There have been many times in my adult life where I’ve had to completely abandon reading books for pleasure because I was just too overloaded with reading at work. I’d go months at a time without immersing myself in a book for fun, then eventually I’d resolve to make the time for it and would fold it into my daily routine once again.
Last winter, I came up with a decent solution: I figured I’d give audio books a try. I don’t have a long commute each day — 20 minutes each way — but that seemed like enough time to at least see if it might work for me. To be honest, I was dubious. I didn’t think I’d like audio books, despite The Husband and several friends giving them generally positive reviews. Historically, my alone time in the car is my designated thinking time, and I figured my mind would wander too much to focus on someone reading me a book.
And, at first, it WAS a challenge for me. My mind would wander and I’d need to rewind the book, fearing I’d missed something crucial that would have me confused about the plot later if I didn’t catch it. But slowly, I retrained my brain to focus on the audio book, and soon I found myself dreading arriving at my destination because that meant turning off the book and leaving the action just hanging there.
I’ve been listening to audio books for probably a year now, and I genuinely love that it’s helped me recapture some of my “reading” time. (Side note: There needs to be a new verb that means “listening to an audio book.” That’s often cumbersome to say, and you can’t really say you READ it, because you listened. I propose a combination of reading and listening: risten. “I ristened to the audio book in the car today.” Better suggestions are welcome, of course.)
An unexpected offshoot of this audio book adventure has been that it jump-started my interest in actual book-reading time, and I’ve been devoting about 20 to 30 minutes before bed each night to reading a book I can hold in my hand. (Full disclosure: Most of the time it’s physical books, always from the library. Sometimes it’ll be a Kindle book, also from the library. But most of the time it’s a real book. My preference for real books vs. Kindle books is definitely fodder for a future post.)