Audio Books and Transit Time
Back when I lived in Nis, everything was in walking distance. You could travel the city end to end by car in maybe an hour. Took me about 20 minutes walking to get to faculty, or 6 minutes by car. (yep, I measured) Also, I worked from home, so not much transit there either.
Since I moved to Belgrade, I had to get into the go-everywhere-by-bus mindset. Now, it takes me about an hour to get to work, and another to get back home. I’d say that’s an awful lot of time wasted in looking through the window.
I read somewhere about how time spent in transit before and after work was acctually healthy, in psychological sense. The time spent in transit helps you transition from the home state of mind to your work state of mind. And really, compared to working from home, where I didn’t have that distinction, I feel better having the time to mentally prepare for work environment, or to cool down to a more relaxed mode after work. And that’s all great, but I didn’t like all that time not doing anything useful.
I thought about how I could use that time to do something relaxing, that didn’t involve thinking about stuff. After a long day at work, thinking wasn’t very enticing. My first try was music. It was okay, but not very engaging. Next I tried books. I’d download a book to my phone and read it. I don’t know why, but reading text in a moving vehicle never felt comfortable for me. I did like reading, but disliked the format. So, finally, I tried audio books.
Listening to an audio book in transit is a total win for me. Listening to a good actor reading an interesting book is both engaging and relaxing. Not having to read text, but still getting the information contained in the book feels great.
Now, for me, audio books are best of both worlds - movies and books. You have the media experience similar to a movie - you listen, and images form in your mind. Also, some audio books include multiple actors and sound effects for an even more complete experience. On the other hand, you get what movies can never give you - internal thoughts of a character which makes the experience more whole.
So how does listening to a book compare to reading a book? I would say that in audio books, you lose the ability to set your own tempo. Instead you depend on a tempo the narrator sets reading the book. That said, if you don’t like the narrators voice, or accent, or something else, no way to change that. But there is a lot you can gain with audio books.