Radio Days

Over the summer I divulged my curiosity about reading via audio books in How To Read.

Enamored with the fact that I can listen to podcasts while I walk around London or sit on the train while staring out the window, I was determined to try the concept of reading books this way. 

I thought, what better time to try this than during our Epic American Trip? I signed up for Audible's free month's trial and downloaded one of the books on my 2016 personal reading list (State of Wonder by Ann Patchett if you're curious). 

I was flying to the States on my own before the Hub, so I was surprised to find listening to a book very pleasant in the early hours on my own at Heathrow airport. I sipped my latte and sat in an armchair at one of the cafes as someone read me a story. It was also very good for filling all the "downtime" of being at an airport, such as queuing (lining) up to board.

Later on during our trip I was also excited to listen to the book on the bus from Chicago to Wisconsin (yes, we took a bus from one state to another). This was where I found out about the downside of listening to an audio book: it put me right to sleep. And then I would wake up and not know where I had fallen asleep. For the rest of the trip I didn't really listen to the book (I read a short non-fiction book on my Kindle app on my phone). I never started the paperback I had brought. 

When we returned to London, I wasn't really convinced about how I would really use audio books in my usual routine. I cancelled my subscription. However, when I bought my book club book for September -- Burmese Days by George Orwell -- Amazon offered me the option of getting the audio book for only GBP1 extra. I thought, why not? I had heard about how you could switch back and forth between the text version and the audio as the items would be synced. 

And I discovered something ground-breaking. Because I was so behind on everything when we got back from our trip, I was really rushed for time to finish the novel. I started reading it and realized I was never going to finish in the just over a week I had left. The problem: I was having trouble getting into it. And then I switched to audio. Miraculously, because it was a more passive activity, it got me into the book. I was hooked. So then I switched back to text (I can read a lot faster than someone can read out loud, as most of us can) and finished the book a day before the meeting.

This was a shock for most of my fellow bookclubbers. I am notorious for finishing the book on the tube on the way to our meeting. 

I am planning to start doing this a lot. Buying the audio along with the text just gives me that extra optionality to switch back and forth on whatever makes more sense . Clever, clever sales strategy Amazon. I have been taken in. 

Photo credit: 365-78 JAN 4 via photopin (license)

Photo credit: davidmulder61 Day 270. Earbuds. via photopin (license)

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