In my mind audiobooks are one of the most valuable resources in the library. And it's not because I don't like reading or don't appreciate the movies and music we provide access to. For me audiobooks are a way to keep up with the books that I don't have time to read and to motivate me to do chores.
There are as many different kinds of audiobooks as there are books. With people busier than ever (or so it seems) and all the great books there are out there for us to read it seems nearly impossible to keep up. Audiobooks are a great way of multitasking without feeling like you're multitasking, and being entertained at the same time. And so as we spend more time in transit (and bored silly) or just trying to get everything done, audiobooks help to keep our minds occupied.
There are a variety of formats for audiobooks, they come in cassettes (yes we still have them), compact discs, and now MP3s. We should also note that audiobooks aren't always books, we have some radio programs and language courses available as well, but it is easiest to refer to all of these spoken word recordings as audiobooks. It seems like everyone uses audiobooks for different reasons and so I'd like to highlight a few of the uses I know of.
Because I've already mentioned them, I'll address the audiobook as cleaning aide first. I don't enjoy doing the dishes and could take or leave ironing. So when I have a stack of things I need to do I pop on a book I've been meaning to read. Suddenly the chores don't seem so onerous and time flies by – this is particularly useful if you need to tidy a child's room or get them to.
When a million things are running through your mind and you just can't seem to settle down an audiobook can help you on your way to sleep. The only difficulty here is remembering where you were in the book the next time you listen to it.
A long car trip is made much more enjoyable by the inclusion of a good story. Depending on the people in the vehicle you can listen to fiction or non-fiction, children's or adult books. Some of the children's books will also be enjoyable for the adults. Books like Airborn by Kenneth Oppel and Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books are great family listening.
If exercising is something you do because you should and not because you truly enjoy it or you find your mind needs some stimulation you may also want to try an audiobook. It's a great use of time to catch up on your reading and exercise at the same time. Try a travelogue or humourous short stories – they make you laugh as you sweat!
Arts and Crafts
I'm including all arts and crafts here, whether you enjoy woodcraft or knitting, painting or sculpture an audiobook can keep you company. While there are times when it is not advisable (i.e. when using a radial arm saw) the story can be good company and in this case you're getting to do two fun things at once.
Some suggested titles:
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Vinyl Cafe Stories by Stuart McLean
Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky
Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
The Beach House by James Patterson
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, Children's and Youth Librarian