I never liked the idea of audio books. It seemed like cheating.
But in another episode of don't-judge-those-shoes-until-you-wear-them, I'm now an avid book listener.
I have a new client (hooray!) and the work requires a good amount of driving (blech) and I've taken to audio books like freckles on a redhead.
Did you know your local library has dedicated shelves of space to books on compact discs? Me neither (I'm always late to the party, but make up for my tardiness with great enthusiasm, and extra wine). This summer I wandered into this new listening-to-books world and discovered fresh opportunities to do something with my wandering mind.
The First Great Book
Lucky me, the first book was a gem that had lingered on my books-to-read list for too long. I knew I should read this much-hyped book but I also knew that when time is short I choose feel-good over feel-smart (much like eating — bag of chips or bag of lettuce?). Without the audio version I would have missed a fantastic book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, with superb narration by Kathe Mazur.
The Book That Will Not Be Named
My next choice was a dud, and so clearly a repackaging of earlier books that I felt duped shortly after hitting "Play" and still I hung on through all eight CDs (quitters never win, but they probably have more fun).
The Other Book That Will Not Be Named
Sometimes things get worse before they get better. And my next pick was a loser, too. This book was delivered by the author, a pepped up, self-claimed "bad-ass life coach" (cringe). What was I thinking?
The Best Audio Book (so far)
I've enjoyed David Sedaris essays for years but after the first few books the irreverence and humor started to feel reheated and stale. But listening to Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls restored my faith in his unique wit and charm. While a great writer, his entertaining delivery — a combo of tender, tight and sharp — really gives life to his words. I was touched, amused and even found myself laughing aloud. I may never "read" a Sedaris book again.
Here's What I've Found
Admittedly my research is scant; I've "read" just five books on CD, but as I noted earlier, I'm quick to judge, so let's jump in:
1. The best books feature the author reading, or a smooth, intelligent voice offering a mix of authority and warmth (i.e. Kathe Mazur).
2. Talk nonfiction to me, please. Right away, I established my personal book boundaries, and limited my audio choices to nonfiction and/or books I wouldn't read if I had the opportunity to actually read.
3. CDs skip, and that's a real drag, especially if you're in the middle of laughing through a Nora Ephron essay and really want to know what she did about her neck.
On this Thankful Thursday, I'm getting in the car, turning up the volume, and giving thanks.
It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to give thanks and express appreciation for people, places, things and more.
What are you thankful for today?