The Written Word, Spoken


We have an unexpected car trip coming up, so I ran to the library to check out an audio book, which I still stubbornly call a book-on-tape.

I do this ever so often, thinking how wonderfully productive I’ll be on the road: multi-tasking!

At one point, when I still drove to work, I had this grand plan to listen to books-on-tape during my commute. I’d still have the physical books to read at lunch and before bed…just think of all the reading I’d get done!

It didn’t quite work out. For one, it was hard to only listen to half an hour of the book. I’d get into it about the time I pulled into the office. And suspenseful plots aren’t good in traffic since I’d either get really hyped up (bad way to start the day) or I’d pay too much attention to the road and not enough to the book and miss an important plot point, or vice versa and test my brakes. Luckily, no cars were harmed during my experiment.

There was also the fact that I listened to Lovely Bones and Mystic River back-to-back. For the two weeks I listened to those books, I was emotionally drained. They’re great books, but terrible ways to start a day, specially if you’re going into a job you don’t like.

So, lesson learned? Not quite. I’m going to try again. The flat miles of Indiana takes the stop-and-go traffic out of the equation and the book I chose, Tears of Giraffe, is a lighter plot. I read another in McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series via audio book during another early driving and reading experiment and it went well. The only problem was sitting in the car until an appropriate stopping point. I think that’s a problem I’ll be able to live with. After all, I have to deal with that when I take a physical book on the train anyway.

Why do I keep trying to mix audio books and driving? Because I can’t wrap my head around sitting on the couch and listening to them. I can wrap my head around sitting on the couch and reading, but not listening. Weird, I know.

Anyone have an optimal time to use audio books?


3 thoughts on “The Written Word, Spoken

  1. bethfinke

    Oh, I totally get it that you can’t sit on the couch and listen to a book – cuddling up in the corner pill lows with headphones on your ears just doesn’t bring up the same romantic feeling of a book on your lap. Plus, it’s difficult to listen to a book and watch TV at the same time, too!
    I have a contraption that doesn’t require headphones, and I listen while emptying the dishwasher, making lunch, sorting laundry. The place I get most of my reading done? In bed, with the contraption under my pillow – it has a timer, so it turns itself off.
    Safe travels through Indiana today –

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