How I Started

Maybe it’s because I’m old, but up until about six years ago, the idea of an audiobook made my eyes roll. I’d never been a big reader. It wasn’t something I made time for nor something I remembered my parents doing when I was a child. When people mentioned they listen to an audiobook, I giggled to myself because I thought the idea of listening to a book seemed so elementary (triggering flashbacks to Mrs. Davis’ kindergarten class, circa 1985).

Then I found myself with an eye infection in both eyes that left me unable to read for almost four months. I couldn’t drive or be outside for the first month because of light sensitivity. I couldn’t even put toothpaste on my own toothbrush for goodness sake. There wasn’t a point in watching TV since all I saw was a bright white fog when my eyes were open, but I didn’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself all day. That’s when my husband contacted our local library and my world forever changed.

What Audiobooks I Listened to First

I spent that first month of blindness walking on a treadmill in our basement, listening to each of Jane Austen’s classics. Once I was able to, I moved my walks outside to my neighborhood where I devoured the Bronte sisters, Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, and Charles Dickens. I’d never read the classics before and I was suddenly obsessed. I did eventually expand my audio library to include autobiographies, some great how-to books, cheesy romance novels, and even young-adult fiction, and my world just kept getting bigger and bigger.

Where I am Today

Six years later, my eyes are still a bit tricky. Therefore, I’m not opening a lot of books, but I am still listening to audiobooks each and every day. I listen when I’m getting ready for work in the morning and as I drive anywhere I need to go in the car. When I’m working out, I’m listening. If I can’t sleep at night, I sit and listen. I find audiobooks help me destress when I’m having a particularly stressful day. They allow me to escape to worlds beyond my own reach. I’m inspired to think about history, to focus on current events, and to challenge my own thoughts from time-to-time. They make me laugh, cry, and sometimes, giggle like a schoolgirl (you should see the looks I get at the gym ?).

If you’re missing the opportunity to take some time away from work this month, may I suggest getting a library card from your local library and investing your time and energy in a good audiobook. My library offers it as a free service, so I get the pleasure of ‘reading’ all these books without ever having to pay a dime! Sure, you may miss the smell of the old-fashioned, library book every once and awhile, but you won’t miss out on the adventure that can take you to anywhere you want to go!

Happy listening!

Need reading recommendations? Check out PMG’s Summer Reading List here!

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager