Darcy tapped the page of his book and the next appeared. It had been years since he had to physically labour, turning page after page, of a novel or heavy non fiction tome and he knew he would resent having to make that much effort to read when his Kindle iPad app was so convenient. More often than not he completely avoided even having to scan his eyes along the lines by installing white earbuds into his head and listening, while an under-employed actor read to him in dulcet tones.
He was consuming more books than ever before as a result. It was perilously easy to, with a few taps, make never-ending purchases from the Amazon store or Audible, which were accessible on the same login and recorded his taste in fiction and non fiction. Aware that he was consuming ideas like others prowl malls, self-justification found form in completion. He actually finished more than 90% of what he purchased.
How did he do this?
For the first time in his life domestic duties and chores were actively sought out and completed with slow gusto, earbuds installed, Audible app on, as the routine housework was completed. It was not just the washing-up or loading the dishwasher but more and more jobs were sought to allow the narrative, whatever it may be, to continue. The fridge was cleaned while Tony Judt explained postwar Europe and cupboards organised as Hilary Mantel raised Tudor England from the dead. The lawn had never been kept so trimmed as when he discovered that earbuds under ear protection meant he could listen to George RR Martin kill of his protagonists with bloody abandon. Spring cleaning took place in winter, the untidy garage righted, swept, stacked and generally ordered while Haruki Murakami dreamt of George Orwell.
Walking to work, catching the train, waiting anywhere all became pleasure of the highest order as stories unfolded, taking him away from the routine, mundane aspects of his existence. He discovered, while listening to Granta’s emerging young writers, that listening to the author’s voice, telling their own stories, rather than an actor employed to spin the yarn, was even more satisfying.
The only real issue that bothered him was what happened to the stories in his own head while listening to those of others.
Reading is more important to me than most other activities. It always has been so. The number of books I am reading continues to accelerate due to Audible audiobooks and the ease of using their app on my iPhone.
Apologies for the piece above but I was just having some self-indulgent fun.
I do still read hard copies of books, lots of them, usually purchased via booko.com.au so the opening lines of my blog post are not true, as such. For example, I have just started a battered, secondhand copy of The Age of the Fish by Ödön von Horváth.
What have you been reading so far in 2013? This year, so far, I have completed the following books as recorded at my my online bookshelf.
What are you reading?