Learning to Like Audiobooks

My son joined Audible with his email and my credit card. I knew about this of course, but it was over a year ago. Since then, the credits accumulated.  He, a college student at the time, did not read much for pleasure. And, I – well, I forgot about it, until recently.

A couple of weeks ago, he came to me and said, “Mom, we have 15 Audible credits to use. I’d like to disenroll but we need to use those credits to buy books.”

“Okay,” I replied, “I’ll look to see if there are any I want.”

The last book I “read” on Audible was The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This was not my first book by this author but the first I chose to listen to instead of physically read. It was over a year ago. Listening to a book being read to me is not something I completely enjoy.  And, I do not think I comprehend the story nearly as well as if I were reading the pages of a paper book with my eyes.   Still, I finished the novel and enjoyed the story.

The voice of the narrator on audiobooks also tends to cause me some problems. And, I’ve learned to “sample” the story before buying. After Hannah’s book, I did buy another, “The Black Echo” which is a murder mystery novel by Michael Connelly with a recurring character who is a police detective that served in the Vietnam War.  Let’s just say that I am only halfway through and have no plans to finish listening to the book. It’s been “sitting” in my audible library for a year. The story is just not holding me. And, yes, the voice of the narrator is a little bit of the problem – even though I did sample the voice before using the credit.

So, to oblige my son I went on Audible and looked. As I looked, titles of books that I’ve been meaning to read came streaming back to my consciousness. I “bought” the following books with my share of the audible credits:

  1. Educated by Tara Westover
  2. Dare to Lead by Brene’ Brown
  3. The Tuscan Girl by Angela Petch
  4. The Element by Ken Robinson, PhD
  5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (She is the narrator as well.)

Out of these, I chose to listen to Educated first.  I knew this was a highly recommended book and was anxious to read it. After all, I’ve spent much of my adult life as an educator or student advocate in some form. And, I believe our educational systems are in great need of an overhaul. These were the reasons that made it my first choice.

However, it did not take me long to realize that this was not a “traditional story about traditional education.” No, it is something else, entirely. Seven hours into the book (about halfway through) I am finding ways to listen to it during the day. Like today, for instance, I drove to a small town in Minnesota, across the Mississippi River, to get elastic from a friend who was donating to me for more masks. I listened all the way there and all the way home. It’s not a far drive but I was thrilled to be able to listen to the story for the fifteen-minute trip each way. I am both enthralled and appalled by the story. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t read it, you should. I do not want to spoil it for you by providing more details or giving my opinion.

In any case, I am getting used to Audible. By the time I finish listening to these five books, plus read some print ones, I’ll be well on my way to meeting my goal of finishing 24 books in 2020.  Who knows? I might have to get my own Audible account!

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