I have to admit I’ve never listened to podcasts or audiobooks before. I’ve always preferred to read books. If I’ve wanted sound, which is less these days since I’ve had three kids, I generally prefer to listen to music. When I was told about Audible.com.au, which is Amazon’s audiobooks website, I was keen to give it a go. Actually, you can too at the moment. You can sign up for a free one-month trial and you get your first book free. After this, members pay a monthly fee of $14.95 and get one book free per month. There’s a heap of books to choose from and you can play them on your computer, phone or iPad. For me, I think books with beautiful prose and children’s books would work best in this format.
I knew exactly what I wanted to get – the Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: In Aid of the Royal Theatrical Fund. The audiobook goes for nearly four hours and features the dulcet tones of such British theatre icons as Dame Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons and Joanna Lumley reading some of my all-time favourite fairy tales – The Selfish Giant, The Nightingale and the Rose and The Happy Prince, to name a few. The recording is clear and the process to download it an easy one. And now I also have the Audible App on my phone I can listen to it wherever I am in the world or simply sitting in the car at the school run.
From the moment their voices began I was transported back to my childhood. My Mum resting the huge Complete Works of Oscar Wilde on her lap while she read to me. Her sing-song voice would always break at the same spots. Tears would always fill her eyes as she repeated Oscar Wilde’s words. Now I cry when I hear these words too.
“Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,” said the Prince, “will you not stay with me for one night, and be my messenger? The boy is so thirsty, and the mother so sad.”
The beauty of audiobooks is you can also do other things while you listen. I popped my computer on the kitchen bench, while the kids played and Twiggy and I baked our first apple pie together. It was delicious.
And then this enormous pile of clothes got folded and put away all while I was lost in the magic of the plum English voices reading some of the finest prose ever written. Words about love, death, sorrow, ego and kindness. Unsurprisingly, there are no stories written about the pain of having to wash and put away clothes over-and-over again.
I’m definitely hooked and see great value in downloading a number of books for the children, for long trips in the car and for simply getting through the mundane of life. Next, I’m planning on getting a collection of Maya Angelou poems. What a sublime way to spend the afternoon.
Suddenly, the day-to-day drudgery doesn’t seem so bad. Go to the Audible.com.au website to view their amazing range of audiobooks. Do you have any good audiobook suggestions?