Have you heard? Books sound great!

August 19, 2016

i love hot coffee

If I have a free Saturday morning, my guilty pleasure is to cycle Betsy Breezer up to Jane & Annette to buy a coffee & danish at Patisserie 27. The pastry is delicate and the flavours devine. I allow my taste buds to be transported to Paris albeit my view is Jane Street. I allow myself to relax for a few minutes just savouring the moment.

Danish Picture

Calgary Jennifer shared her vice with me via twitter. She listens on headphones to audiobooks while knitting so she doesn’t disturb her partner. If that’s her only vice she’s a saint and I want her for my BFF.

I’ve been thinking about audiobooks because I had chosen it as a theme for my Global TV appearance in August - you know I love alliteration! But also because I recently visited the Centre for Equitable Library Access CELA. It’s at the CNIB on Bayview Avenue.

I learned that CELA assists those who are not only blind but who may have a print disability which is a learning, physical or visual disability that prevents a person from reading print material. CELA also supports public libraries of all types, including rural and First Nations libraries.

Did you know that as a Canadian with a print disability you have the right to accessible public library services? CELA makes it possible and easy for all public libraries in Canada to provide materials in a broad range of accessible format, with both high tech and conventional delivery methods … all to meet the needs of the individual. With our aging population this becomes a lifeline for a large and growing segment of our population.

I witnessed machines & robots producing One Use Only audiobooks that are mailed free to 4,500 clients DAILY by the Canada Post. Impressive to say the least.

CELA Picture

I had a tour of the facility because I was participating in the Cycling for Libraries un-conference in Ontario – their first ever North American Tour!

cyc4lib six Picture Six Nations Public Library 50th Anniversary Celebration

what is Cycling for Libraries?

Founded in 2011, the Cycling for Libraries is an international cycling conference for librarians and library lovers. It aims to advocate libraries and increase awareness of the valuable services and resources that libraries offer to the community. I signed up because I’m a book and a cycling advocate. The schedule was 100km a day for 5 days. Could I do it? I didn’t know but if I didn’t try then I really wouldn’t know and when you’re in a group of 30 you have to keep pedaling! I am writing this after the fact so I did indeed survive and truly it was epic! Will I do it again? YES! 2017 will be in Helsinki and I can’t wait!!


I listened to a lot of audiobooks when my son was little because we’d play them on road trips. We learned all about muggles and wizards in each of the Harry Potter books (read them first then listened to the amazing and award-winning Jim Dale!) I have worked on learning Spanish off and on using Living Language but so far I won’t get far with “me gusta mucho el color de las paredes”

For those of us who work with words, here are some numbers that impress me: audio increases reading accuracy by 52% and improves comprehension by 76% !!

Children who are better listeners are also better learners.

85% of what we learn, we learn by listening. Combining print & audio increases recall 40% over print alone.

Pretty amazing let alone listening to great stories by skilled readers is fun! I call this Edutainment and I think it’s the best way to learn whether you’re a child or an adult - Mary Poppins had it right … a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.

awe-inspiring audiobooks for august

I have some suggestions for the family.

Here’s 30 minutes of a delightful and humorous verse!

“Oh, the places you’ll go!”

It’s a book that was written and illustrated by children’s author Dr. Seuss and first published by Random House on January 22, 1990, making it his last book published in his lifetime. The book concerns the journey of life and its challenges. Though written in the style of classics such as “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat”, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” has many specific characters including a narrator and the reader.

This is a perennial book to give as a gift for graduation because it communicates everything you’d want to say to someone you care about, no matter what the age or stage or life, embarking on a new journey or having a little trouble.

It’s also sweet, charming, and supportive like a good friend and it’s a book to revisit when you need a little encouragement and fortitude.

The CD has simple music in the background & it’s read with umph by award winning actor John Lithgow !

“Today is YOUR DAY – your mountain is waiting!”

On the same CD is “The Lorax”, a book written in 1971, long before saving the earth became a global concern.

“The Lorax” was Dr. Seuss’ personal favorite of his books. “The Lorax,” he once explained, “came out of me being angry. In The Lorax I was out to attack what I think are evil things and let the chips fall where they might.”

Again there is simple music in the background & this one is read by the award winning actor Ted Danson. (yes from Cheers)

I think this “shared experience of listening together” would initiate conversations.

Have I mentioned these are available in a book format and thus a great way to reinforce the printed words and the fluency of the reading. Plus it’s fabulous for comprehension and retention. The child doesn’t have to stay at their reading level and can read ‘up’ because someone else is reading to them. And consider this - you may not be the greatest at reading - not everyone is - so to take a break and let a professional read to both of you! That’s a win-win.

“Always Maintain a Joyful Mind And Other Lojong Teachings on Awakening Compassion and Fearlessness” by Pema Chödrön

This is a book & CD which compliments one another.

The book contains the Tibetan Buddhists’ collection of fifty-nine pith teachings (called lojong in Tibetan) to help develop wisdom and compassion amid the challenges of daily living. The lojong teachings include: “Always maintain only a joyful mind,” “Don’t be swayed by external circumstances,” “Don’t be so predictable,” and “Be grateful to everyone.” Each slogan is followed by Pema Chödrön’s accessible and succinct commentary on how to understand and apply it.

Included in the back is a CD featuring a forty-five-minute audio program entitled “Opening the Heart,” in which Pema Chödrön offers in-depth instruction on tonglen meditation, a powerful practice that anyone can undertake to awaken compassion for oneself and others.

Pema’s voice is warm and friendly and it’s easy to digest. She starts with …”WHAT IS TONGLEN?” Answer: DISCOVERING THE BARRIERS BETWEEN SELF & OTHERS Question: HOW DO I DISSOLVE THE BARRIERS? Answer: OPENING THE HEART/MIND.

The beloved Buddhist teacher guides you to on how to open your heart and your mind whey have habitually shut down. Take the 45 minutes to listen and take the steps to learning how to train the heart muscle.

“Me Before You” by JoJo Moyes is 14 hours of listening time but the talented cast of 6 actors makes the hours fly by .

“You’re late to the game” was said to me by a colleague as I hadn’t read the book nor seen the film. In order to ‘catch up’ I’m listening to this audio book as I cook and clean yet I found myself sitting on the floor of my kitchen weeping and/or laughing! If you don’t know the story, it’s a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, what do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

I found this review on goodreads and just had to reprint it: “Oh, for goodness sake, just listen to this. Me Before You is an utterly indescribable book. The publisher’s description put me off for quite a long time. But, all the glowing Audible reviews persuaded me to take an aural gander. OMG! Poignant, funny, captivating. Jojo Moyes is a writer to follow. She tackled a subject about which no one really wants to read, and made it an infinitely empathetic, oh so English, witty, inspiring tale of courage, reminding us of the amazing, magical gift another bestows on us when they truly listen and make an effort to understand—really grasp—who we are at our very core. The narrators were very good, especially Susan Lyons who does the main character. You will finish it, and sigh, and want so much to recommend it to others, but alas, Me Before You totally defies portrayal. All you’ll be able to say is, “It’s remarkable.”

what format do you enjoy best?

Whatever format you choose to “read” it’s all great right?! From the printed book, braille (I’ll be writing about this format another time as I just discovered DK Braille ), tablet or audiobook you are checking into a story, a world, a new thought and being transported by words.

If you’re interested, here’s me talkin’ about listenin’ on Global TV The Morning Show.

Bottom line … just read.

created by robertson mcclure