No Time for Reading? Start Listening.

By Tyler Segura

I love reading. When I was too young to do it myself, my mother would read to me every day, and when I was older, I began exploring all types of writing on my own. I boast a healthy bookshelf and am always on the lookout for my next reading adventure. Holding a book in my hands, enjoying its distinct smell, and lazing the day away with a good book is how I enjoy spending most of my time. Reading was always physical for me, so I avoided audiobooks for the majority of my life.

However, in mid-October of this year, I noticed that the time I could dedicate to physically reading was not in the majority. Most of my time was spent in my car or doing activities that required me to work with my hands, the very tools I needed to physically hold my books. My wonderful colleague Madeline suggested that I sign up for Audible. Hesitantly, I ventured to the website unsure of where to begin. I listened to audio samples and explored different genres before taking the leap. I selected my first audiobook: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) and narrated by Robert Glenister.

The audio recording was fourteen hours, and I truly wondered where I would find the time to listen to the entire book. Yet, in a week’s time, I was finished. My sense of accomplishment was overwhelming. I was hooked. At this point, I did not know where to go next. Madeline was chiming in my ear to listen to The Stand by Stephen King, but the forty-hour commitment seemed too large for me. Instead, I focused on the James Bond series by Ian Fleming. I started with Casino Royale, a mere five hours, and quickly followed it with Live and Let Die, a well spent six hours. I am a die-hard Bond fan, having seen every film multiple times. Listening to these books felt like a special treat, and Simon Vance, the narrator, delivered a strong performance.

Madeline then sent me Bossypants by Tina Fey narrated by Fey herself—a quick five and a half hours. I followed this with Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and narrated by Wil Wheaton—a solid sixteen hours. I demolished The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick and narrated by Ray Porter in one seven-hour sitting. Now, I am about to finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and narrated by Simon Vance while streaming Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and narrated by Rosamund Pike.

I have listened to more books in the past two months than I have been able to read over the last year. I believe it has been time well spent, too. While I certainly enjoy listening to music during my commutes or when I am cleaning my apartment, I feel more productive and have truly had a great time listening to each performance. If I ever find myself zoning out, I switch back to music for a while but always return to my books. My challenge to you, my reader, is to explore audiobooks. Give one a chance and see if it leads to something more. I am not asking you to give up physically reading books or abandoning your favorite music; I am simply suggesting that you explore your options on how you spend your time. As for me, I am slowly building up to The Stand so Madeline can be satisfied with my listening choices.