When I visited California, ran each night along the Sanfranciso Bay Path, listening to Hamilton as I completed my evening runs (to In and Out Burger). By the time I joined BRG, the Hamilton Mixtape had provided the soundtrack for my runs. Those two albums remind of times I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried new things, both with life-changing results.
The week before the Gaspee Days 5k, I put together a Spotify playlist titled “Run Run Run,” filled with guilty pleasure tunes to get me through my first race as a “real runner.” As I continued my running, I added to the playlist but found that the playlist didn’t always match my mood and finding other playlists on Spotify. This was great until I started going over my data usage each month. When I attempted one of my first longer runs, I purchased an audiobook to try during the run. I was hooked! I often borrow audiobooks on CD from the library, to listen to on my ride to work. However, changing CDs and carrying a CD player during runs did not sound enjoyable. Audiobooks are expensive and I am cheap. Before signing up for a trial of Audible, I downloaded the OverDrive app from the library.
OverDrive allows you to borrow audiobooks for free. You can download the books, allowing you to listen without eating all of your precious data. It isn’t perfect. There are often long hold lines for popular books and you cannot renew books, something I often do when borrowing books on CD. However, I have never had an issue finding a book that I enjoyed. If I find myself getting close to the end of the two-week borrowing cycle, I listen to the book at a faster speed to ensure I complete it on time.
I have the best intentions to read more. Each year, I set a goal and track it using the Goodreads app, coming two books shy of last year’s goal of twenty-five books. This year, I have already “read” fifteen books in 2018, a mix of real books and audiobooks.
In my months of listening to audiobooks during long runs, I find myself preferring non-fiction and autobiographies over fiction. I also find myself listening to cheesy, celebrity autobiographies at an alarming rate. Here are a few of my favorite audiobooks:
A Man Called Ove
Last spring, I trudged through My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. I finished it over an extended period of time and didn’t love it. Hearing praise for A Man Called Ove, I decided to give Fredrik Backman another try. I loved this book! It tells the story of Ove, a crotchety old man, and his neighbors who insist on including him in their lives. I enjoyed the flashbacks explaining how Ove became his grumpy, particular self. I’ve heard rumors about it becoming a film; I would love to see this!
Yes, My Accent is Real and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You
I love The Big Bang Theory. At the recommendation of a friend, I found this book. I enjoyed hearing Kunal Nayyar discuss growing up in India and coming to the United States as a college student. My favorite passages were the ones in which he discusses his relationship with his father. I found myself wanting to spend time with his dad more than Kunal himself. Not that Kunal is at all offputting; his father offers him sage advice at pivotal times in his life.
Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and be Your Own Person
I have never watched a single episode of any of Shonda Rhimes’ shows, not because they do not interest me. I’ve missed her shows because they start at 9:00 and 10:00, a time I am already in bed asleep. By the time I’d hear how great a show was, I was already several seasons late to the party and never got around to tuning in. Year of Yes follows Shonda’s pledge to say “Yes” to every opportunity offered to her. I finished this book wishing to be her friend. I enjoyed her positivity, her appreciation for her life, and her notes on balancing work, motherhood, self-care, and adult relationships.
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
As someone who often admits that if I had history teachers as amazing as my English teachers, I probably would have become a history teacher, I thought I knew about my country’s history. This book enlightened me to a lot of things I did not know about the beginnings of America. It definitely made some of my longer runs go by quickly!
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life
Samantha Irby managed to leave me speechless! I loved this collection of essays about dating, work, and family. She is unapologetically honest, leading to hilarious one-liners that I would often repeat. This is the book I’ve recommended to every friend I know can handle Irby’s antics. From discussions about disastrous dates, her love/hate relationship with her cat, to adapting her friends who now have kids, We are Never Meeting in Real Life is a surprise that got me through a few great runs, even getting me to run longer at times because I wanted to hear how stories end.