Wednesday, December 1, 2010


It has been a busy year, with so much much accomplished, and so much left to do, that sometimes I wonder that I have time for it all. A new baby (Avery, born week before last) has added a third child to the mix as well, though I have to say he is a complete pleasure, and will likely be brought up by his older sisters if they have anything to say about it.

I've often found that momentum inspires yet more momentum, and the busier I am, the more I find I can accomplish. I like being busy, but one side effect of all this activity has been that I have had less and less time to read. There is, lets be clear about it, very little spare time in my life! That was until I discovered audiobooks.

No, most audiobook retailers don't have all the titles you have access to in paperback. The range is limited, particularly with regard to no-fiction titles. There is also the disappointment you can experience when you realise the actor reading to you has a voice you just can't stand.

There is however nothing like listening to a book read by the author, with their inflections, their use of tone and emphasis that brings a book to life in a unique way. The flexibility an audio book offers is also without comparison. The benefits in terms of being able to make better use of your time are  outstanding, and have me back to reading a book a week for which I am very grateful for.

There is a particular benefit in being able to engage in another activity while you listen. I take a walk every day, regardless of how busy I am, and listen to half an hour to an hour of my latest audiobook. I've found, particularly with regard to non-fiction titles, that I retain more in this way, and I put this down to my being able to engage in physical activity while I consider and explore the book.

Perhaps it seems a little strange to be expounding the virtues of something that might be described as low-tech, particularly on a site about digital narratives. It's true, audio books have been with us for a long time, and aside from the fact that they have moved into digital format, little has changed in the product you receive.

Of course I also pick up a book to read as well. You just can't replace the experience of curling up with a good book ... but embracing audio titles as well has meant when I don't have time to read, I can have the next best thing.

Audio books in the classroom are of course, something that is worth considering. If you have reluctant readers, I've found putting an audiobook on is something that they will often engage with. It's not a bulletproof way of capturing their interest, but more often than not, I've found that even reluctant students will settle into an audiobook.

If you want to explore audio books, Audible have a year round promotion that offers a free audiobook. Just be careful to cancel your subscription within that first month to ensure you don't end up as a paying subscriber the following month!, The Audiobook Store, are two other alternatives to consider. I've not used them, but they seem to offer a similar service to Audible. is also worth a look, as they have a large selection of FREE audio books.  A good way of discovering new titles that are of a high quality, is to browse through The Audies, a yearly competition for books on audio. It's worth looking at Bolinda we well, who have a fantastic range, and content that you won't necessarily find on other resources.

Finally, check out your local library, mine has a quite staggering amount of audio book titles, with new ones each month. I find I supplement my online subscription with these titles and that keeps me well and truly stocked with all the books I need.

Happy reading!