Book Nook

The Audio-Bookworm

The Audio Bookworm - Folding laundry to your favourite novel. {In Our Gumboots}

I know I’m not the only person who gets a little excited about books. There’s no sound like the gentle creak of opening an old hardcover book. Then there’s the cosy smell of collected dust and the texture of the ageing pages. Their friends, the paperbacks, offer a different kind of charm. They’re crisp and inviting and, once you’ve read them a few times, their pages soften and they get that lovely frayed appearance like a vintage manuscript. Books are like little portals. Their physical appearance can transport you to a new place even before you’ve embarked on the adventure within the pages. Therefore, the only way to enjoy a great story is with the book in your hands. Or so I thought…

Somewhere in the blur of motherhood, my ability to curl up with a novel has disappeared. The daylight hours are divided between my little ones and the never ending pile of laundry. And in the evenings, when everyone is tucked up in bed, I can barely keep my eyes open let alone make them move from side to side and down a page {that sounds more like exercise than relaxation!}. That’s not to say I’ve completely stopped reading, but when I do sit down it is usually with a little person snuggled up in my lap. So it’s not surprising that my literary adventures have gone from wandering the moors with Cathy and Heathcliff to baking a birthday cake with Spot. Exciting! But not quite the same.

The Audio Bookworm via {In Our Gumboots}

Still, reading feeds my soul and getting lost in a book is like receiving a big hug from my imagination. It’s very therapeutic! So this year I decided to set myself some goals to reignite the bookworm within. I started off with my Jane Austen Reading Challenge {you can check it out here} and, at first, I was a little overwhelmed by my own ambition. As a busy mum, I was lucky to read two books in a year let alone all of Jane Austen’s adult works! I kept an eye out for quiet moments {yes, in a family of five they do occur but you have to catch them quickly!} and I started reading in short bursts throughout the day. I love Jane Austen so short bursts didn’t quiet satisfy me and I quickly worked out that weekends were my key reading times. My husband was home and I could steal a few extra moments here and there or a whole day in the case of Pride and Prejudice!

It turns out starting with my favourite author was the best idea ever! I breezed through Austen’s first five stories during the school holidays and travelled from Northanger Abbey to Derbyshire. Then I reached Mansfield Park and school and kindy started, dragging me back into the real world. A week went by before I even took Mansfield Park off the shelf and, when I finally did, I was distracted by all the other things I should be doing with my time. Then inspiration struck! My Dad had told me about an app he downloaded to read some of the classics via audio books. I was reluctant; how could an audio version compare to the real thing? But I was time poor and keen to keep my reading memento going so I thought the least I could do was check out the apps store. Before long I discovered numerous reading apps and lots of them were free. Frugal me was jumping for joy! I downloaded Audiobooks for my iPad and opted for LibriVox for my android {both of these can be found in apps stores but please check copyright restrictions before downloading}. Both apps had the ability to skip through chapters and Audiobooks had my favourite feature of being able to increase the speed of the reading.

The Audio Bookworm via {In Our Gumboots}

After reading {aka listening to} the first chapter of Mansfield Park I was hooked! Not only could I listen to the story while I cooked dinner, folded laundry and cleaned the house but I actually enjoyed the story on a whole new level. Plus, pottering around the garden while listening to a British accent describing the grounds of Mr Rushworth’s estate was quiet entertaining! My prejudice about audio books completely disappeared. Granted, I still had a hard copy of Mansfield Park on my bedside table and would shift the bookmark as I went along. I even stopped to read a couple of chapters to make sure I wasn’t missing out on the experience but overall it was a great way to enjoy the story.

I’m now reading Emma and although I have a little more time freed up, I’m still alternating between the hard copy and audio version. It gives me the opportunity to continue the adventure while completing everyday tasks that I can do in autopilot. Not to mention to continue listening to the story during the 22km round trip to school each day! With a set of earplugs handy, the kids can enjoy Taylor Swift, Justine Clark or endless Sophia ballads while I listen to a few more chapters!

So if you’re a busy parent, or just busy in general, and would love to reignite your passion for reading, I’d strongly recommend audio books. True, they don’t offer the same experience as reading a creaky hardcover or new paperback; but if you can still benefit from getting lost in another world while you mechanically fold mountain loads of laundry… it can’t be that bad!

Have you ever tried an audio version of a book? I’d love to hear about your favourite apps for enjoying novels!

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4 thoughts on “The Audio-Bookworm

  1. I have recently discovered the amazing App… “Borrow Box”. It enables you to log on with your library card to your library’s audio collection, and then access their audio books from the catalogue! Amazing! At first I downloaded the books to my iPad, but then, like you, I found I could do boring household chores, listening to novels! I could iron and listen to Austen! I could blow dry my hair and listen to a contemporary novel…so I now download books to my phone. Apparently, if you are listening to a book and you get into your car, if you have blue-tooth, the audio book will ‘switch’ to your car speakers!!! (My car does not have blu-tooth) I believe you can also download children’s books for free as well. x

    Sarah-Jane

    P.S. I too, am an avid Austen fan. Do you belong to the JASA? …The Jane Austen Society of Australia?

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    1. Oooh! I’ll have to check out the app. Thanks Sarah-Jane, you’ve potentially opened up a whole new world of audio books for me! They are what get me through the hours of housework! 😉
      Oh wow *insert little girly squeal*! I hadn’t heard of the JASA! I can’t believe that completely escaped my attention! Haha, you can probably guess where I’m headed next! 😀 Thanks!

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