Which is why I just signed up for Audible.com at the beginning of the summer, while the rest of y'all did this years ago. And can I just tell you? It is changing my life. Or at least the way I read.
I'm a mom of three elementary-aged kids, which means basically that I am a professional taxi driver. I've also had a job where I worked 20 to 30 hours a week on average. Add to that I'm a girl who needs 8-9 hours of sleep each night to minimally function, and let's just say my reading time has gone way down hill since my kids gave up napping at age 2.
Audible.com is amazing. Because now I can read while I exercise, while I do the laundry or the dishes, while I drive yet another leg of carpool, while I lay in bed with my eyes closed ready to fall asleep.
This makes me happy because I love reading. But the necessities of my life have prevented much it. (Save my once a year beach trip week, where I do nothing but sit in a chair with my feet in the sand and read book after book after book). (Listening to audiobooks also counts for my library summer reading program, for which I can earn fine waivers for all the times I'm late returning the hardback books I checked out but never actually read. Winning!)
My first listen was Brené Brown's Rising Strong. I actually own this book in hardcover, and as much as I love all her other books, I just couldn't get into reading this one. But I downloaded it on Audible for one last go. And guess what...it stuck! I love Brené Brown's personality and listening to her read her stories in Rising Strong was so much more compelling than reading them myself. If you're a fan of her work like I am, but RS isn't doing anything for you, try listening to it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Next was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Big Magic is one of those books I saw everybody on the inter-webs talking about, including Brené Brown. I enjoyed reading Gilbert's memoir Eat, Pray, Love, so I was open to reading more of her work. Over the last couple of years I have been trying to embrace more of my creative side with writing and art, and so a book on creativity seemed like a good idea. So, Big Magic it was.
I liked Big Magic a lot. I felt inspired, and found Elizabeth Gilbert really funny. It made me feel brave and more confident to get myself out there with my creativity. Some of it was a little weird, but I'm a yoga teacher, so I'm OK with weird. If you want to boost your imagination, read Big Magic.
I fell in love with social science my sophomore year of college, under the guidance of a wonderfully wacky professor named Arlene Eskilson. It's this love of social science that led me to Malcolm Gladwell a few years back. I hadn't read David and Goliath, one of his newer books, yet. This book is a fascinating look at why underdogs are not always what they seem and why sometimes those who are least likely to prevail actually are most likely to prevail. I'll just say, it was an interesting read during the primary campaign season. 😳 I enjoyed it a good bit, and will be listening to more Malcolm Gladwell in the near future.
Next up was Jen Hatmaker's For The Love. Y'all, Jen Hatmaker is funny. F-U-N-N-Y. I saw her speak at a conference a couple of years back and I honestly appreciated her comedy every bit as much as I appreciated her profound things to say about Jesus. With Jen Hatmaker, it's a both/and.
This book felt a little stream of consciousness or like a collection of personal essays or maybe some blog posts. I loved it. I laughed, cried, felt seen and known as a mom, and was convicted as a follower of Jesus. Jen Hatmaker can do it all. Also, you also get a few recipes. What more could you want?
Now I am listening to The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. Anyone I know who teaches trauma-informed yoga says it's a must read. So far (about 3 hours into a 16 hour book), it's been a history of van der Kolk's career history working with people who have experienced trauma. Listening to his journey is fascinating, as is hearing how it parallels our growing cultural consciousness of trauma and its effects. I have to listen in small doses or else I get a bit overwhelmed. But I am glad to be learning.
As I was in the middle of writing this post, I caught this from CNN in my Twitter feed: "Relax, readers: Audiobooks aren't 'cheating,'" Yes. For me, for now, this is how I can nurture my love of books and reading. Thank you, Audible.com. Thank you, thank you, thank you.