Listened To Any Good Books Lately?Posted: June 22, 2013
by Dick Loftin.
I prefer the old-fashioned book. Picking it up, holding it, turning the pages… getting into the book. I like the way they look, feel, smell, and how they look in my bookshelves. Books are as much a part of my life as waking up in the morning, having coffee, breathing. They are a necessity and in some respects, a life form all their own. I like the memories connected to a book. Coming across a book I read thirty years ago, takes me back to a different time and I wonder, have I learned anything? Generally, the answer is yes.
Loving books as much as I, and you, do, we probably share a common problem: So many books, so little time [I think I have a sweatshirt with that on it.] And I thought for the longest time the problem was me. I didn’t read fast enough, I needed to take a speed-reading course, I have too many books, I need to slow down buying them. All wrong.
I really did think about taking a speed reading course, after learning about the reading acrobatics of John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton. These guys read at something like 2500 word a minute. Zooming through the pages. They had a lot of material to read, of course, so speed was [is] very important. I’ve seen videos on speed-reading, which all it amounts to [to me anyway] is just dragging your fingers over a page, and then the next one, the next one, and boom! A 400 page book blasted to the end in an hour. My thought was, Are you kidding me? How on earth do you get anything out of that? But, it works. I guess.
This brings me to David McCullough. My favorite writer and lover of the typewriter. He often speaks about his typewriter and how people have told him again and again if he used a computer he could do things so much faster. But, he says, that is precisely the point. He doesn’t want to go faster. If anything he wants to slow down. And here was my Ah-Ha moment and the end of my speed-reading dilemma. I will slow down and enjoy the book. Simple as that. At the same time, I will introduce more books into my day. I have a book on my desk–several actually, I usually have four or five going at a time for variety–but now, I have a book going in the car, always buying unabridged editions. I want the whole book. I never buy an abridged edition. Why read half of it when it is being read to you?
I am reading, listening to actually, “The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power,” by Robert A. Caro. This is one of the best written, enjoyable, intense books I have read in a long time. Some, many of the revelations in the book left me absolutely thunderstruck–and I’m just at the half-way point.
Audio books, CD’s, are a wonderful way of getting more reading into your life. Fiction, history, biography, all of it is great. Just be sure to buy the unabridged versions to get the whole book. I have a CD in the car, so that is the format I use, but I have many friends who are champions of companies like Audible. Whatever you do get more books into your diet. Listen, turn the pages, but read and enrich your life.
Read Allen Pierleoni’s excellent 2011 piece in the Sacramento Bee about how people are listening to books, Here. Additional Sourcing: The Columbus Dispatch [dispatch.com] and Audiopub.org.
Image of David McCullough’s John Adams book and CD by Endpaper Review.