I use audiobooks to help me get through the hateful hour that is exercise, and I have specific criteria for what kinds of books I’m allowed to listen to:

  • Must not be boring
  • Must not be too good
  • Must not be funny
  • Must not be action thing with male narrator

Boring is self-explanatory–Audiobooks are supposed to take my mind off the suffering of my muscular & circulatory systems and boring is not much help.

But too good? Well, yes. I like stories and all that, but what I like best is reading. I read much faster than I can listen. I can see the arrangement of the words on the page-and I can see more than one at a time. Listening is more linear than reading, and it is uni-directional: this word followed by that word followed by that one. If I want to have a personal experience with a word or a phrase or an image while I’m listening, sure I can go off and think about that for a while, but then I’ve missed the next two paragraphs. If a book is really good, I don’t want to waste it on listening.

Too funny? If I laugh, I get weak, and fall off the rowing machine.

Narrators? That’s the next post.