Ode to the Audiobook

 Ode to the Audiobook

By Sean McVeigh

My mother is an avid reader. She goes through books like a woodchuck through a log. I have always admired this ability but, unfortunately, it seems this gene did not get passed to me. I love to read but I am just not good at it. For starters, I am painfully slow. Voracious readers are able to cruise through books at uncanny speeds. I’m talking 500-page novels in a week. That is unfathomable to me. 500 pages? How about 500 words! Why do you think this column is only a half-page long anyway? As I got older, I thought the opportunity to get some reading done would present itself more often. Boy, was I wrong. I just don’t know where people find the time! But recently I have found the answer to my problem — audiobooks.

I have become somewhat of an audiobook enthusiast. This may be a bit surprising from a guy at a newspaper. I suppose those are sort of counterintuitive mediums. But I live in a non-binary world and there is a time and place for everything. There are few things I enjoy more than sitting down with a hot cup of coffee and reading a newspaper. Thursday mornings with The Rockaway Times are a weekly highlight. It is just not the same commitment as reading a book.

Before I continue, I have to add a disclaimer. Much to the dismay of my wife — and I am sure countless others out there — I will be using the word “read” when speaking about listening to an audiobook. That is what you do with a book. If someone were to ask me if I have “read” this book or that book, I am not going to go to try to explain to this fellow bibliophile that while I have not “read” the book, I have consumed it in a different format and retained the information just the same. I am going to respond “yes” for sake of brevity and my sanity. I will not apologize for this.

The practicality of the audiobook cannot be overstated. There are countless moments throughout the day that I find are otherwise wasted by having to do a mundane task. A task that requires you to be invested physically but not entirely mentally. Folding laundry, shopping at the grocery store, and driving anywhere are all examples of places where I now find myself reading books. No longer am I forcing myself to stay up at night to try and cram in a chapter or two before bed because I did not have the time to crack a book all day. It is truly multitasking at its finest.

Walking the dog can be a tedious chore at times, especially when the weather does not cooperate. Just take this week where we got a small taste of what God gave Noah. Even when having to bundle up and step out into the wet and wind, I threw those headphones in and read a few chapters. No wet pages, just a wet dog.

I understand that some people like to have a physical book. It is the same reason we still deliver the newspaper in both physical and online form (which you can get right to your inbox! Just send an email to mail@rockawaytimes.com and we’ll get you signed up!). I am one of those people. I think there is still a time and a place for books. Find me sitting on the beach, flying on a plane, or on a leisurely Sunday afternoon on the front porch and you may find me with a book in my hand (and a drink in the other). The audiobook is not meant to completely replace the book, it is only there to compliment the experience.

I know there are anti-audiobookers out there. I have spoken with many of you. I will not be deterred though. If you see me out walking with the headphones in, don’t ask what song I’m listening to. Ask me what chapter I am on! Long live the audiobook!

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