Audio-books are my new drug of choice. A year or two ago I would have told someone they were crazy if they suggested I would become a fan of this particular medium. I am hopelessly and forever in love with the heft and smell and feel of physical books. The act of turning a page, the mere anticipation of the turning of a page, is a seductive thing for me. But it’s also more than the physical experience of reading a book with my own eyes that I’m enamored by. What really holds me is the story, the characters, the descriptions, and most importantly, the sense that an author has read my own personal library of experience and put words to emotions I’ve had.
In order to keep that connection with the written word, in the face of a schedule that laughs at the idea of reading time, I have become one of those people walking around with white wires hanging from both ears for about eight hours a day. Dweeby, I know. But it keeps me sane in the face of mindless repetition, numbing background noise and the sense that my life is full of silliness.
And really, it’s no different than that time in second grade when my teacher had us sitting in the alcove, cross-legged and captivated as she read aloud from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House in the Big Wood.” I was enraptured.
Decadence is a good thing, sometimes
Being read to is luxuriant, decadent, lyrical. It’s better than listening to music. Some readers are performers extraordinaire! Some readers are less so, but all make the words accessible to those of us whose hands and bodies are otherwise occupied.
The classics are particularly well suited to being read aloud. The longer sentences, the flowing recitation of scenery and costume and events are like a cinematographers tools. I feel like a witness to a masterpiece being created one paint stroke at a time.
A Short List
Here’s a short list (not comprehensive) of some audio-books I’ve recently enjoyed that I would recommend wholeheartedly. Explore a little, try one on for size, listen while you make dinner, do the dishes or clean the bathroom. Listen as you fall asleep. Listen in the car. Enjoy!
- Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
- House at Riverton by Kate Morton
- Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
- The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
- The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
- The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter
- Pope Joan by Donna Cross
- The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
- How Green was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn
- Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
- A Country Doctor by Sarah Orne Jewett
I’m always on the lookout for the next great listen/read, so feel free to share any you’ve heard that could be added to this list.
Places to access audio-books: (some of these are free!)
Your local library
- September Wrap-Up (booksandreviews.wordpress.com)