I don’t always have time to read.

We all know reading is important and we should read more, but how many of us have free time that we can spend curled up on the couch with a good book?

There are only 24 hours in a day. Most of us spend 8-10 hours (hopefully not much more) working, and 6-8 hours sleeping. Then there’s stuff we have to do like eating, getting dressed etc. Add exercise, travel, family and friends into the mix, and that doesn’t leave much time for other interests, like reading. Of course, I could give up my  occasional episodes of Dexter or Big Bang Theory, or go to bed later. But the reality is after nine o’clock I’m not much good for anything other than zoning out in front of the TV, and when I try to read at night I usually end up reading the same three pages over and over again… But wait! There is a solution.

Just listen.

I subscribe to Audible.com – Amazon’s audio-book service, and absolutely love it.  Despite a non-flexible work schedule and everyday craziness at home, I have still managed to “read” more than ever before! I can listen to my audio books on my Kindle or with the Audible Books app for the iPhone. The convenience of having my audio library with me wherever I go means that I listen to my books all the time.  Spare moments are now magically transformed into “personal story time” just by popping in my earphones and hitting play.

Now, of course, there are some literary purists out there who would scoff at this.  They’re not fans of technologies like iPads and Kindles. They prefer good old-fashioned printed books, and consider anything else “cheating”. But I have to disagree. Audio books are not cheating. In fact, in many ways, I think hearing a spoken story aloud can be more powerful and bring more depth to the experience.

As Jamie Lee Wallace writes, “There is something about hearing a story read aloud that brings it to life in a more intense way. Hearing the author’s word spoken out loud gives them a greater weight. The audio experience demands a different kind of focus and attention than the printed page. There is magic in the storyteller’s voice. After all, our oldest story traditions are all oral.”

She’s right. For thousands of years we have been telling stories, not just reading them. And so, if you’d like to read more but never seem to have the time, why not try audio books? You may be pleasantly surprised at how much “reading” you can fit into your life this way.