I call you that because in the case of books, you generally are a reader. If you are anything like me, you love to crack open a new book, smell that old library smell or that new bookstore smell on the pages. You love flipping back to maps or character lists, seeing how many pages are left, (although sometimes this is more dread and sadness than anything else as those pages dwindle). You check out cover designs and then judge them, because who listens to old adages anyway?
And that’s great. Reading is wonderful and please don’t ever stop. This letter is just to say: Please don’t forget about the audiobook.
Ways to get an audiobook:
1. Go to your local library and check one (or two) out
2. Download an app on your phone like Audible, and have at it with the selections
3. Record one with you and your friends.
In my youth, I equated audiobooks with my parents and grandparents driving cross-country and listening to the latest hit from James Patterson or Janet Evanovitch. They loved them, but since I was still a kid, that automatically discounted the format in my opinion. Then I got a job that has me driving anywhere from 1-4 hours a day. The radio had me wanting to gouge out my eardrums, because how many times can you hear that same Kelly Clarkson song, that same Pink Floyd song, that same Mozart Concerto… (you get the picture) and not go crazy?
Stories and epic poems started in what is now called the Oral Tradition. Adults and children became acquainted with Beowulf’s strength and bravery, and Grendel’s mayhem through the telling of that story over and over again. The same goes for many other tales that we may or may not have heard today. The only difference between then and now is that when Beowulf was written/spoken/tweaked, there wasn’t a printing press to record it all and send it out en masse. Storytelling was the way this happened. Storytelling is a beautiful art form.
Enter: audiobooks. The first one I listened to that blew my mind was Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, read by Alice Walker, herself. Next came Tana French’s The Likeness. These two books caused me to sit in the driveway at the end of a long drive and continue to soak up the story and the accents and the cultural connections that I may not otherwise have gotten. I was enthralled. I mean, The Likeness is a twenty-six hour CD set, and I consumed every disc with the hunger I usually only reserve for chocolate. I listened to Stephen King’s The Long Walk, and for days after couldn’t get it out of my mind. For French and King’s books, actors play the characters and bring us through the story. So you could say that audiobooks merge my love for the theater and for literature, all in a package that lets me better utilize all that damn driving time.
So to you readers: keep at it. I love ripping through books at my own pace as much as the next bibliophile. But the next time you have a few hours behind the steering wheel planned, I urge you to pop in a disc or start up an app and listen to one of these amazing stories. It will allow you to hear even the classics in a whole new way.
By the way… any good recommendations for new audiobooks? I always need them!