Audio Books

Audiobooks Rock

Audiobooks Rock (Photo credit: Lester Public Library)

I am slow to embrace new technology (and in this case old technology). Don’t get me wrong. I’ll do it but usually with a shove.

Like when iPods were the cool new product? I waited until the second or third generation before getting one.

Or, when eReaders started gobbling up market share? I waited till Kindle was in its third generation before getting one.

And, when smart-phones became ALL the rage? I waited for the iPhone to be in its fourth generation before getting one.

With tablets? I’m still vacillating even though we have two in our household.

Okay … if I’m telling the truth … my husband pushed me into the realm of these great devices. As a matter of fact, each time he suggested one I balked. So he purchased each one as gifts which I placed on shelves and told him he shouldn’t have spent the money.

HAHAHA. I know … Ingrate!

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite (Photo credit: Zero2Cool_DE)

Now, I don’t know what I would do without these wonderful toys. I’m addicted to my iPhone and would be lost without my Kindle Paperwhite (my second Kindle); especially when I travel. (Don’t tell my husband how much I love these. He’ll never let me live it down.)

How long have audio books been around? You know? Books on tape or CD.

Now you can download them to just about any electronic device and have the luxury of someone else reading to you.

Honestly, it’s an idea that never appealed to me before.

Even when I lived in Southern California and had long commutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I didn’t have the urge to buy a book in this format.

I used to value the quiet on my drive to work. It’s the only place I can control the volume around me. No noise was perfect. Until I realized there’s a lot of stuff I need to read or know about writing.

My current commute is less than 20 minutes which is the perfect amount of time to listen to a podcast (sometimes it takes the round trip).

So I find myself entering this new world of listening to messages instead of reading them for myself; which brings me to my first foray into an audio book. (Photo credit: insidetwit)

Many of the podcasts I listen to are sponsored by I mentioned to my husband that I might want to try it out … and not surprising, he already had an account.

I downloaded my first book: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. I’m almost finished listening to the story which is a wonderfully well done back-story that plays on the myth of Father Time.

I’m still adjusting to the voice talent who has a British accent, I enjoy, until he mimics a teenage girl speaking with an American accent.

Also, I’m still not convinced that this is should be considered “reading”. It feels more like cheating. Still, I got a good story out of it. I was entertained for 4+ hours.

What do you think about audio books: Yay or Nay? If yay, please let me know of any titles that are worth the listen.

In case you’re wondering … here’s my current podcast list. Feel free to tell me your favorites so I can check them out.

  • Grammar Girl
  • I Should Be Writing
  • Literary Disco
  • Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day
  • The Moth
  • Writing Excuses
  • Your Move 

Photos from Zemanta

Unplugged, Turned Off, and Tuned Out

Reading for unplugged times.

My family and I are addicted to technology especially my 5 year old who is bored in less than 5 seconds if we make him turn off his 3DS and play with … gasp … a toy.

Our boys get an hour of TV before going to daycare. An hour of TV when they get back from daycare. And, thankfully, they only get TV at daycare for special events tied to curriculum.

Sometimes they get a half hour (or more) of video game time or computer time. And those are on the days when I’m diligent and stick to the schedule. The weekends are a completely different situation; and not in a good way. That’s a lot of plugged in time for little dudes.

So it’s up to me to set the example and it’s hard. I didn’t realize how much I relied on my electronic interfaces.

I check Facebook and Instagram constantly. I hit refresh on my email every few minutes, hoping something new will pop up. I watch my blog stats real time, as if they’re changing so rapidly, while I watch TV. I have new blog posts in my Reader that need to be read and commented on. Then there’s Netflix and Hulu which allow me to watch entire seasons of shows back to back. There’s so much to see.

For my husband, it’s Words with Friends and a plethora of podcasts. We are always wirelessly wired.

Still trying to finish 2009 scrapbooks.

Can you relate? Maybe you have some other social media to keep up with like Twitter or Pinterest or Google Plus or Tumblr or fill in the blank … am I right?

Well, I’ve made a commitment to go on an electronics diet this summer. Notice I put a time limit on this “goal”. I am making an effort to consume a little less TV, video games, phone time, computer time, etc.

To support my diet, I’ve purchased a hardcopy book instead of loading up new fiction to my Kindle. I actually went to the bookstore with the boys and we all picked out new books. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a physical copy of a book.

But when I tell them to unplug and get a book, I can do the same … Life in these gaps of being unplugged is interesting.

I started with 20 minutes … we didn’t know what to do. We looked at each other but not in the eyes for fear we might spontaneously combust. I bit my nails and held my breath. We all watched the timer countdown the minutes. The boys cried, “Why?” at the highest decibels. We were all relieved for the 20 minutes to be over.

I didn’t plan well. It would have gone better if I had organized an activity to fill the time for the first go round … Now I know … I have a list of options they can do independently or as a group. Some are fun and others not so much …

  • Play outside
  • Read a book
  • Scrapbook (we have vacation pictures)
  • Board games (we just started Pokemon trading card game)
  • Chores (we are working on folding laundry)
  • Family conversation

Activities, like these, where they can flex their creative muscles or just relax and unwind from the barrage of information and images that are always coming at us.

It’s important to note that we aren’t “making up” that “lost” 20 minutes in other parts of the day. We’re cutting back.

Slowly I am increasing the time of being turned off and tuned out. And slowly, we are adjusting to being without our gadgets. The boys know that unplugged moments are going to be part of our lives.

It’s getting easier … I’m realistic. I’ll never do away with gadgets in our home. Like I said, we’re junkies. And it’s not a bad thing but moderation is key.

The funny thing? When I pick up my iPhone or open my computer, it’s waiting for me. Patiently waiting for me. I’ve been pinged or notified that something happened. I didn’t miss it. I only delayed it.

Been working on this blanket for way too long. Before my boys were born.

And, being unplugged means I have interesting things to post or share, or so I think, because I took the break to live a little life.

I’ve noticed that my boys, who no longer take naps, are a little less crabby when bedtime rolls around. There is a lot more conversation about characters they’ve made up and stories they want to write or play out as live action. Less is more in terms of gadgets especially as it relates to creativity.

I’ve also noticed that as a Momma, I’m a little less stressed out. I don’t respond to their meltdowns with frustration because I’m not harried or weighted down by being connected like I’m on life support.

So tell me, how do you intentionally unplug? What would you do if you weren’t plugged in? What changes do you notice when you’ve had a break from being connected?