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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Taking Care of YOU!: Audible and Podcasts

My second post in the "Taking Care of YOU" series reviews the awesomeness that is Audible and podcasts. Last post we talked about taking care of your wardrobe.  Now we're going to talk about taking care of your brain.  You can see clearly where my priorities lie... But seriously, these two inventions have saved me from becoming an unread, uninformed (and unentertained) shell of a human being.  

You see, eight years ago I used to sit quietly engrossed, nose deep in The Namesake, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns or some other amazing novel during my forty minute E-train ride into NYC. These days, after wrestling my toddler through our morning routine and loading him into the car, I kind of have to drive at that point.  There's no time then, or really any other part of the day, to physically pick up a book and read.  And if I'm being honest, the physical act of turning the pages of a book makes me sleepy.  

Enter Audible. The beautiful invention that makes it possible for someone to just talk a book at me through my iPhone. If you're old school, it's a "book on tape," but using tech-no-lo-gy. Pretty sure I was late to discover this, but when I did, it rocked my entire universe. How does it work? It's simple. You go to the Audible website, create an account (it's an Amazon company, so if you already have an Amazon account you can just use that info), hook up your credit card and shop for online books to download. Every month your account is charged $7.49 for the first three months and then $14.95 a month thereafter. Each payment is good for one credit and most books just cost the one credit. Certainly less expensive than buying some of these bestsellers at your local bookstore. Not sure how it compares to a Kindle, etc. because I don't have one. Some of my favorite selections thus far have been Tina Fey's Bossypants, Amy Poehler's Yes, Please!, Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns), Gone Girl, and I'm about to start Single, Carefree, Mellow, which I've heard is amazing and can't wait to start. 

So, "When does she listen to all of these books?," you're asking yourself.  Major point of clarification here, so get ready. I decided some time ago that our thirty-minute ride to and from work/daycare is my time. What that means is that, yes, I am that arguably terrible mother who lets her child watch DVDs in the car with headphones on while I enjoy various music, audio books, etc. Sorry, but this is my one selfish thing. Let me have that. If the car ride is not an option for you, listening to a book is a lovely way to pass your lunch hour, weekend nap times or fall asleep. The Audible app even comes with a sleep timer. Say it with me again...tech-no-lo-gy.

My second obsession along these lines is the podcast. Again, probably late to the party on this one too. Anyway, there's this cute little purple doohickey on my iPhone called a podcast app. It basically works like the App Store in that you can search various topics or titles for relevant FREE podcasts. I started with "Serial" and finished nearly eleven hours of content in less than a week. If you don't know the story behind "Serial" here's a great place to get the backstory. Warning: It is a wildly addictive real-life murder/mystery tale hosted by reporter Sarah Koenig that you may or may not find yourself listening to, not only while driving, but any time you can sneak in a listen here or there. Which may mean while you're in the bathroom. I don't judge...probably because I may have done it. 

Once I finished "Serial" I wanted to find more. There are literally tons to listen to. This American Life (the platform from which "Serial" was aired and which is also searchable via the podcast app) is a fantastic resource for a whole host of them on different topics. While I haven't fully explored the rest of that particular series, I am currently listening to one called "Go Bayside". If you are circa your thirties in age, you may remember this little gem of a show called Saved by the Bell. If you're as much of a fan of this cult classic as I am, you'll fully appreciate and also become addicted to this series of, yes, eighty-some-odd glorious episodes where comedian April Richardson invites an also mildly-famous friend over to her West Hollywood apartment to watch an episode and then fully dissect each one in the order they aired for our listening pleasure.  Each week it's a different friend and a new barrel of laughs.  Some had never watched the show in it's hey day, and some are as obsessed as April (and myself) are or were at the time.  It is currently making me all kinds of happy, so I absolutely recommend it if you are looking for mindless entertainment of the nostalgic variety.

It's as easy to lose yourself in parenthood as in anything else. I wanted to share these two fabulous distractions because they have genuinely made my life more enjoyable and allow me to focus on aspects of adult life that are just about me.  Because we all need that.  And I don't know about you, but I don't plan on spending every car ride between now and 2030 listening to Kids' Place Live.

Stay sane and entertained!


  1. I really enjoy this series. I never thought about Audible so this was interesting to know. I agree, I need some time to think as well.

  2. I love audio books! I love real books, but in an effort to get my husband "reading" again I started picking up audio books for him to listen to on his way to work. He has listened to quiet a few that way and they are great for our road trips too. I try to find ones that are littles suitable so that we don't have to worry about what they are hearing.