Do you ever listen to books on tape?
I used to think I never would. I love looking at text on the page. I’ve read ink on paper (or pixels on screens) for so long the letters and words have a visual personality for me, like paintings. I couldn’t imagine giving that up.
Plus, I didn’t think I could bear to hear anyone else’s voice inside my head. What if the narrator hit the wrong tone, or misinterpreted the nuances of a line of dialogue?
But then we bought a treadmill.
I’ve blogged before about how much I love walking outdoors, but I do live in Florida, which means the weather is usually either trying to melt you or trying to electrocute you. Also, my neighbors are friendly and have adorable dogs, so it’s not easy to keep my heart rate up.
So we bought a treadmill. Sigh.
Well, at least I’ve learned to enjoy books on tape. They can be beautifully distracting, but you have to know how to buy. Here are some tips I’ve picked up in the past few months:
1) Listen to the sample first. Always. I’m not kidding. With earbuds, you and the narrator become intensely intimate. If her voice is grating, it’s as inescapable as a toothache.
2) This isn’t the time to reread old favorites. If I know what’s going to happen in the story, my mind wanders. And it inevitably wanders to the treadmill’s computer screen. Forty-three seconds, forty-four seconds, forty-five… OMG, kill me now.
3) Pacing matters. I’m actually a fan of slow, ponderous classics, like Charles Dickens or Henry James. But not when I’m on the treadmill. If I have to keep up my pace, the writer better do the same. Stuff’s gotta happen.
4) There’s something intrinsically motivational about exercising to a sexy British actor’s voice. My first Audible was Greg Wise reading Dracula, and I lost five pounds in one book. David Tennant’s Silver is next up. (I don’t really care about pirates, but I’d buy David Tennant reading the directions for assembling a toolshed.) And seriously, Audible, you’re underusing Tom Hiddleston.
5) Don’t even try that 1.5x speed. It may make the book move faster, but the narrator sounds manic and unhinged, as if he might have a chainsaw behind his back.
I’d love to hear what you think about books on tape. If you know any novels that can keep your mind off the supremely disagreeable sensation of sweat sliding into your bra, I hope you’ll share.
I’ll be giving away a $10 Amazon gift certificate to one randomly chosen poster!
Last week my daughter turned 23. I know it’s not usually considered a milestone birthday, but that is the age I was when she was born. We decided (and I think I blogged about the trip before) to go on a trip to Italy. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it here but I’m Italian on my mom’s side and Irish on my dad’s. So going to Italy was a bit like visiting part of our heritage.
My maternal grandmother was the first generation born in the US and never got back to Italy. She was raised with her six siblings (five sisters, one brother) in Brooklyn where her parents ran a grocery store. So food and family have always been linked for us. When my maternal grandmother passed away just a month before my thirtieth birthday I felt her loss keenly as we all did. My grandmother had always wore a necklace with a rose charm (her name was Rose) and my mom gave it to me. I wear it when I need her strength–she was a bold, brass lady who everyone loved. She was larger than life and I’m a quiet little dormouse, so sometimes I need my grandmother’s strength.
But I’m digressing…on the trip to Italy I wore my grandmother’s necklace and thought of her with me and Coco on the trip. Especially when we took a cooking class in Florence. The class was a basic one where we learned to make tiramisu from scratch, pasta and bolognese/ragu sauce. For some reason I’ve always known how to make my own sauce (we call it gravy at home) but never knew how to make pasta. I’ve tried it a few times on my own and my mom and dad always make it at home but I’d never done it.
Coco and I were the stars of our class inciting Italian Ryan Gosling (No, it wasn’t really Ryan Gosling as my mom thought!) over to our table to marvel at our little pasta balls. We rolled them out and then we drank chianti as the chef/teachers finished off our dishes and for me I felt that moment were past, present and future kind of all exist at the same time. It was an experience I know I’ll never forget.
Have you ever had something like that? Or just tell me about your favorite family dish. I’m giving away a cute little note pad I brought back from Florence and winner’s choice of my backlist books to one commenter.
I confess, I was at a two-day writing seminar this weekend, which was so great, and so much fun, and so mentally stimulating that I, er, forgot about my blog this week. But I came up with a fast and fun list instead!
So here goes (and don’t hold me to any answers, because they’re likely to change by tomorrow.
Favorite book I read this year: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Favorite movie I’ve seen so far: Kingsman
Favorite meal I have had in recent memory: roast chicken at The Elms restaurant in New Canaan, CT, while visiting that pretty town.
Favorite song: Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars
Favorite TV show: House of Cards.
Okay, your turn! What are your favorites in these same categories?
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put you in touch with Laura so you can claim your prize!
Thanks to all who commented and made Laura feel so welcome!
Congratulations, Catslady! You’re the winner of the grab bag of books. Please contact me through my website NancyRobardsThompson.com and let me know where to send the package. Thanks, everyone for posting such wonderful stress management tips.