I consider myself an avid reader... Except sometimes it will take me two months to read a book, and sometimes I won't read for months at a time. I do not feel good about these lulls, but I often find it fairly difficult to break out of them. It usually involves me abandoning whatever poet's autobiography or classic I'm trudging through, and trying to get my feet wet again with something light, easy, and usually under 150 pages.
After my most recent reading dry-period, I was having difficulty getting back into the habit. My hands work so hard holding my iPhone all day that sometimes they just want to rest and watch some TV. I couldn't find any books on my shelf, or on the shelf at the thrift store down the street.
Then, aha! I would read Lena Dunham's book, Not That Kind of Girl. I was trying to order it online, and then realized that if I ordered the audiobook, I could start "reading" it right away. Also, the thought of Lena's voice becoming BFFs with my ears was very appealing. And this, my friends, turned out to be a revelation.
Two weeks later, I've got a subscription to audible.com and I'm on my fourth audiobook, all non-fiction autobiographies written by women I admire. In the meantime I've also read two actual books, both fiction. When it rains, it pours.
Here is a list of things I've learned since I've fallen in love with audiobooks:
1. They are wonderful for long walks. You will feel like you're walking arm in arm with Nora Ephron, or Amy Poehler, or an actor who is okay at reading a deceased person's work.
2. Audiobooks are not for the gym.
3. Audiobooks are the same price as books, and you will rip through them much more quickly. Be mindful of your wallet.
4. Always listen to audio samples and know what you're getting into before you start. If you don't like the voice of the narrator, you should probably just read it the old-fashioned way.
5. Boredom during household tasks no longer exists.
6. Audiobooks will not clutter your home, but you also can't really share them.
7. If you're dining alone, it's practically impossible to read a book and completely unhealthy to watch TV (don't get me wrong, I do this very frequently.) With audiobooks you can see your food, pay attention to every bite, and still be entertained.
8. On trains and planes, audiobooks will make you feel like you have a wonderful new friend curled up beside you, sharing anecdotes and wisdom. You might laugh out loud accidentally, or conceal a small tear from the businessman sitting beside you. Your voyage will be enriched by this secret narrative.
9. You will always know how to properly pronounce the names and places mentioned in the book.
10. I need a better pair of headphones.
So, that's pretty much it. This winter, I hope you try out an audiobook or two. I really do. I listed things I've leant about them, but I really need you to know how much I am loving them. They are comforting. In the way that lattes are just sippy cups for grown ups and restaurant tables are really fancy high-chairs, audiobooks are just bedtime stories that last a little bit longer. They are a very good thing.
PS Please send me your audiobook recommendations.