I was debating whether or not listening to audio books counted as reading… You do get all the exact same information, sometimes even more so, like the correct pauses and emphasis as in something like David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day or a little bit of bonus material and acting in something like John Hodgman’s That is All (both books that Eric & I listened to in the car on this past spring tour… both very very good), where the author is actually also the one reading the audio book. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I have decided that listening to audio books can just barely squeak in with the “reading” category, but it doesn’t improve your intelligence as much as reading the words yourself does, which I will say is one of the highest aspects of reading… I made that up, by the way. But reading has really just got to be better exercise on your brain than simply listening… Well, anyways. All that is to say: Audio books are making their way into my summer reading list.
Here’s why I’ve recently finished an entire audio book, despite the fact that we haven’t been spending as much time in the car as we typically do on tour (when we do much of our listening to audio books and podcasts): With the warm weather and with, as I mentioned 10 seconds ago, us not being on tour for a bit, I have started running again. That is a lie. I have started walk-running again. If I say that I’m “going for a run” and I end up with a cramp, a twisted knee, and lungs that feel like they’re about to explode within 5 minutes, I return home feeling defeated. But if I say that I’m “going for a walk-run”, and I do walk maybe half the time, I’m fulfilling what I set out to do, not feeling defeated ever, and gain the confidence and stamina to possibly only walk a third or even a quarter of the time! Plus, the best “inspiration run quote” I’ve ever seen reads “Even a bad run is better than no run.”
Anyways, I use to make high-energy playlists and shuffle through them on my iPod to try to keep me motivated, but that usually would only last for a week (if that) before I was bored. So once we got back after this last tour I decided that I’d try out audio books! And it just so happens that my dad recently gave me all seven of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia on audio book by HarperCollins. I mention that it’s by HarperCollins not to do any buzz marketing but because there are multiple audio versions available out there of The Chronicles of Narnia. There is even a free version, but I’m not going to say anything about it since I have no idea what kind of quality that has.
This is my third time going through The Chronicles of Narnia, they’re good “read again” books (though I guess I’ve only ever read them once…) When I was little my dad read the entire series to us. Both my parents did a lot of reading novels aloud to my brothers and I, and I highly recommend doing it with your own kids someday (I’m going to assume everyone reading this doesn’t have kids yet, just so I can relate to you). I then decided to read the books for myself during skipped classes of my senior year of high school. Yes, so rebellious to skip out of Digital Photography class to go sit in the woods and read a metaphor for Christianity…
So now I’m listening to the audio books. I just finished The Magician’s Nephew (read by a perfect British guy who made me feel like C.S. Lewis himself was telling the story) and quick note: I only ever read them chronologically. It does not matter that Lewis published them in a wonky order, it makes sense to start with The Magician’s Nephew, then hit up The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe.
The Magician’s Nephew explains the “creation story” of the land of Narnia, including the magic behind the wardrobe and the evil that enters Narnia. It’s pretty fascinating history (even if it is for a made-up world), and the descriptions of Aslan “singing” Narnia into existence is really beautiful. Plus, as I mentioned the metaphor for Christianity point, since I last read these I’ve also read a handful of other C.S. Lewis books and (separate of that fact but also related) I’ve very drastically changed my entire view of Christianity and what I personally believe about God, the creation of the world, faith, love, and hell. So, listening to these books with fresh ears has been fascinating. Recommending The Chronicles of Narnia seems like such a silly and given thing. Why on earth wouldn’t you read these books?
I’ve already begun listening to The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe, so I’ll end off this post with the perfect little video clip relating to that story:
P.S. Not a huge fan of the movies. Just gonna put that out there.