Audio Books in Bed

wife2.jpgI bought my first iPod about a year ago and I’m an addict. I love listening to my favorite soundtracks as I write, so I’ve loaded all of them on the iPod, along with some Springsteen, some meditation music, and chants by Krishna Das. But most of all, I love listening to books. The iPod is a little dicey when listening to books, because if you accidentally hit the scroll thingy in the wrong spot, you may be propelled five or ten or one hundred pages forward or backward with no real way of knowing exactly where you’ve landed. That’s the only snag I’ve found. . . except for the problem of reading in bed.

Like many readers, I enjoy reading before sleep. You know how it is: you open the book, read a few pages or a few chapters, grow sleepy, close the book and turn out the light. With an audio book, though, I find that I fall asleep with the book still running. It’s so frustrating to wake up and have no idea where I am in the story. So I’ve decided to cool it on listening to audio books in bed. I think it ruins the book for me.

The thing I love best about an audio book is the performance, which can absolutely make or break the book. My all-time favorite audio book performance is the unabridged version of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Now I have a close second: The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff. I’m eating this book up. It’s so hard to know if I’d love it as much if I were actually reading it, but the four actors performing the various voices in the story are phenomenal. For those of you who don’t know, The 19th Wife is a sweeping (fictional) look at the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints and its contemporary spin-off, the “Firsts”. From Publishers Weekly “This exquisite tour de force explores the dark roots of polygamy and its modern-day fruit in a renegade cult…” It’s yummy! But I don’t dare read it in bed.

Do any of you successfully listen to audio books before sleep?


  1. Margo on October 6, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I’ve never listened to audio books but have friends who really like them when traveling. I’m one of those readers who absolutely love reading a book before I sleep…I look forward to it! Diane, what made you decide to listen to a book instead of actually reading a novel before bedtime?
    P.S…these 2 books you mention sound good Diane.

  2. Denise on October 6, 2008 at 9:50 am

    I have never really listened to audio books either because I’m afraid of spacing out and missing something. But I think they would be great for long car rides.
    Diane, I’m reading the 19th Wife right now, too! I bet it would be great on audio.

  3. Diane Chamberlain on October 6, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Margo, I only listened in bed because I’m not good at reading 2 books at once, so if I’m “reading” an audio book, it made sense to listen to it in bed. . . only it doesn’t work very well.
    Denise, The 19th Wife must be a fat book, because the audio is quite long. I hope it’s as good on paper as it is on audio.

  4. Gina on October 6, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Nah, I’m not an audio book person either. My wind would wander too much.

  5. Gina on October 6, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    My wind? I meant to say, “my mind” – Lordy, I’m losing it sometimes. LOL

  6. ronnie on October 6, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    My husband and I get audio books when we have long car, like from Florida to New York. I have to admit as soon as the announcers voice comes on and says “Random House presents…….” I fall asleep (no I am not the one driving at those times). We have been doing that for years and for some reason I just can’t concentrate on books on tape.
    As far as The 19th Wife is concerned, I read over 100 pages and just couldn’t get into it, so I put it down for the time being. I just felt that to still have over 400 pages left was overwhelming and I ended up not reading at all cause I was dreading picking it up again. By the reviews I have read i know I am in the minority.

  7. Diane Chamberlain on October 7, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    gina, your “wind” comment made me laugh!
    Ronnie (and Denise), I do wonder what reading The 19th Wife would be like. It’s such a long book and I imagine it can be very dry without the actors performances. I’m nearly done and will miss it.

  8. brenda on October 7, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    I am a visual learner…not audio…however…I do need to get an MP3 player for the Y. When I am on the bicycle (30 minutes), I read…When I am on the machines, I need music so can’t hear the NOISE…I have done great at the Y. Am down from 7 days a week to 5…and l l/2 hours it used to take me–now 45-60 minutes…I can now lift my arm and prob. won’t have to have the rotator cuff surgery-thank goodness… I would like to go 7 days, but that is just too much for my body…I am so glad I go…really good for stress…

  9. Diane Chamberlain on October 7, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    wow, brenda, that’s super! you go, girl.

  10. Denise on October 9, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    I am 3/4 of the way through 19th Wife, and I love it. At first, I was not sure I would like it because, like Diane said, it is a bit dry in places. But I have been unable to put it down the further I’ve gotten into it!

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