One of my fondest memories as a child was when my mother would read stories to us. My siblings and I all became quite competent readers fairly early on, but I do remember my mother reading an assortment of stories to us whether it be in the Golden Books or Aesop's era. It didn't matter. It was just a big treat for someone else to do the work. I even remember as a teenager, having wracked my car up in a bizzare winter accident and being laid up for several weeks recovering, my mother reading Agatha Christie to me while my back mended.
As life progressed, I somehow digressed from this luxury. I even thought that audiobooks, whether on tape or CD, were a bit "lazy" and it wasn't really reading if you weren't holding a book in your hands.
That is, until the local library began participating in Overdrive Audiobooks. If you're not familiar with Overdrive, it's a nation-wide source for classic and contemporary audiobooks in every genre. What makes Overdrive so different is that the books are all downloadable onto an .mp3 player. This changes everything. Gone is the need to swap tapes, switch CD's, try to remember where I was last at. Now I use an .mp3 player the size of a gum pack and I'm able to hold several books on it. The experience has been phenomenal. The titles are diverse. I'm able to browse the catalog and place holds on books I want to listen to, then get notified via e-mail when it's available for download. The catch? Once the book is downloaded, I have 7 days to transfer it to the .mp3 player. Big deal. Once it's on the player, I can listen to it for as long as it takes.
I've listened to more books in the course of a month than I've read in the last four months. Why? Because it's portable. I can listen while I'm folding laundry, driving to and from work, taking a walk or working out. I feel like I've died and gone to book heaven.