The Pros and Cons of Commute Audiobooks

April 25, 2017 at 12:17 pm Leave a comment

In preparation for a short roadtrip, I recently went to the library and got Amy Poehler’s Yes Please on CD. The day before the roadtrip was a bad news day and I didn’t want to be bombarded with it on NPR, so I popped the CD in and started the first of many days’ commutes with Amy Poehler.

For some reason, listening to audiobooks on my car ride to work has become addictive. It’s a nice way to start the day — a chapter here, a section there — and it is the closest I’ve come to replicating my former (and much-missed) practice of reading on the subway to work when I lived in New York.

But I’ve already realized there are pros and cons to this habit. The biggest and most obvious con is that I’m significantly less well-informed about the news of the day.

Unlike in New York, I pass no newsstands or AMNY hawkers on my drive or bike ride to work. Unlike in New York, I don’t see any news tickers wrapped around buildings and I am not faced with my fellow citizens reading a newspaper two inches from my face in a crowded subway car.

Without these reminders and without my morning NPR fix, I can spend an entire day oblivious to what’s happened anywhere outside of my office. And after only a few days of audiobooks on my commute, I already feel weirdly disconnected from the world around me.

But what about the positives of this new habit? Well, for one thing, I’m picking up reading time that I was heretofore missing. Reading on my commute was the single-biggest chunk of time I devoted to my favorite hobby when I lived in New York. Without that fair city’s public transit system, I don’t have that dedicated book-time anymore. I have to dig out other time to read and, honestly, my reading has suffered for it.

Listening to an audiobook on my car-commute has given me back that book-time. What a gift!

Another pro might be really Yes Please-specific. I would never read the book form of Yes Please. You can read the disappointed New York Times review to see why, but basically, it isn’t a terribly good book. If I were reading an actual codex, I would have set it aside long ago.

But the audiobook version of Yes Please? It’s a totally different animal. Read by Amy Poehler herself with various guest stars (the best of which is Seth Meyers), the audiobook of Yes Please is chipper and entertaining. Poehler is unequivocally engaging: she has a great voice and it’s plain old fun to listen to her.

Once I finish Yes Please, I think I’ll go back to my NPR commute ways. But this foray into audiobooks has made me think about other times I could pick up some book-time thanks to the humble book on CD. Maybe while making dinner or baking. Or folding laundry. Or drawing. What a great realization! Thanks, Yes Please!

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Entry filed under: Memoir/Autobiography. Tags: , , , .

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