Books On Tape

I am an avid reader. I read the cereal box at breakfast, every piece of junkmail that comes to my house, even my bathroom looks like a library. I almost always have a half-dozen or so books lying around that I am currently bouncing back and forth with. I don’t know if it is simply the joy of escaping with a book, the reading process itself, or if I just crave more information and stimulation.

I find that with my day job, there are many hours spent on the road desperately trying to entertain myself. I listen to talk radio, but by Tuesday, unless something major has happened, they have said everything important they are going to say that week. I rehash conversations I have had, or rehearse ones I want to have. I even fantasize about stories and books I have read or want to write. After a short while, though, this begins to bore me and I just resign myself to singing along with the radio.

Enter “Books on Tape”. I often wish I had a copy of one of the current books I’m reading on a recording that I could plug in and hear as I drive those long LONG miles. When my wife and I were dating, we had the unabridged version of Anne Rice’s “Servant of the Bones.” Listening to it together proved to be a bit of a challenge. Whenever one of us had to go somewhere without the other, there was a terrible temptation to listen ahead. Dang she would get mad at me for that. :) Another problem was arriving at our destination during an exciting part of the story. I can’t tell you how many times we ended up driving around the block until the end of a chapter. With gasoline prices where they are now, that would be way too expensive on our limited budget. For me, though, the biggest problem was that there were no pages to turn. There is no way to quietly enjoy the solitude of a good book-on-tape. These are the things that have hitherto prevented me from checking out an audio book from the library when I go on the road.

Lately, I’ve had an epiphany. There are a ton of books out there that are good stories written badly, books that would be good if you didn’t have to drudge through the writer’s style. A great example of this for me is Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear saga. With some 500 pages, half of the book is dedicated to describing the native flora and fauna of the Neanderthal world. It just makes me want to scream, “GET ON WITH IT!”

Other types of books that would be great for me in this format are instructional books. I could learn economics, history, politics, self-improvement, etc. This is something I believe I should definitely look into. I could start with Spanish, but since we’ve been teaching the baby American Sign Language, I believe I’ll start with The Joy of Sign.

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