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Audiobooks: The Commuter's Cure

It’s Tuesday, which means we’re back in the swing of the work week! I commute a total of about 90 minutes each work day and I’m not going to lie, it’s not awesome. I love where I work and I like where I live, I just wish they were the same place. Because of lots of basic adult reasons that are too boring to discuss here, we’re not going to move anytime soon, so I’ve learned to make the best of my commute.

As far as commutes go, mine is far from the worst. There’s very little traffic and lots of lovely country scenery, but driving isn’t my favorite. In fact, research shows that most people don’t love commuting and that it’s less enjoyable than house chores. Basically, commuting is boring. But one way I make it not boring - maybe even somewhat enjoyable - is audiobooks.

Reading is my oldest hobby and favorite pastime. I love that audiobooks allow me to read while driving, doing laundry, or washing dishes. Audiobooks have made many boring tasks better, and for me it really is the cure for commuting. I also love that audiobooks can offer a totally different experience than physically reading a book.

I’ve been using audible since early 2015 and have listened to lots of great books, but three stand out as my favorite books on audio.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

This memoir about a botanist is one of my favorite books so far this year. It’s interesting, honest, and unexpected. Jahren narrates this book herself, which I thought added so much to the experience. She reads with such emotion and her passion for her work is contagious. I loved this book, and I think listening to it rather than reading a paperback added a lot to my experience.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I heard from several people that this book was hard to get into while reading it on paper, but the audiobook got them through. I went straight for the audio version, and Ove was one of my favorite books that I read in 2016. George Newbern was a great narrator for this story. He captured the emotion of each scene perfectly. I was really unsure about this story the first few chapters, but once I got into it I couldn’t stop listening. I laughed and cried, and ended up really loving this book in a way I don’t think would have been possible had I not had the audio.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I’ve both listened to this book and read it on paper. I thoroughly enjoyed both, but I’m glad I listened to the audio first. By the end of the book I felt like my morning commutes were me and Gretchen having coffee and chatting. This was the audiobook that made me really commit to audio. Gretchen’s cheery voice and honest writing pair well together, and I appreciate that she narrates herself. Her latest book, The Four Tendencies, is out TODAY! You better believe I’m listening on my way to work!

Questions: Do you have a commute? What do you do to pass the time in the car? Do you listen to audiobooks in the car or elsewhere?

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