Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Re-Claiming My Time For Books

Before I became a mother, I could sit down and spend several hours at a stretch devouring a good book if I felt like it.  Sometimes I would just spend all day reading a really intriguing story from cover to cover.  Well, after my son was born, between work, school, and mothering, there just wasn't really any room left for books that weren't required school reading.  I love being a mother, and I truly do love being busy (most of the time), but I don't like not having time for books.  I am a book worm, no doubt about it, and not having time to read a good book or so every week, left me feeling like something was lacking in my life.  If I don't have books in my life then I just don't feel like ME.  I am so thankful that my husband and I discovered a solution to this problem- Books on CD.  I am not sure why, but I used to think that Books on CD were for old people.  Now, I have no embarrassment at all in checking out Books on CD at my local library because they are pretty much the only way that I am able to work in "reading" time.  

Whenever  I clean, do dishes, cook, or travel anywhere, I am usually listening to a book on CD.  Not only does it satisfy that need in me to read and learn new things, but it really helps to make not so enjoyable tasks (like doing the dishes) more bearable.  My husband has to drive about 40 minutes to work each way and listening to Books on CD make his ride go a lot quicker.  

My local library is really small and has a very limited supply of Books recorded onto CD, but they partner with a number of area libraries which allows me to get almost any Book I would like, in CD form if I "order" it through my libraries online program.  My library's system makes it really easy to find Books on CD because you can sort book results by "nonmusical sound recordings" to only bring up those that are recorded in CD format.  Most popular books have been recorded onto CD format, so there are tons of choices out there- just be really careful to always put the CD's back into their case when you change them out.  You don't want to lose one- the replacement costs for a complete book on CD can range from $35 to $50+!    

Sometimes Books on CD are read by someone who truly does just read the book, and sometimes they are more of a performance- the reader does different voices and there are sound effects.   If you start to listen to Books on CD, you will find that some readers are much better than others and you may find a favorite (it really can make all the difference in how enjoyable it is to listen to).  One of my husband and my favorites is Jim Dale- he reads all the Harry Potter books and has won awards for his "performances".  
I probably would not encourage young children to "listen" to very much of their reading, as I think that it is important for them in developing new vocabulary to see the spelling of new words and learn how to properly pronounce them for themselves.  However, I don't see any problem with adults regularly listening to recorded Books.  My library actually has some new options for listening to books.  Some books are recorded onto their own personal listening devices that have ear buds attached to them and they are run by batteries.  I have found though that these little personal book players eat up batteries like crazy- many books will require at least 2-4 batteries to listen to the entire recording.  

I have a small portable CD player that I place in my kitchen while I am cooking and cleaning, but I am thinking about getting a Walkman so that I can get up early and take our dog on walks while listening to a good book- to get in a little extra exercise, as well as a little me time.  Do you listen to Books on CD?  


  1. I wanted to take out some recorded books from our library. I thought they would be perfect for listening to on a long car trip. But our library restricts the use of recorded books to persons who are visually impaired.

  2. That doesn't seem quite fair considering all the other individuals who could benefit from audio books as well. I understand why your library may do this- but anyone who wanted a book or book on CD could always request to have it next if it was checked out by someone else at the time.

  3. We enjoyed books on CD on a long car trip across boring Iowa. My son (4 at the time) loves to listen to stories in the car, but his dad gets carsick reading in a moving car, and I can't read all the time I'm not driving without going hoarse! Better books on CD than a car DVD player, we think.

    I've used two strategies for keeping some reading time as a mom:
    1. Breastfeeding. After the first month, I could hold a book while he was nursing. I kept one in each place in the house where I typically fed him.
    2. Public transit. My son commuted with me every day from age 2 to 5 1/2, so I read to him on the bus and while waiting at stops, and I got to enjoy a lot of my childhood favorites again! Now I walk him to school near home and then read my own books on the bus to work.