The boy who harnessed the wind

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I seem to be doing more of this lately …

Walking the dogs

Than this …

Riding in the East Risdon area

And I definitely seem to be spending way too much time doing this (sitting in front of a computer writing), but there is an upside this … I have started to discover the joy of audio books and podcasts …

My audiobook adventure started some months back now when I went to the State Library and got “The Martian” out on CD (all 8 CD’s), copied them onto my computer and into iTunes, and then started listening to them as I walked the dogs … and I got hooked.

Seriously the movie, The Martian, is crap … listen to the book.

I guess you could read it as well, but this blog is about listening, not reading, because listening creates a whole new world of opportunities – an audibook turns a 45 minute walk with the dogs into 45 minutes of reading time (with some low level exercise).

Plus the dogs love it because I don’t notice as they go running off everywhere chasing things …

After 42 years, I’ve finally found something I can multi-task at!

Like, any new experience, I’ve hit some speed bumps.

I listened to Chris Hadfield’s “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” which was like wading my way through an economics text book at University, especially as it was again a multi Cd download from the library and for some reason, it kept resetting itself on my ipod so I’d spent the first 10 minutes of any walk trying to find out where I was in the book.

Fortunately, around this time I also discovered that the State Library of Tasmania website also has ebooks you can download, so I next found myself being transported along on Scott’s expedition to Antarctica (another brilliant book), and most recently I have listened to one of the most beautiful stories in the world …  The Boy who Harnessed the Wind.

I cried and I cried as I walked around my various doggie circuits listening to this book.

Unfortunately, like downloading CDs,  the library audiobook collection is frustrating – the selection is limited, the searching, browsing and App integration is beyond painful and I never seemed to be able to listen to a book in the required timeframe requiring me to go through the whole process of checkout.

More recently, I began exploring podcasts.  I started with one of Fat Cyclists podcasts interviewing Jill Homer, but to be honest it was so horrible I couldn’t bring myself to go back and listen to any more of those despite them being my two favourite bloggers.

I have however discovered ted talks radio, freakonomics and just this week, Revisionist Histories which I’m loving, not so much because the podcasts are good (in fact I’ve found the first two podcasts of Revisionist Histories rather weak in their argument and detail) but what I enjoy is that I’m listening to things I would never have actually taken the time to read.

In the last month, I’ve become particularly excited about my foray into audible (Amazon’s audiobook service), but mainly because of the future it represents.

Long time readers of this blog know that I have lots of kindles (most of which don’t work). I am kindle addicted.  I was reading a book the other day (like a real, old fashioned, paper book) in bed and decided I was enjoying it – so I logged into and bought the kindle version (for $15) because I wanted to read it on my kindle.

Similarly, I was at my mum’s the other day and noticed the book “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed sitting on the coffee table.  I had watched the movie recently and really enjoyed it, but mum insisted that the book was so much better and detailed and offered to lend me the book.  So I took it home, read a few pages … remembered how much I dislike reading books, and downloaded it onto my kindle for $3.99.
It was at this point that I was offered the opportunity to download the ‘audible’ version of the book for another $3.99 … and being newly converted to the discoveries of audiobooks, I clicked “buy”.

I’m about 90% of the way through this book (it is about 12 hours long I think), and I’ve probably read about 3% of it and listened to the rest, but I love the fact that I can listen to the book, get back to my house and pick up my kindle and it just syncs back up to the page I was listening to and I can then continue reading.

I subscribe to lots of magazines which I never read (in fact many now I never open).  I have piles of books I never get around to reading and yet every day I spend hours walking dogs, driving in the car and riding my bike where I could easily listen to these publications if only the technology were available (and I could find a safe way to ride and listen to a book).

The exciting thing is, we’re on the cusp of implementing this technology.

Somebody is harnessing this wind already and I can only see it getting better …

One comment

  1. Hi John. I don't own a Kindle (yet) but I'm wondering how you borrow ebooks from the Hobart library? It seems they only have Overdrive/epub which doesn't work with Kindle. Do you convert the ebooks or am I missing something?
    Thanks, Vaughan

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