I got addicted to audiobooks while I was commuting to work. There were periods when I was driving as much as 5 hours a day — just to get back and forth to work. Living in Massachusetts, even when the distances aren’t huge, the traffic is heavy in every direction. I think if I hadn’t discovered Books On Tape and after that Audiobooks.com, I’d have lost my mind. I was in the car for many hours a day. I was at work another eight to ten hours.
By the time I got home, there was cooking, trying to spend a little quality time with Garry — which wasn’t easy because for many years, he wasn’t home on weekends. He was getting up for work when I was going to bed. There was also my son, shopping, cleaning, and just trying to keep the house from becoming a wreck.
I was younger then and managed to do a lot of things at a time. Running laundry while straightening up the rest of the house. Learning to cook meals that were quick to prepare and easy to clean up after.
There was no time to read. Since reading had always been my escape from the world, after a while, I felt like the walls were closing in.
Audiobooks saved my sanity. I would get to work and sit in the car just a few extra minutes to get to the end of a chapter. It absolutely saved my sanity. These days, as I’ve gotten older and find reading print more difficult — Garry thinks I have a terminal case of eye-strain — I listen far more often then I read. I have trouble focusing on a printed page. It’s easier to write than read which probably accounts for my appallingly bad proofreading.
I actually prefer listening to reading for other reasons. The speed of speaking is much slower than the speed at which I read. I’m a very fast reader which is great when you are trying to collect information for work but isn’t so great when reading for pleasure. The human speed and level of a voice especially when it’s a really good narrator helps me be absorbed by the book.
It’s like watching a really good movie, except I get to create the pictures and they are always perfect.
I wanted to add a short note:
A lot of how you respond to audiobooks versus words on a page depends on why you read and how you absorb the information. For many of us, we no longer find reading comfortable. Our eyes are old and close vision gets dodgy. Quite a few people lose their sight as the years pile up. Garry is part of a group now that produces audio for those who can’t read whether they are blind or otherwise unable to hold a book in place, or otherwise have problems that make focusing on a page difficult.
If you can read and like to hover over the text, going back and forward to read, then reread sections, you’ll probably be happier with pages. True it’s easy to drop off and lose parts of a story if you read at night, but rewind is pretty good for getting you back to where you were before you nodded off.
If you read during the day, you will probably drift off less easily. If you are commuting, I have to assume you are awake. I found music in a car puts me out like a light and classical music is so absorbing I forget I’m driving.
I need to have something that makes my mind engage if I am going to stay awake at the wheel.
I do listen to poetry on audiobooks, though typically, I have read the poem before I listen to it and/or will read it after I hear it. To me, poetry is the most musical of all types of writing and deserves to be heard out loud.