I LOVE books.
I really enjoy being told a story, true life or otherwise, over an extended period of time. And that’s my problem. I’m usually so busy that it takes me months to finish a book, if at all.
My bookcase is littered with dozens of hardbacks and paperbacks with the telltale bookmark indicating that I made it part way before losing interest, being distracted or starting a new one.
I have great memories from my backpacking era where I would demolish a novel in a day whilst driving across Africa or the Middle East in the back of a truck. Those times are over for now.
Rather than continue this trend which would inevitably result in the transformation of my house into Gould’s Book Arcade, I have recently experimented with audio books and the results so far have been very satisfying.
Previously, audio books were the domain of those with poor eyesight, and they were so expensive that the library was the only place to access them. They are still reasonably pricey but I’ve discovered that a subscription with audible.com can make audio books affordable.
Audible.com is an offshoot of amazon.com and just like its mother ship store has over 100,000 titles on offer.
From classics to the latest releases, it’s not difficult to find something that will float your boat.
You’ll find many titles are read by well known actors, with plenty read by the author especially in the autobiography section.
The subscription fee is around $15 a month and for that you get one credit which equals one book download. Without a subscription, books vary in price from $5 to $40. There are also regular sales which allow you to buy discounted extra credits.
Downloading a book is easy via the iPhone app (android also available) or the website to your PC and soon you’ll be enjoying a book in no time.
Speaking of time, that’s exactly what I have relished with audio books. I don’t have to be holding a book in my hands to enjoy a good tale.
I just press play and listen in as I do my housework, get ready for work or drive. I’m actually finishing books.
I’m currently two thirds through the 24 hour long unabridged version of Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger, read by Terra Nova actor Stephen Lang with the odd chapter garbled by the author himself.
Arnold has certainly lived an extraordinary life so far. From his manufacture in the Cyberdyne Systems robot factory in 1947 to becoming the 38th governor of California, the Austrian Oak is one driven individual. Whether it is finance, body building or attempting to act, nothing will stop the Governator.
Mind you, like all autobiographies, everything is viewed through rose coloured glasses. For instance, Arnold fails to mention that Danny DeVito is his twin brother.
I’m proud to say that two virtual books sit on my virtual bookshelf without a virtual bookmark.
The creator, writer and star of comedy classic 30 Rock, Tina Fey, narrates her own life story, Bossypants, which I completed in a very manageable five hours. She is quite possibly the funniest women on the planet right now so I do not recommend listening to this book with headphones on public transport.
My favourite movie critic Mark Kermode narrates his eight-hour examination of what is wrong with modern cinema in The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex. He has very similar sensibilities to me so this book comes highly recommended for cinephiles that hate 3D, detest trapped seating and love The Exorcist.
If you love books but have no time to read, then audible.com is a great way to enjoy the latest and greatest from the literary world. Actually, if you have no time to read, you are unlikely to be reading this column.
Do me a favour. If you know someone who loves books but has no time to read but might love audio books, narrate this column to them. Thanks.