Some people might not consider listening to audio books reading but I disagree, though that might partially be because discounting books on tape, CD, and smartphone would discount much of my reading history and many of my favorite books. I’ve been listening to audio books almost as long as I have been reading physical books (longer, if you count my parents reading to me), and I think that if you added up all the time I’ve spent listening in the car, it would probably surpass the time I’ve spent reading anywhere else, including somewhere as generic as “my bed.”
Listening to books in the car has sustained me, from long hours in the backseat as a child to equally long hours behind the wheel on the way to and from college. The lure of the story has kept me focused and alert, rescued me from the tedium and monotony of a drive done a thousand times, given me something to look forward to as I climb behind the wheel.
Once or twice a month in college, I’d drive three hours to visit my boyfriend at his school. I’d stay the weekend with him and then head back Sunday night. The drive there was always fun—I’d sing along to my favorite music and get excited for the weekend ahead—but the return trip was miserable. Not only would I be super bummed to be leaving my boyfriend behind (long distance relationships are just great), I’d also usually be looking forward to writing that nice big essay I’d been putting off for two weeks. So instead of thinking about any of that, I listened to Terry Pratchett and ate salt and vinegar potato chips. It was great. Well, no, it wasn’t great. But it was a lot greater than it would have been, and for that I am eternally grateful—to Terry Pratchett, to salt and vinegar and potatoes, and to my lovely Subaru and its speaker system.