I like thinking about the classic paperback vs. audiobook argument. Don’t you? Each side holds its own value. What’s better than lighting a fire, cocooning under a blanket, sipping on a hot cup of tea from that fresh-brewed pot of oolong, and turning the page on your new book? Perhaps turning the page of a used book you found tucked in the corner of a local bookshop? Either way, a good old fashioned book will never, ever go out of style.
That being said, I’ve recently discovered a newfound love, adoration, and utter loyalty to audiobooks. I download them via Audible, and most of them are produced by Brilliance Audio. I used to download them through iTunes, but Audible has this really cute feature where it awards you stickers for things like extended amounts of reading time, being a night owl, and more. Also, you can track how many minutes/hours you’ve used the app via a nifty little bar graph. Some feelings of accomplishment in life are easily accepted!
Audiobooks’ new station in my life has been profound. Recently, I moved to Savannah. I only signed a five-month lease. I want to make sure it sticks before I really hunker down. Dare I even say it… I didn’t set up cable just yet. So, what does one do without cable? They read! And, what does one do in a new apartment? They nest! Faced with an inability to put USA’s perpetual NCIS reruns on in the background while I organized, I wondered what the alternative was… I downloaded Audible and now have my very own in-house storyteller ‘round the clock. I actually stick to the same author and must have nearly 50 of her books saved. (I’ll refrain from telling you who she is just for the moment. I don’t want you to judge me before I’ve shared this goodness with you!)
When I wake in the morning and go through the various “morning tasks” of making the bed, showering, putting away any stray dishes, and toasting up my daily serving of Eggos, I have company in my otherwise empty apartment. I pick up where I left off last night, and re-enter into stories of mythological battles or independent females settling into new towns. Oh, and guess what? When I fell asleep the night before, I did so to a 15-minute sleep timer. I was lulled to sleep while my favorite character nestled into her new villa in Corfu and imagined, like her, I was falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves under the dancing moonlight.
The thing about audiobooks is that they have their own set of producers and directors, just like any TV show or movie. And someone’s not just narrating it to you, they’re acting it to you. Their voice cracks when the character gets choked up. They reach fever-pitch levels when they’re panicked. They roar with laughter and giggle in a slight tease. You’re lifted up to new and varying levels that our singular mind alone can’t travel to.
So, if someone asked me for a checkmate argument on audio literature, here’s what I’d say:
- You can ingest new stories and vocabulary while taking a walk. You won’t get run over by a Savannah trolley because you were actually attempting to read and walk.
- You can have someone relay tales of sorcerers falling in love with small-town artists while taking the four-hour car ride home to visit family.
- You can put those noise-cancelling headphones on and vacuum, dust, clean, polish, or Windex while you go.
- In the event that you get tired of staring at your computer or TV screen, you can lay down in bed, snuggle under the covers and allow some talented storyteller to whisk you away to floating islands, ornate castles from another time, or a simple storybook town in Maryland.
- If you’re new to a strange city or town, you won’t feel quite so alone. Sharing your new space with the voices of a trio of Montana ranchers is, somehow, quite comforting.
- This last point holds a pivotal truth in my current state of affairs. Most of the leading characters that my favored author creates are strong, independent, resourceful, disciplined, uniquely quirky, and up to some new life-challenge. I like feeling like some of that is rubbing off on me while they purchase new homes in the background of my life, start up a new enterprise, or write their first novel. Maybe I, too, can be as brave as they are one day.
Simply put, I can’t imagine what I’d do in my new apartment which boasts a non-existence of cable, a slow Internet connection, and a somewhat anxious tenant. I have all kinds of friends packed into my one bedroom and we soar off to new lands and adventures regularly. Finally, I’m glad there is no world that exists without a plethora of Nora Roberts titles to keep me tucked in, warm and cozy, at night. Happy audio trails to you!