When I was young, in pre-reading years, I spent hours sitting in a big, plush rocker, following along with the colourful pages that came slipped into my record albums, as I listened to stories-on-record.
Yes, this was a time before books-on-tape and eons ahead of audiobooks.
I like to listen. (I like to interrupt too and talk and make my own noise. I’m not some sort of peaceful receiver of all the noise in the world or a bottomless listening pit.)
Now, my preferred form of listening is digital and is a mix of audiobooks and podcasts. I favour podcasts while walking the dog, walking to work and making mass quantities of food on Sunday afternoons in the hopes it will prevent me from indulging in junk/spending unnecessary lunch money and so on. (True story: when the new month comes around and my Audible subscription kicks in, it means I get a NEW DOWNLOAD and I get so excited.)
At night while I’m trying to sleep, I prefer listening to audiobooks. I find a one-voice narrative more soothing and I’m particularly fond of comedic memoirs. (I’ve listened to Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Rachel Dratch’s Girl Walks Into a Bar several times over.)
Do you like to listen? Here are some of my top listening picks.
1. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Review – the podcast version of this extremely popular BBC show is juicy in length and rife with inside jokes. In fact, in reality, it’s no more about movies than Jaws is about sharks (if you listen to the show long enough, you’ll understand what I mean). I first started listening because I was drawn to the interesting, in-depth actor interviews. Now my favourite bits are the wittering that goes on between the two hosts. It’s so in-depth a fan has even set-up http://witterpedia.net/ to track the topics of conversation.
2. Desert Island Discs – This long-time BBC programme is a delightful listen. Guests discuss the tracks they’d take with them to a deserted island, which ends up being extremely revealing, to the point where musical memories brought guest Tom Hanks to tears.
3. Here’s the Thing – Alec Baldwin’s interview-based show ranges from current events to celebrity tell-alls and I LOVE IT.
4. This American Life – famed host Ira Glass and his team deliver interesting stories about real people each week. Magnificent storytelling.
5. Under the Influence – as a professional marketer, I’m always intrigued by this CBC show’s take on influencer advertising, sponsorship and messaging.
6. How Did This Get Made – no but really, how did anyone convince anyone to give them millions to make Vampire Academy. Get the hilarious scoop on this popular podcast.
When it comes to listening to books, I’m a memoir junkie. Funny memoirs are my favourite, but if I come across a good one that somehow involves Paris, I’m into that too. (I could lie and try to make myself come off as an academic GENIUS and say I spend my spare hours listening to the works of Dostoyevsky, but I don't.)
1. Bossypants, Tina Fey – my hero.
2. Girl Walks Into a Bar, Rachel Dratch – I didn’t expect to fall in love with this story. I thought it would just be an amusing way to pass the time. But I couldn’t get enough of Dratch’s memoir of getting unexpectedly pregnant at 44.
3. Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick – I didn’t love all the essays here, but the set focused around her childhood on Broadway and her early years in LA are interesting and unique. Plus I love anything that’s even tangentially connected to Pitch Perfect.
4. Paris in Love: A Memoir, Eloisa James – the author is best known for penning bodice-rippers, which I’ve never read. In this memoir, James captures small moments from her year in Paris. Instead of telling one linear narrative, James opts for short sprays of memories. I love this book. I love this audiobook. I’ve listened to it AT LEAST 10 times.
5. Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari – I’m a HUGE fan of Aziz and I found his book about modern dating extremely interesting.
6. Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham – I’ll forever be a Gilmore Girls addict and Graham’s memoir about the show and her life as an actress is nutrition for my Gilmore-loving soul.