Living the life of a person who listens to audio books from services like Audible is very multi-dimensional. No longer do I read a book in isolation. I remember so many times in the past, when I was reading a printed book that I loved, I just wanted to hug it all the time. I hated when I finished reading it because that meant we would part forever. I would place the book on a shelf near me and blow kisses to it once in a while. I would call friends and sometimes strangers to see if they read the book so we could talk about it. Then I joined book groups because I wanted to share what I had read with others. I really didn’t like most of these groups because they were usually made up of people I knew or friends of theirs. We usually spent more time discussing everyone’s life then the book. So then I joined a more serious book club. The heated debates were so violent I feared for my life (not really but it sounds good). There was one bitch who screamed so loud and pulled at her hair with such force that I thought she was going to split in two. The fact that she downed five or six glasses of wine didn’t help either.
I just didn’t want to be victimized. Live book clubs were supposed to be intellectually stimulating experiences, not bully fights. I decided after five or six of these face-to-face gatherings, that all of my future interactions would take place online. I joined two online discussions groups through publishing houses, but shortly discovered that many of the participants disappeared in a day or two. I really wanted a community where there was a sense of commitment and lots of related services.
I don’t remember how I found Audible but it must have been through one of their advertisements. They offer a 100,000 plus titles (every genre imaginable) as well as radio shows, podcasts, stand-up comedy and recordings from captains of industries that cover culture, politics, business and entertainment. The narrators, many of them famous actors or the authors themselves, just don’t read word for word, they provide vocal inflections. You hear a giggle, a deep breath, a pause, an accent or a cough that enhances the experience and confirms that you are totally realizing the essence of the book. That first exhilarating experience happened to me when I listened to James Michener’s South Pacific on an audio cassette in my car. I had a long three hour drive and I didn’t want the trip to be monotonous. I picked a book that I wouldn’t ordinarily read in print. The three hour trip felt like three minutes because I had never experienced Michener before. Listening to descriptions about faraway places and the adventures of getting there, were beyond anything that I had ever imagined. I felt like a whole slice of life was given to me on a silver platter.
I also love that I can now discuss my books 24/7, 365 days a year on Audible. I always have someone to converse with on my terms. Most audio book clubs offer message boards, discussions with authors, reviews, a list of books you’ve bought, what you wish for, new entries, a gift area and instructional videos on how to get started. I feel like I am part of a club that has been tailored just for me. I can pay monthly or annually and I even get credits for buying books. Sometimes I feel like they are giving me more books for free than I actually purchase.
Lately I have done the unthinkable. I buy an audio book from Audible and I then buy the same book for my iPad as well. I love listening to the book, then searching on my iPad for the parts that I want to repeat to others. I underscore in yellow and use the electronic book marks for searching purposes. I am just one of those people who likes to share interesting thoughts with others. I recently listened to Steven Tyler’s, “Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?” What an odd choice for conservative me? Not at all. I am thrilled to hear all about the behind the scenes life of a rocker and the risks he took. I love the part when he was jumping on a trampoline in an outdoor Connecticut activity center after hours. All of a sudden the owner appeared and asked him to leave. He explained that he was letting off steam before performing in a concert that night. The young owner invited him back to his house, not too far away. They were drinking a few beers when the guy’s father showed up. Paul Newman walked in with a racing friend. Tyler was blown away. The young owner was Scott Newman. He spent the next hour or two trading entertainment war stories. He couldn’t believe that he was in the presence of a legend. He described the situation with such surreal detail and such excitement. I was glad I heard it in the spoken word. The 16 hours it took me on the treadmill to hear Tyler’s entire book was extremely enjoyable. At the end of each session, I felt a sense of renewal. His life was so foreign to me that it forced me to think about my future in a way I never thought possible.