Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Reading" on the Road

Once a week I make a 60 mile round trip ride to see patients at a medical clinic in Federal Way. I used to flip on the radio or drive in silence but after several months of these lengthy commutes I wondered if there might be something better to do with with all that time. I got to thinking about a suggestion from fellow blogger Sharon who left a comment on this post in which I whined about the 26 stoplights and 28 minutes it took me to travel the 8 miles to visit my parents three times a week. Sharon suggested audio books. Revelation. Never considered it but now I'm hooked.

I listen to books on tape (actually on CD) on my once weekly 120 minute commute but also when I'm driving to and from Mom and Dad's place and often when driving downtown to work. Fiction, non-fiction, memoir; it's all good and I actually feel like I'm getting good things out of my long hours spent in the car battling city traffic. Thanks, Sharon!

Last week, I "read" Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame. She's now in her mid 50's and what a life she's had as the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, wife to Paul Simon (briefly) and her personal battles with alcohol, drugs, and bipolar disorder. Her memoir is funny, touching, and full of advice; probably not a book I would have read otherwise but certainly one for the road.

This week I "read" The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. What a tremendous book! I'm going to purchase a copy since this one's a keeper to be referenced and re-referenced. Randy created a thoughtful, engaging dissertation on living well; about the magic of dreams, courage, hard work, hard play and personal connection. His advice is likely applicable to most of us folk who are trying hard to live our best life. I was reminded as I listened to Randy's words of Tim McGraw's song "Live Like you Were Dying" ; a nice connection.

More on chapter 37 of Randy's book, The Last Lecture later. It bears special relevance for my dear daughter who is searching for solid ground on which to stand. The best advice I've ever read on romantic relationships. Ever.

Might I inspire you to read a few books on the road too?


  1. I came to your blog via Rochelle's Looky Here. One of my new years resolutions is to read (listen) more. I have a 45 minute commute each way and made note of your recommendations. Thanks!

  2. I love books on "tape" (what we used to call them when I was little). When I was still in school, I would listen to them driving back and forth between Boston and Ann Arbor. Sometimes I would even drive around once I got my destination so finish my book! The last one I "read" was the Lovely Bones - so good.

  3. More great book recommendations. Thanks, Kate. You took the idea and ran with it ~ so glad it's working for you.

  4. Nice to have found a way to enrich your day!

  5. HI Kate -- this is all great news. I have had zero time or focus to really read much besides magazines (so I ordered a subscription to New York magazine to at least be reading something with meat to it). But I do listen to books on tape and lectures when I go to sleep -- it focuses my thoughts and allows my tired body to fall off. The most listening I get in is in the middle of the night when I wake up and kind of lay there for 20-45 minutes before I drift off. In the old days, if I lay there my mind would just go and I'd never fall back. With the books on my ipod and using just one earbud, on very low volume, I can "read" without the light on that would never fly with my husband, and eventually go back to sleep.

    This was great because I also went through a few years of classes as a distance learner... they came to me via podcast. That's my version anyway.

  6. I love listening to books while driving, too. It's equally fun to listen to one when my husband and I are driving together, so we can discuss it as we go along.


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