Sunday, May 2, 2010

READING WHILE DRIVING, WHILE WALKING, WHILE CLEANING THE TOILET: how a dyslexic can get through 6 books a week.

I am, at times, asked how I have time to read all the books I do. The answer is two-fold:

#1 – My priorities are skewed. Many of those asking, find that taking care of a household and family and having social life should precede the siren’s call of the unread page. I on the other hand will allow all sorts of duties to be neglected in order to satisfy my compulsion to see what happens next, in whatever plot I am presently enmeshed in.

#2 –Two words - Audio Books. I don’t technically read every book I check-off on my Goodreads bookshelf. Many are books brought to me by the good people at Recorded Books (the one company that I'd beg for a government bailout of, if they were about to go under), Listening Library, Full Cast Audio, or other kind, talented, and enterprising folks in the business of transferring print to the versatile commodity of sound waves.

Most of my close acquaintances are aware that the process of reading was not an easy thing for me to master. I have come to terms with the truth that I will never be the person who can sit down and knock off a 200 page book in the time it takes to wait through a dentist visit. What takes many of my reading friends, and indeed many of my students, a mere moment in an evening to read through, will take me two or three times as long. This, however, does not stop me from forever weighing down my purse with my current book, along with a backup; in the event I might need to kill time in a waiting room, movie theater, or grocery store queue.
Long ago I discovered the best way to keep my brain entertained while about menial tasks was to engage the old neurons with audio books. This also has the added benefit of increasing my total pages read. From the time I first drove a car with a cassette player in the console, having an audio book in the vehicle has been as necessary as having an adequate amount of oil surging about the engine. Back in the days when I lived more in the adult reading world, the cases rattling between my mini-van seats were likely to be:  Dick Francis being read by the precise Simon Prebble, Jan Karon's Mitford in the folksy, warm relaxed voice of John McDonough, and the unsurpassible Barbara Rosenblat doing Sharyn McCrumb, Diane Mott Davidson, Mrs. Pollifax and of course Amelia Peabody.

Now that my reading selections have permanently regressed to pleasing my inner twelve-year-old, I find no shortage of fabulous audio selections at my disposal. Having a conveyor-belt feed of audio material, continually moving my direction by way of my county library card, insures that I am armed and ready for the most mundane or daunting tasks. I have gladly run errands with Charlotte Doyle on the high Seas. I have taken my morning constitutional with Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy melding my Rocky Mountain sunrises with crisp New England air. I’ve mowed acres with Jim Dale and the Hogwarts’ gang. Shoveled snow frenetically with Joey Pigza. I even gathered the courage to climb to the roof line and clean the frightful gutters with the help of Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching and Nac Mac Feegles.

Since SLJ's Battle of the Kids Books and Fuse #8's 100 top Children's Novels have announced their champions I've been suffering serious book related competition withdrawal.  I've mention before on this blog my unhealthy obsession with countdowns and lists.  We will overlook what that says about my psyche at this time, and dive into yet another best-of list.  The Recorded Books K-12 blog,  is compiling a Top 20 Children's Audio Book List.  It's like the blogging world is either conspiring to make all my dreams come true, or is holding some heinous addiction symposium geared to suck me away from any sort of productive life  Regardless I am hooked and am furiously compiling my own submission, which I hope to post at this location as soon as possible.

What’s that you say?

The garage needs cleaning?

 Don’t mind if I do!

Come along Matilda, Harriet, and Gilly - let’s get crackin’.


  1. I love your post! I definitely would rather read than clean and yesterday, my discman wore out in the middle of a book (on a Sunday in a Blue Law county)! I got twitchy - definite withdrawal and my husband didn't recognize me without earplugs and a faraway look to my eyes.


  2. "Hey hon! You know, I was thinking that we should go... Oh! Right. Earbuds. You can't hear me."

    I love you - even with an mp3 player tucked away in your cleavage (wink).


  3. If we ever need a government bailout, I'm calling you to get the ball rolling! :)