How to Hit the Highway With Your Head in a Book | Reader's Digest

How to Hit the Highway With Your Head in a Book

By Jim Menick

June is Audiobook Month. If you aren’t already, now’s a good time to become a fan. My dedication to them began once I started driving to work. News radio is fine, I found, but a little goes a long way. Music is lovely, but gets mighty tinny without Carnegie Hall acoustics. Audiobooks, however! I have become a devoted listener. But they’re so distracting!, protest a good number of people who’ve never actually listened to books while driving. Absorbing, I insist, not distracting. Given that half the drivers I glance at during my morning commute are on their phones, applying makeup or reading iPads (seriously!), audiobooks are the least of it.

How to Hit the Highway With Your Head in a Book
An audiobook relies on performance to put across content. George Clooney, Tina Fey, Colin Powell, Tom Hanks and Stephen Colbert have all narrated audiobooks. But there are lesser-known readers, too, who are considered stars among audiophiles (Kate Reading, Scott Brick and Simon Vance, for three, each a knockout performer). Listening to a great book read aloud by a talented narrator might seem opposite to the experience, even the point of reading. But I enjoy it twice every working day. The dull commute almost completely disappears.

This morning I listened to a section of Douglas Adams’s The Restaurant at the End of the Universe read by actor Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, and PBS’s new Sherlock). As I drove my car up the parkway, my mind was on Frogstar World B. Just the right combination. Most public libraries have a nice selection to kick off your adventure. So fire up the audio, and go!