Two things conspired to change the way I deal with my long commute recently. One: I found that I had limited time to read books, something that I love. Two: I grew increasingly tired of my options on the radio. After a little research, I downloaded the Axis360 phone Ap and connected it to my local library and started checking out audio books. A completely new world opened up.
I now look forward to my commute—most of the time, that is. I’ve listened to a few clunkers. What I find interesting is the difference that a narrator can make. Some of them are amazing, doing multiple voices and accents, adding to the story rather than just narrating it. Others not so much. One book I had to stop listening to simply because the narrator’s voice grated on me so much that I couldn’t listen any more. I vowed to read the actual book but haven’t done it yet.
Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on the experience of reading, where the characters inflections, accents, and personalities are conceived solely on the reader’s interpretation of the words on the page. Listening to somebody else’s interpretation can influence the imagination of the reader similarly to seeing the movie before reading the book. You can’t read that book without imagining the actors’ portrayals. Regardless, I love being told a good story and I’m excited about the new variety of books that have become available to me.
I find the ones I love the most are the longer books, which I get deeply involved in, making my long commute seem very short. While I’ve listened to many good books, the following few stand out to me as memorable:
“All the Light We Cannot See” – Anthony Doerr
“Small Great Things” – Jodi Picault (Multiple narrators telling the various viewpoints)
“The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” – Mitch Albom (Narrated by Mitch Albom)
“Commonwealth” – Ann Patchett