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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Homage to Audio Books!

When I was a child, the only good thing about getting sick was being read to. 

My dad used to read the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, and Dr. Seuss' The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins

My mom read me A.A. Milne poems, and Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline. 

Actually, my parents must have read other things to me as well, but those are the ones I still hear in my heart.

My fourth grade teacher read Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Doolittle to our class if we were good. I remember that as the best thing about being nine. 

And when my husband and I were young and newly in love, he sometimes read out loud on long drives. 

Once the babies came I read to them of course, but no one read back. So eventually, listening to stories because limited to talk-radio and the occasional campfire ghost story. This left many too many years of blank emptiness in my life where listening to stories should have been.

Then recently, my daughter, who lives six hours away, got sick and hospitalized. 

I had to make that drive several times, stressed, sleep deprived, jumpy and alone. Luckily, a librarian friend suggested checking out the audio book collection at the library. 

I rushed in, grabbed an arm load of funny books, and serious books, classics and contemporary short stories -- audio versions of books I’d been meaning to read, and others I’d read long ago. Everything was, of course, free.

All the way up north, and all the way back home, I listened. Being read to calmed me, distracted me from my anxiety, and kept me company. 

The readers never tired, they waited while I got gas, they resumed reading from exactly where they’d left off, and they weren’t offended when I cut them off to switch to another book. 

The stories carried me safely up and back, up and back, up and back. 

My daughter is fine now, and I’m regaining my balance. I’m grateful to medical science for my daughter’s recovery. For mine, I credit the healing power of audio books. Those stories got me through.     



The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

Touching ode to the spoken word.
Audio Ack

Melodye said...

Here's to libraries that stock audio books that echo in your heart, even now.

(So glad you're daughter's made a full recovery--you, too! xoxo)

Betty Birney said...

Yes, I've only recently rediscovered the lure of spoken word. Thanks, Amy!

Unknown said...

We love audio books! Our librarian is the reason our family spent a long drive to Yosemite experiencing The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Anonymous said...

Great tribute to the power of audiobooks. Thanks for this! I know I can never drive more than 15 minutes anywhere without a book in the car to accompany me :-)

Michele said...

So true..."Kids" of every age love being read to.