I wrote last week about how and why I use audio books in our homeschool, so I thought I’d write a little follow-up about audio books for mothers.

I have found audio books to be the best way to get to very long or very difficult (even just in terms of names or accents) classics, as well as interesting-but-not-worth-dedicated-reading-time nonfiction. Listening to an audio book while walking, driving by myself, doing dishes, folding laundry, or making dinner are a great way to make a tedious task more interesting.

Ok, so, actually yesterday I watched Downton Abbey while folding laundry, but we can’t always do that, can we?

Those little 10-15 minute bits of time add up pretty quickly, even when iTunes lets you know you still have 30 hours to go. I don’t catch every detail of a novel like I would might if I was reading it, but then again, if I was reading it I might have put down Les Mis in the midst of a description of a seemingly irrelevant battle or Anna Karenina when the Russian politics simply didn’t make sense. I am an English major, so I know those bits must be vital to the author’s theme, but especially at the first go, I just want the story. With the audio version, I can tune out or let the political bits wash over me while I furrow my brow as I try to catch it and follow and ultimately just say, “Huh. Well, now. Ah, here are the characters again.” An audio version is a great way to experience a novel’s main lines, though I know I have missed the undercurrents and subtexts and even subplots, it’s still easier to keep track of those crazy Russian names if someone is pronouncing them correctly for me.

As audio books, I have listened to Great Expectations, Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, Les Miserables, Anna Karenina, and Brothers Karamazov. On road trips my husband and I enjoy a good Wodehouse (and they’re all good). I have War and Peace on audio waiting for me to work up the stamina to start that 61-hour adventure. I’ve also listened to Freakonomics, Drive, Blink, and parts of In Defense of Food (the library CDs were quite scratched). Last spring while spending hours washing, pitting, and processing cherries, I was spellbound by Unplanned. I have been listening to audio books for over 8 years, so this list is a long time in the making. Still, the minutes and the hours and the years do add up, as the list attests.

Although I’m not able to devote 100% attention and brain-power to the reading/listening, I have found that a quote, a passage, a description will hit me in a way that it probably wouldn’t have if it didn’t catch me in the midst of my own quotidian life. It was while listening to Bleak House and painting a kitchen late at night that I was convicted and convinced that my household duties really did matter after all. The juxtapositions that occur as the book and real life are intertwined that amaze me and keep me turning to classic novels as my listening material of choice, though there are inexhaustible sources of good podcasts, lectures, and sermons available. The classics are classic for a reason; they enrich and inform our own lives, if we let them.

Remember to check out my list of free audio books Audible is offering right now. Maybe you could get War and Peace, too. I’ll race you. ;) We’ll see who can put in 60 hours of housework and exercise first. Right. Don’t think about it that way. Let the story take you away.

1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

The links in this post are affiliate links, so if you end up purchasing anything through them, I’ll get a small percentage, which I will use to grow my own physical and audio library. Thanks!

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  1. I have War and Peace in my Audible Library as well, but I’m a bit intimidating to start. I have a hard time remembering which character has which name in any story, and with Russian names it’s just that much harder!

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