Since the invention of smart phones and Bluetooth, it makes sense that the next logical step was for someone to think up a way to provide Audiobooks. What that meant was that people like me, instead of having to turn pages and make the effort to read and understand the words, am able to listen to someone else making that effort for me for which I am very grateful.
Audiobooks are now to me, a great source of pleasure and I listen at every opportunity. I even look forward to working out at the gym every other day so that I can continue with the story of the moment. I put my I-Phone in my pocket and put on a very nice set of Bluetooth earphones and I’m ready. It is not unusual for people to give me strange looks or move to a different piece of equipment further away from me because I have suddenly burst out laughing at something I just heard.
When I bought my new Ford Escape at the start of the year, I knew it had Bluetooth capabilities but did not realize just how good it is. Now,
when I am going anywhere at all, I press a button a female voice answers me and asks what it is I want. Usually,it is one of two things at least when it is something to do with Entertainment. One command is “Bluetooth Audio” at which I get a response and before I know it, my story is on and starts at the exact spot that I previously left off. The other command is for channel 90.5 which brings up the local NPR station with the latest news. Sometimes either I or The Voice gets it wrong and I have since learned the quickest way out of that situation is just to say”Cancel”. It’s a good job that she cannot hear or understand when I vent loudly at her stupidity for not understanding me. Must be my British accent, or what’s left of it as it can’t possibly be me saying the wrong command. One of the reasons I bought the car was for the fuel economy but I am not helping things much as I have taken to driving around a lot more just so I can listen to the Audiobooks, especially if it is a really good story. I stop at Starbuck’s, (another of my bad habits and my only real vice), buy a non fat Latte and off we go. Twenty or so miles later we arrive back home.
I like to think that all of this listening helps to make me a better writer which I honestly believe it does. Listening to writers like Stephen King and Tom Clancy and how they can unwind a story with plot after sub plot to me is absolutely amazing. Just when I think I know where the story is going, it zips off in a totally different direction. I’m afraid that my mind does not work that way. I’m good at reporting things because all I am doing is putting into words what the brain has visualized. To be truly creative, one has to do it the other way around. Maybe I’m not devious enough. I have recently discovered a writer by the name of Janet Evanovich with her main character, Stephanie Plum, who is very amusing in the way she writes. She is the one that made me laugh out loud. I have also just completed a story by Robert Crais called “Suspect” all about a German Shepherd police dog. It was a very gripping story and the ending almost brought me to tears.
The most important people are the storytellers some of whom are very clever and not only use different intonations and inflections in their voice but also manage to imitate some very convincing dialects. How they can remember which voice and or dialect for each character is way beyond my thinking. Then there are some who absolutely spoil the story and a couple so bad that I stopped listening and never did hear the ending. I think that the really good ones do this for a living and are like the story tellers of old that recanted history to the people except they are in modern times with modern equipment and I guess, modern stories (most of the time).
So far, I have resisted the temptation to listen at home but I have been sorely tempted sometimes, especially if there is no soccer to watch on the television. Of course, none of this is free. It is possible to get some of the Classics for free but most of the time, there is usually a fee for the book which sometimes can be pretty expensive. I’m always looking for deals as I search the three or four web sites that provide the service, sites like Audiobooks, Ambling Books and Allbooks. The other cost is to buy enough bandwidth to allow the streaming onto the I-Phone or whatever smart phone you may have.As usual, all of the good things in life are not free whatever else you may have heard.
If my neighbors are ever watching, they will sometimes see me pull up in my driveway, open the garage door and then sit there for ten minutes. What they don’t know is that I am usually at a good part of the story and want to hear how that part plays out before I shut it off. I can’t actually drive into the garage as all of the car alarms are going off warning me that I am too close to the trailer parked there or the wall in front of the car. When the alarms are sounding, the radio automatically mutes hence the driveway routine.
So, when I get to be one of the fittest men on the planet and live to be a ripe old age, I will tell everyone that my secret for longevity is not drinking wine, taking vitamins or eating spinach and walnuts, it’s listening to audiobooks which made the work outs so enjoyable.