When I was younger I truly read all the time. I read with a torchlight under my blanket when my parents thought I was asleep. I read under the desk in class. I read while walking on the streets. I read during school assemblies with my books half-tucked into my bag. I read while eating. I read while waiting.
Nowadays I can’t read all the time. I treasure my sleep a lot more. I don’t have classes during which I can hide at the back and read. I have better sense than to read and knock into everyone and everything in my path. I thankfully have no school assemblies to attend either. I often have work to do while I eat. I do still read while waiting. Yet with so much less time on my hands than before, I still manage to read a fair number of books every month.
Gaining Time I don’t have to Read
If I add up the hours that I truly have to read per month and measure them against the number of books I read, I must be an ultimate speed reader. An ultimate speed reader though, I am not. I expand my reading time with audiobooks. Say, I get to a really exciting part in my book but I absolutely must do chores X, Y and Z pronto. I can’t hold my books to continue reading while doing chore X. What do I do? I continue with the audiobook. That is how I still manage to read all the time.
Optimising Time I do have to Read
The one thing I don’t like about buses and cars is that I can’t read. I have motion sickness and get dizzy if I even so much as try to read. It’s not as bad on buses as in cars, so sometimes I’m stubborn and try to read anyway when I take the bus. Not always a good move. To save myself the headache, I listen to audiobooks.
The thing about audiobooks is that they take a lot more time to finish. An average novel of 300 odd pages takes 9 to 11 hours. When I read 350 pages, I’m done in 4 hours. That can make a difference of one whole book! To speed things up, I return to my book to read as soon as I can, rather than continue with the audiobook.
Same but Different
The content of a book and the counterpart audiobook is technically the same. The words are the same. Yet they are different because the interpretation inevitably varies. When we listen to an audiobook, the narrator add their own layer of understanding to the book that the author wrote.
Personally, I like experiencing that spectrum. I start with the book to form my own opinions. Then I switch to the audiobook to experience the book in a more vivid manner. To me listening is more interactive because that is when I can close my eyes and imagine everything. When I read a book, I can’t very well close my eyes. In a way, audiobooks enhance my reading experience.
In alternating between reading and listening, I find myself experiencing books on a much greater spectrum. Alternating also keeps the momentum going because I don’t have to interrupt a book as much.
Of course, finding the exact spot where I left off can be confusing. That’s why I take care to note which chapter I am at, so that I don’t start reading too far ahead or repeat something I have already read. This is where Whispersync between Kindle books and Audible audiobooks is useful — they sync up to offer up a seamless reading and listening experience. Another case for e-readers: they encourage us to read all the time!