate what I “hear” in an audio book into words that I can “see” in my mind. It is exhausting!!! (not to mention distracting – I often miss my exit and have to back-track).

                                                    Do you have any tips to help? I would love to double my reading time by taking advantage of audio books during the 1 hour plus I spend in the car every day.

                                                    • […] Dramamine and other remedies don’t work for me.  Instead, I’ve taken to listening to audio books (when traveling alone) and they have saved me from the plague that is motion […]

                                                      • At 2009.03.28 21:30, RaiulBaztepo said:

                                                        Hello!
                                                        Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
                                                        PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
                                                        See you!
                                                        Your, Raiul Baztepo

                                                        • At 2009.07.07 16:56, Emily said:

                                                          I just got back from the library, where I checked out my first selection of audiobooks. I drive about 45-50 minutes per day, and just lately I’ve decided that it seems like a waste to ONLY listen to music (ok, and drive) for all that time.

                                                          On road trips with my sister, she always wants us to listen to these Dirk Pitt novels, which I can never pay attention to, so I thought I would have trouble getting into audiobooks. Not so! I LOVE them. How have I wasted so much car time not listening to books?

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