Precious little seems more tempting than a new book, comfy socks and hours stretching out before me to delve into the mystery, murder or romance. Even better if there is all three. Sleep is for the wussies when there is “just one more chapter” to be read.
But it’s hard to read and drive. Living in Texas, and especially where I live, EVERYTHING is a drive. I flip through XM radio channels like a man flipping through satellite TV on a Sunday afternoon between seasons. Drive with me long enough and you will learn, hoping to sing with the chorus is futile.
And it’s impossible to be a domestic goddess and spend your days lost in the pages. Well, not IMPOSSIBLE, but these people want food and clean underwear. Go figure?!
I don’t remember my first taste of audio books, but I do remember fumbling for the next cassette tape. Yep, the affair goes back that far. Oh, woe to the churl who scratched the CD before I rented it. The clumsy portable devices, crammed into pockets or…gulp fanny-packed around my waist. FANNY PACK!!! I had it bad. Then 4-5 years ago, I was gifted an iPod and clicked a link to Audible.com. There was no going back.
Did you know they make yoga pants with an iPod pocket? With a good book or even better a series, I become productive. Cabinets cleaned out. Garage organized. Rooms painted. Even exercising!! The siren song of audiobooks pulls me out of biblical levels of laziness.
More than entertainment and distraction from mundane or less than pleasant tasks, I believe listening to audiobooks is making me a better writer. I listen to dialogue with an ear to learning and understanding the value of reading the manuscript out loud. I am much more aware of awkward verbing or repetition of description. Yes, yes I know she has cat like green eyes, his gut told him something was wrong…and please only once describe to me his Adonis-like-porn star physique. “It’s like a baby’s arm holding an apple.” GOT IT!!
The flip side is a greater appreciation for the poetry of language. When an author creates a scene and I’m THERE. Just the way it happens when reading, and I can say “oh, yeah, THAT’s how to write a rain storm or a first kiss.”
Let’s not forget the narrators. More than once I’ve wondered who will perform my book(s). Dream big baby! I hope it makes me more conscientious about the craft. Because, just like a great actor cannot save a bad script. A brilliant narrator cannot make poorly written dialogue sound authentic, or a sex scene tossed in for a PG-13 rating feel like more than pandering.
However, as joyously as I embrace each new book on audio and seek out more works from gifted readers. Nothing can replace the feel of the pages, the smell of ink or the sound of a new spine yielding as I open to Chapter 1.
Have you succumbed to the lure of audio or digital books? What makes you choose one medium over the other? Who are your favorite authors and/or readers?