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Taking back the commute – listening to audio books

There was a brief period last year between moving house and changing jobs when I was commuting to work on the Metro trains.  For those 6 weeks, I read more than I have ever done before.  The Metro journey was only 20 minutes each way, but those 20 minutes belonged to me and my reading.  I just gobbled up books during that period – it was fantastic.

Then I started a new job in a town just over 20 miles away and so I was commuting by car.  The extra reading time was lost, or so I thought.

A couple of months ago, I became absolutely sick and tired of listening to the same songs played on the radio over and over again, and so I decided to try something a bit different – I borrowed an audio book from the library.

It took a little bit of getting used to at first.  I started off with Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan, which I found a little hard to follow for the first few tracks on the CD as I got used to being read a story rather than reading it myself.  But once I had settled in, I really enjoyed listening to the story and now I am a total addict.

It is very rare that I will have more than one book on the go at the same time, and I was a bit concerned about getting confused between the audio book and paper book.  I need not have worried though as the audio book is very much in the car, so when I shut the car door I can leave it behind, then pick it right up again when I get back in.

The one drawback of listening to audio books is that I can’t read back over what has just happened when I get back in the car.  I’m not sure if I can rewind CDs or not, so if it has been a couple of days since I have driven, I am dropped back in the middle of where I left off, and can’t always remember exactly what happened immediately before, but it has been quite easy so far to pick up the thread again.  I do think that listening to the story adds an extra dimension to it as well – the reader is important as they do help bring the characters to life and help in creating the impression of the characters.

I always had the impression that audio books were just for old ladies.  I thought that I would find a library full of Catherine Cooksons and Agatha Christies and nothing much else.  I was really pleasantly surprised by the huge array of books on offer, modern and old, in all genres and for all age groups.

So through audio books, I have taken back the commute as my time for reading, and once more I am reading more than I ever have before.

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