The drive from my home in Central Oregon to the Emerald City Writers' Conference in Seattle is 7-8 hours each way. Even broken up with a pit-stop in Salem to see my parents, that's a helluva long time to be in the car with nothing to amuse me but the occasional glimpse of a passing motorist picking his nose.
This is where audiobooks come in handy. Pythagoras and I first borrowed one from the library about ten years ago on a drive to Nevada where traffic is so sparse we didn't even have nose pickers to amuse us. We listened to James Patterson's KISS THE GIRLS and cracked up every time the narrator dramatically growled "tick-cock."
Since Pythagoras' daily commute is less than two miles and mine is a flight of stairs down to my writing computer, we don't really listen to audiobooks during the week. Still, they do come in handy. Two years ago, Pythagoras accepted a temporary job in a town 2.5 hours away. We spent 10 months living in different places and visiting each other on weekends (a lovely way to celebrate your 10th year of marriage).
I credit audiobooks not only with keeping us sane on many late-night drives, but also with exposing me to books I might not have read otherwise. I was curious about Barbara Kingsolver's ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE (a memoir of a year spent deliberately eating only food produced in their town) but knew it was one of those books that would never rise to the top of my to-be-read pile. I found it on audiobook and spent several memorable car trips pretending Barbara was sitting there in the passenger seat sharing my bag of Doritos and reading me her story.
For this trip to the Emerald City conference, I've loaded my iPhone with several selections to make the miles pass quickly. It's got me wondering whether my books will ever be done in audio format. I looked at my contract this morning just to see if it's mentioned, but I got bored reading and only managed to confirm that the phrase "audio rights" is indeed in there (along with about 8 million other words that make me very sleepy).
The very idea blows my mind. I listen to Cynthia Nixon reading the Emily Giffin novel currently in my player and think, "could she someday be reading the Strip Battleship scene from MAKING WAVES?"
Probably not, but the thought amuses me even more than the nose picking thing.
Do you enjoy audiobooks? If so, are there certain books you'll listen to while reserving others for reading yourself? How do you think it changes things to listen to a book instead of reading it yourself? Please share.
I'm busy cracking up at the thought of Cynthia Nixon uttering the line "Oh baby! I want to rub your cheese doodle 'til my hands turn orange!"