Day 230: Reading Is Fundamental

Reading Is Fundamental

Reading Is Fundamental

I ran across the photo above via my Google Photos. It’s from a few years ago, on a cold winter day when my wife and I were reading in bed. She’s reading on her tablet while I was reading an actual printed book.

We both agreed that books are still our preferred method of reading, but we’re not anti-technology, either. Any reading is better than none.

As the old saying goes, Reading Is Fundamental.

Day 61: Reading Through My Earbuds

World War Z audiobook

World War Z audiobook

After writing about a few of the podcasts I enjoy while commuting or working out, I added a few audiobooks to my phone for future listening. The first, World War Z, was excellent and you can read my review of it here.  As I noted in my review, it was vastly superior to the Brad Pitt movie that barely registered a “meh” with me. Having a large all-star voice cast definitely made the audiobook experience a pleasant one.

So pleasant, in fact, that after I finished it, I immediately borrowed David Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls from my local digital library. Having read most of Sedaris’ books, this is my first audio version of his work and it’s been terrific so far. The subject matter is familiar (a collection of essays on various subjects, told through the author’s unique point of view), but the fact that Sedaris reads it himself makes this a must-listen; he’s an outstanding storyteller. I was fortunate to attend his performance in Santa Barbara last year and I’d see him again in a heartbeat.

For now, I’ll settle for reading his latest book through my earbuds.

Day 33: Podcasting

(Logo from the official website)

For most of my life, I’ve listened to music during various activities: working out, road trips, Christmas shopping, etc. Even if I didn’t have a CD, I’d flip through radio stations of whatever city I was in. The one exception? Sports. Whether it was Chick Hearn with the Lakers, Vin Scully with the Dodgers, or an anonymous announcer doing the NFL game of the week, listening to a game was one non-music pleasure I enjoyed.

This has changed as I’ve gotten older. Now, I prefer listening to audiobooks or podcasts while doing the same activities. Instead of passively listening to music (which was usually something I’d already listened to countless times), I feel more engaged as I take in the narrator’s words. Fiction or nonfiction, it doesn’t matter; sometimes I’d borrow a foreign language CD from the library to download onto my iPod and learn a few Italian or Spanish phrases.

Recently, I finished a season’s worth of Serial, a true-crime podcast released late last year. Serial is composed of a dozen 40+ minute episodes covering the story of a convicted murderer. I downloaded the first episode to listen to during a workout and was instantly hooked.

What I found so compelling was the roller-coaster ride of the podcast. One episode, I thought the convicted murderer was innocent, the next I thought he was guilty; quite often, the question of his innocence/guilt flip-flopped several times during the same episode. It’s a testament to Sarah Koenig’s brilliance as a podcaster. Every episode was engaging and well presented. Did the State present a cut-and-dry case of first-degree murder? Did the defense miss important details that could have exonerated a young man? It’s utterly fascinating, from start to finish. I highly recommend listening to the first episode, but do so at your own risk: you’ll soon be hooked and find yourself binge-listening, just as I did.