The Joys of "Listening" to Books

Robin Henry

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While I have had an iPod for a year or two and have spent many hours travelling to work and doing household tasks while listening to an FM radio or iPod, I had never listened to an audio book until last week. Looking back, I think the reason why I hadn't bought an audio book . . . I'd often thought of it when visiting book shops, was the cost. CD-based audio books are relatively expensive (In Australia at least).

Recently, when I bought an interest in an online audio book business, I decided that I needed to try the products so that I'd become authorative about audio books and also have a complete understanding of what customers would go through while visiting my site, selecting audio books, paying by credit card and then downloading from their libraries.

I've always been a prolific reader, but haven't read a novel for ages. Most of my reading is technical across a range of subjects. So, thinking I needed a change, I decided to download two audio books from my site that were completely different from the stuff I usually read. I selected a title called, “Wonderful Ways to Love a Grandchild" and “Belle De Jour: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl". Quite a wide apart selection I thought.

I downloaded the first title onto my computer and began listening to it while sitting working at my computer. Surprisingly, I found that I was able to think about what I was doing (writing sales materials) and follow the story. The reader, a woman with an American accent spoke pleasantly and the theme was much broader than just loving one's grandchild. The speaker spoke about such things as not trying to take over juvenile grandchildren's lives, accepting grandchildren's differences. It wasn't simply a list of ways to love one's grandchildren . . . grandson in my case as I expected. You know the stuff: “Tip 106: Always give your grand child a hug when you see him or her. "

My grandson was five last November and begins school this month (Jan 07). We are the best of friends, having spent almost every day of our lives together for the first three years of his life. Now I have a few ideas about how we can build our relationship hopefully through the next 20 years should I last that long. It was a pleasant experience listening to the reader and it got even better with my next title.

The author of “Belle De Jour" speaks with a lovely English accent, sounds youngish and is able to use humour, seriousness, surprise and other emotions at the right time to make the title special. As we had visitors staying with us at the time, I decided it would be more discreet . . . given the topic, to listen from my audio player/recorder. And that I did.

As I lay next to my wife in bed I plugged in the player and began listening to part one. Not having read previous titles about the sex trade, I didn't know what to expect; would it be a smut and foul language filled title with a lot of huffing, puffing and bucket loads of *** te as it's author bonked her way through hundreds of clients a week, or something less *** ographic?

"Belle De Jour" is a tasteful presentation of the memoirs of a London call girl with only a few uses of the f-word on those occasions when it adds to the verve of the narrative. There are no surprises. If anything, it reveals the human side of those women who make a career choice to sell sex for a living and some of the different types of behaviour her clients exhibit.

I enjoyed both the topic and the way in which I “read" it. On a couple of occasions I relaxed on a sofa with my eyes closed and listened to the storyteller. Her voice was very relaxing and it seemed at times like a form of therapy. It is much easier to listen to a story than to read it, focus on the pages, keep your eyes open, ensure there is sufficient light and that the page doesn't shut and you lose your place. It's also a great way to multi-task as you travel to work, walk, wash dishes, do the gardening or anything else conducive to personal time to listen.

Audio books are an excellent way to hear others’ stories, learn a language, sit and relax and let the world go by or to multi-task so you make the most of whatever time you have. This won't be the last audio book to which I listen. Now that I have tried it, I'm very impressed and will surely find something else to listen to on my site which has 5,000 titles.

Copyright 2007 Robin Henry

Robin Henry is an educator, human resources specialist and Internet entrepreneur. He helps home-based businesses and individuals improve performance by applying smart technology and processes and developing personally. He runs his business Desert Wave Enterprises from his home base at Alice Springs in Central Australia, although at present he is on temporary assignment in the United Arab Emirates.

His other business interests are: and


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