Listening to Books

Reading in bed is challenging. Getting comfortable, not having the light shine in my spouse’s eyes, using a light that goes around my neck works yet, by the time I am settled in bed I am usually too tired to read. While I may be tired, it is often awhile before I can fall asleep. Electronic books are unappealing to me and it is my understanding that the light from our electronics is unconducive to sleep.

Physical books always accompany me when I travel. I’ve carried bulky library books to Europe. I read on the plane and during some downtime at the hotel. But listening to books seems like a viable solution when a physical book is somewhat impractical and besides, I am almost always up for trying something new.

When our children were growing up, I had stories on cassette tapes for them but I just never thought about listening to books for myself. In my writer’s groups, authors talk about putting their stories on audio. My husband gave me wonderful, noise canceling headphones for Christmas. So, now the idea of finding out how to listen to books is very appealing.

I asked and found that Libby and Hoopla are free and connected with libraries. Google led me to instructions as how to put Libby on my tablet. My electrical engineer husband is always interested in new gadgets and electronical ways to doing something. He put Hoopla on my tablet and when he saw what is available said that he might actually have to get his own library card.

Being able to listen to books seems like an easy goal – nothing is easy. I wrongly assumed that audio books would be available to me instantaneously. Not on Libby.  Those books are just like physical books with only a single copy being lent at a time so that the waiting list can be many weeks. My brilliant husband thought to search: what’s available now. I also realized that nonfiction is much more available than fiction. I now have two audio biographies checked out on Libby!

However, I was told Hoopla is immediately available. Score! Not necessarily. While there are thousands of audio books available the number lent each day is limited on Hoopla.

First try proved a dud. Nothing was available. Husband and I start our day early. I feed the dogs. I enjoy my coffee in front of the fire he has built. It was very frustrating to have the books all lent out for the day when I finally thought to check by 8AM.

So, the next morning I am awake a bit after 5:00 and realize I could get up and try Hoopla much earlier! In the bathroom I reach for my daily thyroid medication and big sigh, drop my pill on the floor. I don’t have my glasses. There’s a knock on the door.

“Yes, you can have the bathroom and please find my pill. It’s on the floor somewhere.” Husband was curious about what I was doing. “Thought I’d just go back to bed but I found your pill and put it back in the bottle. Want me to help you with that?”

“Yes please. This is too hard before coffee and the dogs want to be fed.”

Success! I checked out an audio book on the super interesting Kathern Hepburn’s last dozen years or so before she became a recluse in her 90’s. I have read about her early life but this was different. I tried for another title and BEFORE 6AM was told that the library had reached its daily limit and would reset at midnight. Grrrrrrrr…..

Husband asked google about this and found out not only check Hoopla early but when school is not in session. Oh, the schools are getting the whole library limit early on each school day.

It’s 6AM Saturday. I don’t drop my pill. I feed the dogs. I make coffee. Happily, I reach my own personal limit for checking out audio books on Hoopla for this month! The short Kathern Hepburn book was such an enjoyable listen.  Listening to the book was much more intimate. This was like being together with the person who spent time with her telling me interesting stories of their lunches, conversations and outings together. The whole experience is so different than reading a book.

What sticks with me is the author recounting after they saw a play together, he is telling Kate goodnight and thanking her for the outing.  Kathern Hepburn replies, “No. Thank you. All I did was pay. You gave me your day.”

Wow – articulating the pricelessness of our time. Thank you, dear reader, for your precious time here. What do you like to read? Do you listen to books? Might you now?

“The most precious gift we can give one another is letting them know they matter.”  Julie A R Stephens

Living in the Mountains

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6 thoughts on “Listening to Books”

  1. I enjoy fiction and non fiction. I’m reading a memoir currently. I’ve listened to books on tape on one road trip, when I learned that Cracker Barrel restaurants let you check out books on tape. One turns the finished book back in at the next CB restaurant or upon returning home. All that to say, most cars don’t have cassette players anymore. ☺️

    1. I too enjoy both fiction and non-fiction. It’s just that non-fiction seems more easily available on Libby. I was able to get both on Hoopla this morning! I so enjoyed Bruce and my trip to Paris! I look for fiction / novels set in Paris. What a good PR idea Cracker Barrel! Neither Bruce nor I even knew about Cracker Barrel before his folks started going there and suggesting we meet them there. I think this was when our kids were teenagers.

  2. I feel this – audiobooks are the only way I ever read anymore. I just can’t keep my eyes open at bedtime, and I can’t focus if I’m able to carve out a bit of time during the day. But I can listen to audiobooks while I clean or hold my baby or drive!

  3. I love fantasy and science-fiction the most, but I also love biographies about people I admire, such as Katherine Hepburn. I am a voracious reader, and like you, I never wanted electronic books, would rather lug a real one around with me. I’ve thought of the audio books; they’re offered at our library, but I like the solace of having the characters in the books all to myself, to imagine their voices and inflections.

    1. As a child I loved fairy tales, Little Women, The Diary of Anne Frank, Helen Keller – all that still holds true today – wish there were more ‘fairytales’ for grown-ups…a good story is a good story real or imagined! Thanks for dropping by Kamurrah! Happy reading!

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