The discussion post for the third week of Nonfiction November is to discuss “nontraditional nonfiction.” I admit, I’m a really slow reader and by the time I’m relaxing at home with a book, I’d rather be reading fiction. Therefore, my “traditional” nonfiction reading is pretty much at a snail’s pace. But I get a lot of nonfiction read through audiobook. In fact, I alternate fiction with non-fiction when I’m listening, so I get a lot of nonfiction “read” this way. I can’t recommend a specific book, because there are just too many, and I’m not all that picky – as long as the reader is reasonably good, I’m happy.
Instead, let me tell you about why I started listening to audiobooks. When I was younger, I never listened in class. My teachers in middle school used to accuse me of “staring off into space instead of listening,” which I really didn’t think I was doing. By the time I got to high school, I knew I didn’t listen – my chemistry teacher used to always praise me about how I’d discovered a new way to solve his problems. Well, the reason I didn’t do it his way is because I never listened to a word he said. I had no idea how he told us to solve the problems. I didn’t tell him that. Then in college, I had a rather shocking experience. I was sitting with a group of students discussing a class. One of them mentioned something the professor said. I was floored. People actually hear what the professor says?
After that, I tried. The rest of my undergraduate career I tried really hard to pay attention. It didn’t work. During the first couple of years of grad school, I tried chanting in my head “you must listen, you must listen, you must listen.” Somehow I managed to continue that chant in my head while thinking of other things. I even tried yoga. No luck. I just couldn’t listen to what people said. I decided I was audibly challenged. As in, low auditory comprehension, not poor hearing.
That’s when I tried out audiobooks. I figured I could practice listening to auditory stimulation while I was exercising and stuff. I specifically picked books that I wouldn’t otherwise have read – because I didn’t want to miss something that I actually wanted to read. For instance, I listened to the entire Twilight series. 🙂
It worked! Now I am able to listen to books that I want to read, and I do it all the time. I like audio for non-fiction, because it doesn’t make my eyes blur over when I’m tired, like written non-fiction can. (Though maybe if I stopped reading books that “read like textbooks” I’d not have this problem – but I like those books!)
Less importantly, I’m better able to listen in classes now. So, thank God for audiobooks!