Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rediscovering Audiobooks

by Linda Thorne

I lived in a little town called Hanford in the Central Valley of California from July 2002 until May of 2007. During the first few years I was unemployed, read a lot of books, and then decided to write a book. I had written the first draft of Just Another Termination in 2005 when I was offered a job in human resources at a Kraft Foods plant in Visalia, California, 23 miles from my home. With a 46-mile round trip commute, audiobooks popped into my mind as a way to continue reading while adding some fun to an otherwise boring drive. Even though I wasn’t literally reading the audiobooks, they helped improve my writing skills as much as the paperbacks and hardbacks did.

The job lasted two years until the plant closed its doors in 2007. I went through many audio tapes during that period of time. My favorite was The Long Lavender Look written by John McDonald
and narrated by one of my favorite actors (now deceased), Darren McGavin. I listened to that audiobook many times over.

My husband’s five year contract job ended a few months before the Kraft Foods plant in Visalia closed, so we moved out of state looking for a home and jobs somewhere in the Deep South. We ended up in Nashville, Tennessee and soon I had another job in human resources. My drive to work was a short eleven miles, with mild traffic. I thought I could pick up where I’d left off listening to audiobooks on my way to and from work, but the commute was just too short to get into them. That job lasted nine years before being eliminated in a company-wide reorganization. I found a new job last summer, in downtown Nashville, where traffic is horrible. It’s a little farther each way, but with the traffic it’s at least an hour getting to work and getting home – sometimes longer.

It had been so long since I’d played audiobooks, I’d totally forgotten about them until my husband asked me what I wanted for this past Christmas. That got me thinking. Soon, I’d pulled up the memory and wondered why I hadn’t thought of it earlier. Of course, I thought, audiobooks, the perfect cure for a long and boring commute.

Some people say you’re not really reading a book if you listen to it in audio. To me, it feels like I’ve read the book. Sometimes I think I retain more. Also, being busy at my fairly new job, I lack the time and energy to sit and read in a relaxed state. I get stuck on sections and feel I’m working to get through them, something that doesn’t happen to me when I’m listening to the narration.

So I have been listening to audiobooks since Christmas, something I haven’t done in almost ten years. My favorite current book is The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens and read by Zach Villa. I highly recommend it.


Amy Reade said...

I'm glad you've rediscovered something you enjoy! I find that I drift off while I'm listening to audiobooks because I get distracted easily by traffic and other cars. My kids love them in the car. Great post!

Maggie King said...

I was living in Los Angeles when the 1994 earthquake struck (24 years ago yesterday). A long commute became much longer for a few months while crews repaired parts of the freeway system. Many commuters discovered the audiobooks at the library and we raided the shelves. I continued listening even when the roads were repaired, because I still had a long commute. But when I moved to Virginia, my commute was a mere ten miles and I couldn’t get into the stories. And, like Amy, I’m easily distracted. Audiobooks are great for long trips with little traffic and that don’t require attention to directions, etc. I imagine a trip through Kansas would be ideal.

Linda Thorne said...

Thanks Amy and Maggie. Interesting comments. The traffic doesn't distract me from the audiobook, but like Maggie I couldn't do them for those years I had the short commute.

Kathleen Kaska said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Linda. I'll check it out.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

When I taught an evening writing class in the now closed Borders, I always listened to audio books on the way home to keep me awake--preferred scary ones. Listened to a lot of Stephen King. And yep, I stayed awake!

Morgan Mandel said...

One of these days I'll get some of my books put on audio. So many things to do, so little time!