Audible To The Rescue

by Gurpreet Sihat

My social media feeds during isolation have been filled with two things: baking and books! 

While I do quite like baking, and occasionally partake myself, it’s not really my ‘thing’ so this does little for me. But the books… Oh the books!

Unlike everyone on my feed who seems to have suddenly found time to read a book a day, reading has been impossible for me since isolation began. I live in a high-risk household, so my days really have been entirely inside, with the exception of a few hours every second week where I stand in an hour-long queue outside Tesco so that I can do the weekly shop. I work with independent businesses and have been hard at it trying to help them keep their heads afloat during this pandemic. I’ve been getting on writing my latest book – dealing with themes so close to home that it’s been a hard one to get written – thankfully with two writer friends of mine who have been keeping me sane. I’ve taken on two new diplomas, and none of that includes my non-tech time painting, or my virtual coffee dates and movie nights with friends and family. The one thing I haven’t been able to do, even when I do have time to sit down with a book, is read. The words float about the page and I can’t seem to concentrate on them long enough for them to form sentences. For weeks, it was murder. Besides being a writer, I’m a reader. I love everything about books – from their words to their covers, their smell to the feeling of pages beneath my fingers. Imagine not being able to do concentrate on the things you love the most and watching everyone else do it instead. 

To my rescue came Audible.

I’ve never been a fan of audio books. Short stories are fine, but I struggle to retain fictional storylines if I’m listening to them being read aloud. But with my Amazon account, I receive one free credit a month to spend on any audio book I want. So, I tried it. 

Jonathan Van Ness’ Over The Top began my journey, followed quickly by Sandi Toksvig’s Between The Stops and now Tan France’s Naturally Tan. 

I listen only to a chapter or two before bed every second night, but it’s been filling those difficult weeks where books just aren’t able to keep my attention, no matter how hard they try. I tried, after Over The Top, to listen to fiction, but my brain wasn’t having it. Non-fiction though… Listening to JVN, Sandi and Tan reading their own words, adding a few extra lines here and there, is like listening to a friend opening their arms and letting you into their lives. It’s comforting, even when the words may be heart-breaking. It keeps your attention, even when you’re close to switching off. It’s the sun in the middle of a bright blue sky and the moon on a star kissed night. 

It could be pure luck. Maybe I’ve just managed to pick some absolutely incredible people reading some absolutely incredible books. All I know is that I would not be as sane as I currently am without them. Audible to the rescue! 

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