Today marks the first day of Audiobook Week 2010. This fabulous event is the dream child of Jen of Devourer of Books. Be sure to read her Audiobook Week information post and the post listing the great prizes available for participants! (I'll be offering one of those prizes on Friday, so be sure to come back!)
For the first four days of Audiobook Week, I plan to post on the daily topic. On Friday, I am going take a different path. I hope you take the time to visit all the participating blogs; you can find them by checking out Jen's blog and clicking on the Mr. Linkys.
I know that some of you have heard my story before, but I'm going to tell it again! In 1984, while still in graduate school in an unrelated field, I launched my career as a freelance editor. Although I absolutely love my job--I get paid to read!--it has a down side. After reading carefully and closely for fifty or more hours a week, I am not always in the mood to sit and stare at the printed page yet again.
Now let's jump to 1989. I was out of school and my business was chugging along nicely, but, sadly, the number of books I was reading for pleasure had dramatically decreased. In addition, I had given up my office at the university and decided to stick with editing from home full time, which meant I risked becoming very sedentary. I needed to find a way to read in the evenings, rest my eyes, and be active all at the same time. Enter my first book on tape, which I think was Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. I have no idea who the narrator was, but I remember loving the idea that I could listen while working in the garden and making dinner.
I remember I had no problem listening to the story or getting lost in my first audiobook. Perhaps it was the audio production of the Tan book or perhaps I'm just a good match for listening, but in either case, I was sold on the medium . . . mostly. I was not an instant convert, however. Several things help me back:
- Audiobooks were expensive.
- Books on tape from the library were unreliable (broken, stopped working).
- There didn't seem to be many titles on tape.
- My Walkman used up a lot of batteries.
- My husband didn't always want to listen, so I couldn't count on using the boom box.
I rented (and sometimes bought) hundreds of books on tape and books on CD through Books-On-Tape, Recorded Books Direct, Kitabe, Simply Audiobooks, Audiobook Stand and more. Suddenly I could get almost any book I could think of on audio, and my wallet wasn't suffering . . . much. Eventually, I started ripping CDs, merging tracks and files, and transferring everything to an MP3 player.
The next step in my addiction to audiobooks was my discovery of Audible.com and the convenience of digitally downloading directly to my player. Oh boy! Instant gratification; dangerous to the pocketbook (or credit balance at Audible) but so easy and wonderful. No more scratches, no more stretched tapes. Soon other companies followed suit, and now I can even download audiobooks from my library!
I have never counted the number of books I've listened to, but I kept decent records for about six years before I started blogging. A few days ago, I commented on Jen's blog that my record for audios in one year was 86 books. I was wrong. That was my total in 2008. In 2007 (I checked on Sunday), I listened to 113 titles! That's a lot of hours of walking, gardening, cooking, driving, and so on.
So why audiobooks? Because I love being read to, because it gives my eyes and editor's brain a rest, and because I truly cannot escape books. I listen so often, my husband is fond of saying, "God forbid you go one second without listening to a book." He's right.
One of the narrators of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver (my audiobook review for today), is Jenna Lamia. I have spend almost forty hours with her voice in my head. Here's the list:
- Firefly Cloak
- Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
- The Secret Life of Bees
Be sure to visit Jen's blog, Devourer of Books, for other posts on today's Audiobook Week topic.