The joy of audio books

15 Mar
We were a reading family.  In my grandparent’s house we even had a library room.  There was a fireplace my grandfather would light on most winter nights.  He had his chair in the corner (nobody else would dare sit there) where he sat reading with Sherlock the basset hound at his feet.  A large hand-made bookcase lined one whole wall.  I often lay reading on the floor in front of the fire for hours at a time.

Fire warms the soul as much as the body.

Every month my siblings and I were allowed to order 2 books apiece from the Scholastic Book Club catalog we brought home from school.  I used to make my sister furious by finishing mine and then stealing hers to read before she could finish them.  I couldn’t help it, reading was and is an addiction that has lasted through the years.
And it was Aunt Pat who fueled this addiction.  She’d leave books in the “other McCarty Library” AKA the bathroom.  She would change them out every so often.  I remember reading a book about the lives of Saints and weeping because I knew I wasn’t good enough to ever be a saint in that very bathroom.  It was during my first brush with the nuns and wanting to be Holy like them.
Aunt Pat helped me get my first library card when I was 8.  It was about then I discovered the science fiction section and have been a fan ever since.  And books were always birthday and Christmas presents.  One of my all time favorite Christmas presents was from her at 11… my very own bookcase!
In fact our 6 room house here on Garden St has 8 bookcases.  My wife is also a lover of books and reading.

Books have been life long companions.

When Elizabeth and I started dating she would travel out from the other side of the state on the weekends.  It was a 2 and 1/2 hour ride one way.  She soon learned the joys of books on tape… then CD which she borrowed from you guessed it the library.  She tried to get me to listen to audio books for months.  I kept resisting saying “I don’t know honey, I just like holding and reading an actual book”.
It wasn’t until we took a 4 hour ride to vacation way up in New Hampshire that I understood what she was so enthused about.  We listened to a Father Cadfael mystery story by Ellis Peters and just like that I was hooked.  (It was also excellent as a PBS series by the way.)
And then we discovered Audible.com.  You can download stories to your computer and THEN onto your iPod or other MP3 devices.  Way cheaper than buying tapes or CD’s.

"Reading" a book while driving. Yes it CAN be done!

The thing about audio books is you can do mindless chores like dishes, empty out the cat litter box, paint a room and even with headphones vacuum and mow the lawn.  And have you ever tried to take a shower while reading a book.  I’ve been told it’s possible but not if you wear bifocals.
The best simile I can come up with is it’s like listening to the Red Sox on the radio as opposed to watching them on TV.  I grew up playing baseball and listening to the Sox on the radio so cable isn’t necessary for me to follow the Red Sox.  Yet another way to cut stupid expenses.
It opened up a whole new world of “reading” for me.  It’s especially good for books where the characters speak in different accents.  Some of the readers are so good you can totally figure out which character is speaking.  There are times when I’ll sit in the driveway just to finish an exciting part.
I still do a fair bit of traditional reading.  But now I can “read” and get stuff done at the same time.  Wouldn’t Aunt Pat and the Nuns be pleased!
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2 Responses to “The joy of audio books”

  1. Darlene March 16, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    I don’t know if you ever read my first post, back in mid-February (I thought I posted it, but it never seemed to show up anywhere), but I just want to say that I love your blog! I wish I had more time to read it, but every so often, I check to see what’s new and try to catch up. It’s always a great read! Thanks for sharing, Weez 🙂

    • weezmccarty March 16, 2012 at 12:52 am #

      I did see your first comment and did reply. I love that you’re checking in. Love to you and my awesome nephews!

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