I am dead serious about this. I read while I drive. Even when Elijah is in the car.
I know you’re all waiting for the punchline (if you haven’t guessed it yet), so here it is. I’ve discovered audio books.
I love to read. I always have. I was reading before I was in school, and its always been my favorite past time. I never thought I would ever stop reading. Until I had a baby.
Maybe I didn’t stop reading entirely, but my reading time was severely cut back, and most of what I was reading was parenting books, and then doula books, and now midwifery books. While I love reading this stuff, I miss reading fiction, and other subjects as far as non fiction goes. But I was working more, commuting more, and when I got home, I had a baby to take care of. When did I have time to read? I did most of my reading while pumping breast milk at work, two or three half hour breaks a day (my work was super generous and accomodating for pumping milk, more companies should be like my work was). Other than that, I didn’t get to pursue my favorite past time really at all.
At the same time that I had to give up one of my favorite past times, I had to increase one of my least favorite; driving to and from work. I HATE commuting. I’m not much of a fan of driving in general, but the worst is driving in rush hour on the way to or from a place you never really wanted to be in the first place. I have a 50 minute commute to work in the morning and an hour commute home at night (traffic is better at 6:30 in the morning, when I leave, than it is at 5 in the evening, when I go home). Trust me, if I could take the bus to and from work, I would, but there are no lines that will get me from my house to my work in a reasonable amount of time (less than three hours).
Anyway, since discovering audio books, my commute is finally bearable. In fact, some days I actually look forward to it. And in the three months since I discovered audio books (or rather, discovered that I enjoyed audio books), I’ve read more than I have in the whole 18 months my son has been alive!
I got my first audio book quite accidentally. My Holistic Moms Network group was doing a book club for the book A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle. I had heard a lot about this book and wanted to join them, but wasn’t sure if I’d actually finish it, and I didn’t want to spend money on the book if I wasn’t ever going to finish it. One day at work, about half way through the month we were doing the book club, I got an email about a service that provides free audio books to service members through a service that works kind of like Netflix (they mail you the books, you listen, mail them back). I checked out the selection. It was mostly books on how to improve your leadership skills, not the kind of stuff I was interested in reading, but low and behold, there was A New Earth. I signed up and ordered it, along with Total Money Makeover, The World is Flat, and An Inconvieniant Truth.
The first books that came in the mail were A New Earth and Total Money Makeover. I listened to A New Earth First, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I was developing an obsession for audio books. It was great! I could drive and read! There were so many more books I wanted to get under my belt!
Since the selection at 3Leaf Group (the Netflix like service) was pretty lame, I got the brilliant idea to see what kind of selection my local library had. I had not had a library card for my local library since I was 15 years old. I had abandoned my card after the Columbine shootings, because the park that Columbine High School and my local library were both in was closed up and police taped off for a month, and I was unable to return my library books, but they continued to charge me late fees! I didn’t think I could get a new library card, but when I saw how good their audio book selection was, I had to try. I signed up for a new card online, and picked it up on my way home from work.
I am just flabbergasted at how much reading I’ve gotten done for free, without sacrificing time from anywhere else in my life. So far I have read:
- A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle
- The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
- Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey
- The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
- The Last Days of Dogtown, by Anita Diamant
- Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian
- The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan
- An Inconvieniant Truth, by Al Gore
- And I’m currently working on In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
I can’t get enough. As I’m writing this, I have another window open to the Jefferson County Libraries website putting audio books on my hold list. Even if you’re not a big fan of reading, I think audio books are a great option for you. Its enough like reading to satisfy the bookworm, but its different enough from reading to entertain the person who prefers radio or television. In fact, listening to an audio book is very much like listening to a radio program. You can pick something funny, romantic, tragic, informative, whatever. Who doesn’t like to have a story told to them?