Listening to books

I received some suggestions to give audio books a try on my last post asking for ideas on reading sources. (Also see the related posts from Grumpy Rumblings here and here, which provided some additional options.)

I’ve never been big on audio books because I tend to zone out when listening to people talk. Maybe it’s because I learned to filter out stuff I didn’t want to/need to hear when I was a kid (like shouting or “angry voice” from mom), or maybe I’m just not a strong audible learner. When I attend meetings in person I always look for visuals, and when I am on phone meetings I’ve found that doing something with my hands (like writing notes on paper, or doing some simple knitting) helps me stay focused. It could also be that I’m just used to taking in media via my eyes, in general.

But “needs must” so I decided to give a few audio books a try. Red Shirts by John Scalzi was a good suggestion, but I don’t have access to it in audio book format through any of my free sources, so I had to try something else. The first book I tried was Salman Rushdie’s Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights. It was available through my local library’s Overdrive catalog, and I had heard from an acquaintance that it was a delightful book. I tried listening to it while I was doing some work in the kitchen and while I was walking the dog. I kept finding myself mentally drifting, though, and losing track of the plot and characters. Eventually, I just stopped trying and the lending period ended. So I’ll say that Effort #1 was a fail.

Effort #2 was Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. I love Amy Poehler, and she was reading the book herself, so I thought it would be a good experience. Not so much. Partly my experience was tainted by the app I was using (my experience with the different lending apps will have to be another post), and partly it was the work itself.  There was just too much motherhood in the book for me to get into it.

Effort #3 is going much better, though. Within one day I had two references to Ruth Goodman’s How to Be a Tudor pop up in my Twitter feed. One of the references linked to a short excerpt of the book, and I liked what I read there. I went looking for the book in the various lending service catalogs and found it in audio book format on Hoopla. So I went ahead and downloaded the app and item. I’ve had much better luck staying focused on this book. Maybe it’s the topic, maybe it’s the reader’s British accent, or maybe it’s the fact that I had a few hours of car time last weekend and kept this playing most of the time.

I still prefer to read from a screen, though. Last night my choice of entertainment for my two open hours before bedtime was reading an e-book I had borrowed, and not listening to the audio book. But I will be continuing to listen to the audio book when I take the dog out on walks, and when I’m making food in the kitchen over the next few days.

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