I have always loved reading, losing yourself in a book, letting time fly by, then the bitter sweet sadness that comes when the story is over. This love for reading was majorly hampered by university for me. When I worked full time as a lifeguard prior to university, i could quite easily settle down each night with a good book and read myself to sleep… That changed at university in two ways. Firstly, at the beginning, I found myself reading academic texts for my course constantly, then taking other time to socialise, play in the various clubs, and inevitably run around halls pulling pranks on my flatmates, (afetrall that’s what first year is for, right?). Essentially, the last thing I wanted to do was more reading, even though I could have quite easily made time to. The second and more excusable reason came in second year, when my studies got a little more serious and I stopped hiding in cupboards to jump out on my unsuspecting and usually drunk flat mates. I found that even though I set time aside to lay in bed and read my usual type of crime or mystery book, I would soon think ‘why am I not reading something more useful,’ and then stray away from the book at hand and pick up some much more complex academic text to read. It seems I had lost the magic of reading.
Even now all the worrying and writing is over, I find myself asking the same question. Why am I not reading something that is going to help me. I still struggle to immerse myself fully into a good book, I always seem to drift off and read blogs, pdfs and other online articles about the eduction, technology or other interesting sectors. Granted these are interesting pieces, but I missed the thrills and excitement you get with that completely fictional story, that concept of none of this can happen, but it could. To combat this I think the answer lies in technology.
Recently I started listening to audiobooks. I found that setting time aside to sit down and read can be a chore for some people, others like myself, face other barriers. I still love the concept of immersing myself in a story, I just find it harder than I used to. That’s when I thought I should try audiobooks, I commute to and from work for one and a half hours a day, which is plenty of time to listen in to a few chapters each way. So I tried it out. To my surprise, it was not the slightest bit distracting and you still feel immersed in the story. After a few tries in the car, I found myself listening to my books whilst doing jobs around the house, out walking or even doing the weekly shop. It simply looks like you are listening to music and is no more difficult to listening to music, just try not to pick audiobooks that will make you laugh or cry in the middle of your local supermarket, so you don’t look slightly insane.
All in all, audiobooks have been my answer to getting back in to books, and I have suddenly found myself listening to book after book. I am sure many people would argue that it’s not the same as reading a real book, and truthfully it isn’t, but I wasn’t actually reading any, so I may as well listen to them instead. Plus who doesn’t like the added bonus of listening to David Tennant narrate the role of an angry scottish policeman or Wil Wheaton narrating his story as the underdog in a dystopian, virtual reality based future.
Opinions, thoughts and arguments are always appreciated, plus, extra points for guessing the two books at the end!