January 24, 2010

Making The Driving Trip Easier

Books-On-Audio ProgramAudiobooks (books on disk, tape or downloadable) are positively the best invention ever!  Unless of course you're talking about the car, dishwasher, refrigerator, toilet, computer ... well anyway, they're totally awesome. My family started listening to audiobooks by chance on a trip to either New York or north Florida one summer. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel and discovered their audiobooks and have since listened to hundreds of books.  You can buy them at any bookstore but audiobooks are expensive; more expensive than a regular book. The good news is you don't have to make that kind of investment.  Audiobooks are available from the library or if you are taking a trip Cracker Barrel has a great system that's very economical.  You buy a book set from them and when you're done you return it for a refund less the $3.49 weekly rental fee (no membership required). You don't have to return it to the same store; you can return it to any Cracker Barrel anywhere.  That's brilliant!  Kudos to Cracker Barrel!  You are limited to their selection (pretty good) and we have gotten a few duds but for the most part it's been a pleasant experience.  You can also download audiobooks to your iPhone or equivalent (available through iTunes) and play them through your stereo system. The books of course vary in length from around 2 hours up to 13 hours.  We rarely go on a trip without one.  So why audiobooks instead of a movie?  Well, there's the obvious reasons - books are better than movies, drivers can't watch a movie and just one person or everyone can listen.  Both my child and my husband have trouble reading in a car; they get car sick.  Honestly, I feel it's a choice of whether you want to babysit your kid(s) or engage them.  Of course, like all children, my child loves movies and does still watch them in the car but she will go for a audiobook over a movie every time!  The day she said to me, "You're right Mommy, the books are better than the movie", I wanted to sing.  Hurrah!! The best part - the dreaded hours of driving will melt away.  Be forewarned though, if the book is really good and close to the end you may find yourself sitting in the parking lot or driving around the block if you've arrived too soon at your destination.
A last suggestion: audiobooks are great on trips but it doesn't have to be a long drive like I'm predisposed to take to warrant getting an audiobook. We all lead such busy lives and are on the road all the time. I've found myself longing to find the time to read a book and while this is no substitute for curling up with one it is a way to get started on your reading list.  Try one on your way to and from work.
A few other audiobook sources (some may require membership):
Oblong Books and Music (my favorite)
Barnes and Noble

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him. 
Maya Angelou 


Anonymous said...

Hey Laurie!

Thanks for the shout-out! You're awesome.


Anonymous said...

Love audio books! They really are engaing but often not so for small children. My children ages 3 and 5 don't stay as captivated by listening to a book as say an 8+ year old would.

Unknown said...

It's true, the younger one's have the attention span of a cat but that's because there is so much out there they're trying to absorb. Everybody is different but I'm certain your kids will be into books (and audiobooks) big time just like their Momma. They're such bright kids!

Anonymous said...

If we decide to drive to Florida later this winter we will definitely use audiobooks. Thanks, I had forgotten about them.