Why I love library wandering (and you should, too)

Library audio books

I love library wandering.

Once upon a time, I didn’t show up at my local branch without a game plan . . . or, more specifically, a hold plan. When I heard about a book I had to get my grubby little paws on, it was off to the library’s website to request it. Then I’d pull my hair out with impatience waiting for that “your book is on hold!” email, at which point I’d break the speed limit getting over there before they closed after work.

I’ll be totally honest: I’m a little too reliant on instant gratification to request popular traditional books from the library, but I do adore audios for the car. With my recent move came a work commute increase to a whole 15 minutes each way (gasp!), so that’s 30 minutes of interrupted listening I can get done each day. Considering what a lousy reading year I’ve had (wedding planning and all that), audios make up a major part of my literary diet. I need them.

But I don’t want to pay for them. And you know what’s great about the library? You don’t have to pay for anything. You show up, flash your pass (ahem — card) and walk out with anything your heart desires.

And I love not knowing what that is until I get there. In the past few months, I’ve found myself looking forward to my aimless library ambles every other week. I’ve gotten more spontaneous with the materials I chose, leaning more heavily into non-fiction audio books than ever before. I don’t plan, don’t pre-track. When I read about an appealing story on a book blog or beyond, I make a mental note . . . and that’s it.

Living in the moment.

As a reader, there’s something magical about meandering through the library stacks until I find The One. It reminds me of my pre-blogging days — back when I was a bookseller. I never read reviews, didn’t troll Goodreads or Amazon. It was enough to simply pace through Borders’ literature/fiction section until a novel “spoke” to me.

My ears are still perked at the library — with the added benefit that everything is free to us. So do it! Explore! Some of my favorite recent reads were stories I would have worried about shelling out my hard-earned dough to buy; I would be debate whether I’d really like it enough to pay $20 and own it forever and ever (or until donating it). But the library is an investment-free way to break out and do something daring. To get crazy! Wild!

Well, as wild as a group of unruly bookworms can get it.

But let’s not sell ourselves short.

What I really love about audiobooks

Shine Shine Shine

They can be educational.

They can be entertaining.

The best ones are both.

They make running errands something to actually look forward to.

They make driving in D.C.-area traffic so much less of a nuisance.

At a point when “free time” is something of a misnomer, they’re keeping me immersed in books. And saving my books read list from ruin.

They take me back to elementary school — to the pure, simple, endless days when I looked forward to nothing more than having someone read to me. My parents, grandparents, a teacher . . . I could listen to stories all day. I did listen to stories all day — even after I could read them myself.

They push me out of my reading comfort zone. I grab audiobooks that sound interesting simply because I’m interested in them, and I’ve often gravitated toward non-fiction. The stories I’ve enjoyed are not ones I would have been likely to choose in print.

They’re . . . fun. They make me happy. They breathe life into “boring” days. They matter.

Audio book giveaway: Amy Kathleen Ryan’s GLOW

As I’ve recently taken a shine to audio books and recently finished my first one, I have an exciting giveaway to announce — and for a book I really enjoyed!

Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Glow is a quick, thought-provoking dystopian novel centering around the lives of Waverly and Kieran, two teenagers born aboard a vessel bound for New Earth. Though their peaceful existence hasn’t been without some turbulence, nothing can prepare them for the arrival of a sister ship — and its passengers’ devious plans. Alone in deep space, everything for the Empyrean’s habitants is about to change.

Courtesy of the publisher, I have one audio book copy of this exciting novel to share with a lucky winner! If you’ve been interested in dipping a toe in the world of audio books, this might be your chance. Before you enter, take a listen to a sample.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only through 12 p.m. (noon) on Wednesday, Oct. 26. A winner will be randomly selected using Random.org and emailed by yours truly.

To enter, simply fill out this form!