I was incapable of actually reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and yet I really very much wanted to. I just could not get into this book. I tried. I gave up. I tried again. I gave up again. I know that this is criminal to admit, because the whole world loved reading this book. But then, I did something that I thought might be the next-best thing:
I listened to an audiobook version of The Road.
And, unsurprisingly, I loved it. That is because this book is great, and while it is probably much better to actually read, I wouldn’t know, and I don’t think I care. And I am okay with this, because the version I listened to was a whole new experience for me. I am something of a noob when it comes to audiobooks. Audiobooks remind me of the Cracker Barrel, and thus they remind me of childhood, and of being kind of miserable. But The Road might have changed that. I found this listening experience to be absurdly pleasurable. It felt a little like cheating, sure, and it felt a little sneaky to listen to it while at work (I figure the catch is that my place of employment actually supplies us with audiobooks now, so this must be allowed?!), but at the end of an otherwise miserable and boring week at work, I could sit back and think “aha! I experienced a literary classic this week, and I didn’t have to read a word!”
I know this doesn’t count as reading, but you know what? It was as much fun as reading. Twice the fun, even, because I could do other things while the audio streamed. I am, without a doubt, hooked. I don’t necessarily believe that academic libraries providing students with audiobooks falls within an academic library’s mission, and I could talk about this for hours, blah blah, but I do think audiobooks are a format that could help auditory learners get more involved in fiction/non-fiction. Because otherwise, I never would have read this book. And with that, the possibilities are endless. Now I am thinking of all the things I just plain didn’t actually feel like reading but that I truly wanted to read, and I am searching for them, and queuing them, and hoping we buy them, and work already seems so much better.
And if this doesn’t actually count as reading a book (I don’t think it does), my only dilemma is do I actually have to go back and READ it to check it off my Pulitzer list? Probably, yes.
But at least I know the ending.