Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Making Long Car Trips Bearable: The Joy of Listening to Audio Books (Jody Casella)

My to-be-read list is out of control.

It's an obsession, some (my husband) might call it a sickness--this collecting and stacking and shifting of books around our house. I buy books. I check books out of the library. People give me books. All of these books find their way into piles.

Beside my bed...

On the coffee table...

And the grand daddy of book stacks in my office...

Typically, I read ten books per month, which hardly makes a dent in any of these stacks when you consider that every week I am hauling more books into my home.

But lately, I have been way off my 10-books-per-month habit. First, I was working like a lunatic on a revision. I had a totally self-imposed deadline: I wanted to reach the end of this particular version of my WIP before I went out of town. For six weeks I did not take a day off, and most of those days, I was writing until 9 or 10 at night. Some days I didn't even know what day it was. I'm not lying.

For example, one day I thought for the entire day that it was a Thursday, and when my husband mentioned that it was Friday, I didn't believe him. I actually thought he was Gaslighting me, and he had to point at the date on my laptop screen to convince me of the truth.

My brain on revision can't handle much reading is what I am saying.

I've also been traveling my butt off to promote my book Thin Space. I've logged almost 1000 miles driving alone, and recently, with my mother as a passenger, I headed to CT and MA to do a few school and library and bookstore visits, adding another 1200 miles to the odometer.

Something I have discovered during this mushy-brained/intense travel-schedule period is how much I enjoy listening to audio books.

If you haven't given audio books a whirl, let me tell you, you are in for an experience. These are full-blown performances, an art form in and of themselves, complete with various voices and music and sound effects. Often, I will get to a certain point in an audio book, run out of road for listening, check the book out of the library to finish the remaining pages, and find myself reading the book with the actor's or actress's voice in my head.

Some great ones I've recently sampled:

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Jeez, this one about killed me on a trip back and forth to Lexington KY. There is a dog character in this book--probably the BEST dog character I have ever read. I won't tell you what happens to him, but JEEZ. Like the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones, I am still not over it.)

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (this one made me cry like a blubbery baby on the road home from a book festival.)

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (I drove the length of North Carolina under threat of snow, safely cocooned under the spell of the delicious writing of Stiefvater.)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. As you'd expect from these two YA masters, this book is both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Also, it possibly kept my mother and me from strangling each other during our 8 day, intense mother/daughter, 1200+ road trip. So it has that going for it, too.


  1. Jody, I'm a huge fan of audio books, too! I'm back and forth to NYC a lot (4 hours each way), and the time goes by so quickly while listening to a good novel. Lately I've had Camilla Lackberg's Swedish mysteries as traveling companions.

  2. Nancy, I haven't heard of those. I will have to check them out. Thanks!

  3. I've really got to give audio books a whirl.