Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lend an Ear

It can’t be said enough — the best writers are some of the most voracious readers.

It is a goal of mine to always keep growing as a Christian, a manager, an editor, and a writer, so I know I should be reading more in each area. But it is hard to motivate myself to do much reading at home evenings and weekends after spending my work hours reading proposals, emails, manuscripts, and more.

When I’m home I want to rest my eyes. My hands might stay busy with cooking, gardening, sewing, and so forth, but I want to be free to move around and be more active than a desk job allows. And, I’m a slow reader, evaluating fiction style of writing as I go or rereading sections of non-fiction so I can learn from it. I wish I could be like my niece who can read a Heartsong in just over an hour. She reads every word and doesn’t miss a thing.

So, too often, thanks to Netflix, I rely on movies for keeping up with popular storylines. (I recently found a new favorite in Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic book North & South in BBC mini-series format. Thanks, Ruth!)

So, I have been thinking about audio books. (Barbour is starting to sell audio. Check out the Landon Snow and the Sisters of Holmes County series.) But to really gain from a book, can I get enough by listening to it? I’d want the unabridged versions, of course. Would I waste my money on an iPod and an audio book membership?

What works for you? How do you get enough book reading into your life?



Rachelle said...

Becky, I'm a regular reader of Edit Cafe and decided to come out of lurkdom for this one. I typically read 60-70 books per year and that number includes audio books. I've always been such a purist when it comes to books -- I, too, wondered if I could get the same effect from listening to them. But with a full-time job (editing books) and a couple of kids running around, my time is so limited. I decided to start wearing my trusty earbuds while doing tasks like folding laundry, and it allows me to get more "reading" in than I would otherwise. The startling thing is how very, very much I enjoy it. In fact, I think I sometimes get even more out of a book when I listen as opposed to read, because the audio experience is so much slower than my normal reading rate. Occasionally, I'll enjoy a book on audio so much that I'll get the print version, too, and flip through it to find the quotes I loved. I am never without an audio book these days; I can't imagine folding laundry without them!

Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention audio books... My first historical was put on audio cassettes, and the "reader"/listener feedback has been awesome. One woman contacted me and suggested "I" put all my books on audio because she doesn't have time to read, due to her travel schedule, but listens to tapes while she drives cross country. Of course, I don't have the ability to make that happen! But I do think there is a growing market for audio books because we are such a busy society. I never thought I would enjoy listening to a story as much as reading it, but I've changed my mind. When the execution is well done, the experience is just as enjoyable as reading--I still get lost in the story.

~Kim S.

Kristy Dykes said...

I keep a TBR (to be read) pile by my bed (both novels and nonfiction). Almost every night of my life, I read before going to sleep. And since I'm an insomniac, that's a lot of reading! I also read on trips while my dh is driving. I keep a novel in my car, and when I run errands, I read at red lights. (No, I don't read when the car's in motion!) I try to think of every little snippet of time that can be used for reading.

D. Gudger said...

I too am a lurker emerging from the dark recesses of blogdom...

Books are my heroin. It's not unusual for me to devour 100+ every year, sometimes as many as three or four each week.

On top of reading, I'm a writer, mother, coach, vocalist, wife, book reviewr (not in any particular order).

How do I do it? I have different books in different rooms. I can read three or more books simultaneously. I have a book in the kitchen for when I eat. One in the bathroom for... one by my bed to read when I go to sleep.

Having ADHD, in this case, is to my advantage :)

Patricia W. said...

Room for one more lurker? Easily 100+ books per year. No audio. Life is fast-paced but reading is my slow-down, unwind time. In snatches. Wherever I am. Never leave home without a book. Never. Carry two, if I'm near the end of the current read.

I might try audio for non-fiction though. I too like to think about the passages more and it could replace listening to music radio or CDs in the car.

Becky said...

I can't image getting more than 50 books read per year. I really admire you ladies. Do you buy all those books or use the library? Another issue I confess is that I want to "own" what I read. I may want to keep it or share it, so I need to own it. (smile) I already do have a book in most rooms. Unfortunately, as I've aged I've developed motion issues, and I no longer can read while in the car and even sometimes on planes. It is a real bummer.

Becky said...

Thanks, Rachelle, D. Gudger, and Patricia, for coming out of lurkdom. Nice to know who our blog is reaching.

Mary Connealy said...

I consider myself a compulsive reader. A difference for me though is, I reread books, not whole books usually, but I reread 'scenes' that I loved. I can open one of that around 100 books in my collection and start thumbing for the scene where they fight before the wedding, the scene where she first meets her new mother-in-law, the scene where a mugger attacks and she learned her 'wimpy' bodyguard is a lot tougher than he looks, the scene were he tells her the swamp has it's own ghost...stuff like that.
I read new stuff too, probably two books a week new,(good grief, that's 100 books a year too, that CAN'T be right) but the 'rereading scenes I love' thing helps me get to sleep at night. When it's a new book I've got this compulsive... I've gotta see what happens streak that'll keep me up until 2 or 3 or 4 a.m.
This is in addition to writing, too. I wrote 4000 words yesterday, great, great writing day.
I've got a neighbor with a 40 - 50 minute commute, a job she's had for ... wow, close to thirty years now. She says audio books keep her SANE on that drive.
Since d. grudge mentioned heroin, I'll go ahead and say that...

If books were beer, my family would be holding an intervention.

Mary Connealy said...

I'll add that I've got a full time job, too. I'm doing all this reading in the evening, but my husband is sitting there watching TV and I'm sitting on the couch reading.
My choice for an evening's entertainment

Beth Loughner said...

Becky, I love to read. It's hard to find time for what seems like a luxury anymore. Most of my reading comes from our church library where I'm the librarian. Since there are space issues, I read every book that I place on the shelves to make sure it's worthy of the spot. :-) And of course, there are plenty of Heartsongs in the bunch.

I also like to do book reviews. This causes me to read books that I normally wouldn't choose on my own....and when the book is finished, I'm always thankful to have been "forced" out of my box.

Never tried audios, but wouldn't mind buying an ipod to find out if it is doable.

Here's a question: Who do you choose to read these books for the audios....someone within Barbour or another company that specializes in this business?

Beth L.

Anonymous said...

Sitting still is difficult for me, and since I spend so much time at my computer writing and researching and all that, I prefer not to sit still and read. So audio books have always been a part of my life. Nothing abridged. If the author and editor thought the words needed to be there, then cutting them out is an abomination to me. Reading while on the treadmill, cooking dinner, knitting, etc. helps me get a number of books in a week. Before I wrote my Heartsong, I bought many of the ones on CD and listened to them, a couple twice. Not that those were the first ones I'd read, and having them in audio worked much better for me.

Becky said...

We go through a company that can do all the audio process without us getting much involved -- abridgement, choosing reader, recording, etc.