My commute for the past four years has been at least an hour each way. Some days, it can honestly be two hours if traffic is terrible. Prior to that, I lived in Oklahoma and it took about 30 minutes to get everywhere in town, no matter where you were coming from or where you were going. But here in Atlanta, you should just settle in.
For the first year or more, I decided that radio stations were the way to go, as had always been the case for me. But I quickly learned that the bigger city of Atlanta did not translate to more music I wanted to listen to. It mostly translated to, in my opinion, more of the same. After a while I tried talk radio. And that worked for a while. I found I was getting some new information; however the information I was getting was only occasionally on a topic I was interesting in learning more about. Then, I thought I’d try satellite radio. For a few weeks it was a blast listening to old tunes from the 80’s and 90’s; however, as the days went on, I found myself bored yet again. Then, after chatting with a colleague, I came to realize that audiobooks were a possibility. Ten or more years ago, I happened upon a radio broadcast on a cross-country trip where an audioplay was being broadcast. I remember being drawn in by that experience, and feeling almost exactly like you feel when you curl up with a good book. Now, I can’t tell you the last time I had a chance to curl up with a good book. Not with twin preschoolers at home! So, I decided audiobooks might be interesting for me.
So, I started investigating options for audiobooks. Here’s what I found:
- The Library – I like to try free options before I commit to any monthly fee or per-book costs. What I found was that the Georgia Public Library uses a system called OverDrive that allows residents with library cards to check out audiobooks online, for FREE. So, I went to the library, got myself a library card (hadn’t had one of those since I was 12 I think!) and used the instructions to download the Overdrive app on my phone. A neat bonus is that there are no late charges! When the designated check-out period has ended, the book is simply removed with the push of a button, and that’s that.
- Audible – I signed up with Audible and have been satisfied with the experience. They typically offer one free month of service, and that gets you one free book. Then, each month after that you pay a fee which covers one book per month. If you want to read more, you pay more.
So far, between Audible and the library, I’ve read more than 60 books in the past 12 months! I know, that sounds crazy. But between elliptical time and commute time, it seems to fly by. And I’ve found that I can get by with one audible book per month and supplement with the library. That says quite a bit about the lending selection, because I only check out the nonfiction titles, and in my experience those are typically more limited than the fiction book selection.
I haven’t checked out other options, but it seems that these two can get you pretty far. If you have a long commute on the train or in your car, consider audiobooks. I feel smarter this year than I did last year, and I’m rarely frustrated by my commute anymore. It’s sort of like free college, without the tests!