Nothing better for a rainy day than popping in an audio book while slugging through filing, or other mindless tasks.

I first starting listening to audiobooks when I was living in Bowling Green, OH and had a regular gig with the Kalamazoo Symphony. It was a three hour drive there, 2.5 hours of rehearsal, and three hours back. Sleep, day job, drive, rehearse, drive, rinse and repeat.

I heard Ann Rice’s complete Vampire series  which was kinda creepy in October. This method was the only way I would get through J.R.R. Tolkein’s “Council of Elron” in The Lord of the Rings. I grew to love a good accent. Readers who could change voice characters were especially appealing. I couldn’t wait to get back into the car to find out what happened next.

Recently, I started using the same motivation to get me on the stationary bike, or out for solo dog walks. I’ve gravitated to comedies, or memoirs by comedians. The only time it gets weird is when I burst out laughing in a public space. That happened a few times at Taylor Gym with Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants. When you hear the author read it, their delivery, inflection, and voice are like hours and hours of a comedy show just for me.

At the moment, I’m listening to Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. If you’re not familiar with the author, he’s the South African comedian who took over Comedy Central’s The Daily Show after Jon Stewart left.

I’m learning so much of what his life was like growing up at the end of Apartheid. His perspective adds to the very little I know from the news, Nelson Mandela stories, or songs by Johnny Clegg, Stevie Van Zandt or Peter Gabriel. I’m convinced that listening to him read his story is better than reading it. Why?

Noah speaks several languages. When you get to know his childhood, you’ll understand why. Only in the audiobook version do you hear him speak them. I wouldn’t have the same kind of awe just by reading letters on a page. This is a story (much like comedy) that is better to be heard.

I have much respect for this man. And his mother.

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