Sunday, February 14, 2010

Books on tape

Shifter here, back from the dead, or the overwhelmed, at any rate. Back until I'm overwhelmed again.

One of the things that has gotten me through the last few weeks has been the discovery of something that every one else discovered about 15 years ago. Books on tape. Well, book on tape anyway. A long time ago, a friend of mine, who cowrites this blog, got me the first Harry Potter on CD. Well, got it for my wife, who was on bedrest at the time, and who could have used it. Except that my wife didn't end up using it, and I ended up shelving it many years. But then a month ago I popped it in the car while driving my daughters, both of whom are Harry Potter fanatics, around town. They loved it, of course, and I just kind of ended up leaving it in the car as I was driving elsewhere. At first it kind of annoyed me hearing someone else's voice reading what my own inner voice had always read, but after a while I got over it and just started to enjoy the story. And then I found that listening to the book on CD was not only not that bad, it was better than listening to 90% of the things I could find on the radio. And the only things better than it, all on NPR, tended to be things that stress me out (such as news and politics). Whereas the book did not, not even a bit. What's more, the book is distracting. So distracting that I can drive through snowstorm traffic jams, which I can't even describe if you haven't been in a few, without feeling my blood pressure increase exponentially as a function of time. So here I've got an engaging story, that takes my mind off things, and lets me negotiate Frozen North traffic without risk of myocardial infarction! Bloody brilliant, I tell ya. I listened to the whole book twice.

So now I'm on Good Omens, a personal favorite of mine, and I'm getting over the same discomfort of hearing another person reading it outloud instead of myself reading it in my head and starting to enjoy it as well.

So turns out they had some good ideas 20 years ago. Who know?

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