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Making Good Use of Time

February 6th, 2012

Mr Chiots and I love listening to audiobooks while we’re on long car trips. We usually try to pick a few that are relevant to the trip itself, the areas we’ll be driving through, the places we’re visiting, important people from the are, and books about history from the area. In the fall of 2010 when we traveled through New England we listened to Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck. It’s the perfect traveling audio book since it’s all about his travels around the United States. We also listened to Walden by Henry David Thoreau since we were planning on visiting his little cabin.


On our way out west this past summer, we listened to Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Steven Ambrose which explains in great detail the Lewis & Clark expedition. This was the perfect book for this journey because we traveled much the same route that they took and saw the names of rivers and mountains along our route. We also listened to O Pioneers! by Willa Cather. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand was started, but we didn’t get through it all by the time we got home. We have yet to finish it.



Since we enjoy post-apocalyptic books and movies, One Second After by William R. Forstchen kept us riveted during one of our LONG days of driving through Wisconsin and North Dakota. During out 26 hours of driving to Maine and back this past week we listened to The Hunger Games and caught up on a podcast we enjoy listening to.

We still have a few audio books on deck, mainly for our trip to Florida later this spring. They certainly are a great way to pass the time and, when you choose the right book, to learn something about the area while you’re driving. It’s a great way to make use of that time when you can’t do much else. I don’t like audio books any time but when I’m in the car. Mr Chiots loves them and listens to them all day long when he’s coding websites.

Have you ever listened to an audio book? Any great historical books or books related to geographic regions to recommend?

26 Comments to “Making Good Use of Time”
  1. Diane on February 6, 2012 at 7:02 am

    I listen to audiobooks almost every evening, and I’ve been doing it enough years that I’ve gone from cassettes to CDs and now to downloads from audible.com. Insomnia started it all. Listening to a book would disconnect my mind from its worry tracks, involve me in a story, and let me go to sleep, every time. Still does. I have favorites that I’ve heard many, many times.

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  2. Andrea Duke on February 6, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I went to a book sale at my library in the fall and they had audiobooks for .10/each!

    Most of the ones I bought were for children (Ramona, Dear Mr Henshaw, etc…) but I can’t tell you how much we both enjoyed them. They took me back to books I enjoyed as a kid and they were great for him, since he does not care for music very much.

    He and I drove to FL for Chistmas and listened to the last of them, so I need to make sure I go to the next booksale and stock up on some more.

    Speaking of post-apocalyptic books, have you read The Road or World Mady by Hand?

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  3. Jennifer Fisk on February 6, 2012 at 7:54 am

    When I make the drive from Maine to upstate NY to visit my Dad, I listen to a James Patterson book. Sure does make the miles go by seemingly faster.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  4. Randy on February 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

    While traveling Northwest Illinois I listened to The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Very eye-opening and sometimes chilling account of where our food comes from.

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  5. Lee on February 6, 2012 at 8:58 am

    We love audiobooks. We love Harry Potter, Raold Dahl and many others. The next time you drive to NE, EB White has best NE accent reading his stories. My husband and I enjoy Charlotte’s Web more than the kids.

    Reply to Lee's comment

  6. daisy on February 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

    What a great idea to match the book with where you are traveling!
    I love audio books, but prefer to use the old-fashioned type of reading.
    Isn’t it just magical how lost you can get in stories? I guess that’s why I love writing so much.
    Fantastic pictures!
    daisy´s last post ..Homemade Rice Milk

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  7. K.B. on February 6, 2012 at 9:35 am

    On one of the drives from Saskatchewan to Ontario, I listened to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, but I find audiobooks aren’t for me. My mind starts wandering, then I realize I’ve missed a critical part of the book and have to go back and listen again, then my mind starts wandering, then I realize I’ve missed a critical part of the book and have to go back and listen again, then my mind starts wandering…

    This doesn’t happen when I’m actually reading a book, just listening to one. On a related note, I find it really hard to just sit and watch TV – I have to be *doing* something…
    K.B.´s last post ..What about seed miles?

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    • Susy on February 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      I have this problem with certain books but not others. I find I need a complex book to keep my mind on topic, otherwise my mind wanders too.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Julia on February 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

    One Second After is one of my favorite books! Hunger Games was also great. If you like that type of fiction try A World Made by Hand, or The World Ends in Hickory Hollow. Both great reads if you have not alreadt read them.
    Julia´s last post ..Cast Iron Breakfast Frittata

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    • Susy on February 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks, we’ll be adding those to the iPod for future travels!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. songbirdtiff on February 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Do you guys ever fly? I’m a non-flyer, and I don’t meet many people who are as starkly against it as I. I prefer to enjoy the journey rather than zoom through the air way too close to strangers in a sealed up tube. Our next big trip will probably be to DC and NYC for a museum tour and I think we’ll take a train.

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  10. Traci on February 6, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I always have an audiobook going in my car. I drive quite a bit and it makes me feel like I am making good use of the time. I get an extra 10-20 books a year read that way. I read a variety of things and a lot based on what I can get from the library. But some of my all time favorites are Bill Bryson’s books, especially A Walk in the Woods, about his journey along the Appalachian trail. I also liked In a Sunburned Country about Australia. He mixes history with his personal experiences and there is a lot of humor. Interesting, enjoyable reads…or listens.

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    • Kathi Cook on February 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      I love all of Bill Bryson’s books too, especially A Walk in the Woods which I have multiple times!

      Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

  11. Mich on February 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I hardly ever drive any long distances so I have never listened to an audibook. i have to admit that I love the old fashioned paper book something about handling a book, turning the pages….probably the reason why i havent bought a kindle. But am I running out of book shelves…yes!

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  12. Ginny on February 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    We love audiobooks, too. You may find that you can check them out electronically from your library. The reader makes such a difference! I like listening to biographies and kids’ novels.

    Reply to Ginny's comment

  13. Pat on February 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I’ve been listening to audiobooks for years. I used to have a 45 minute drive twice a day to work until I retired, so I treasured that time by listening to many books thanks to Audiobooks, including the entire Hunger Games series, and several mentioned above. If you enjoyed One Second After, you will love Alas, Babylon. It was the first post-apocalyptic book that I listened to, and it remains one of the very best. Have been enjoying your writings on the blog, keep up the good work!
    Pat´s last post ..Photo challenge…

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  14. zooperson on February 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I drive a lot so I have listened to audiobooks for many years–everything from History of the United States to Garrison Keillor’s Pontoon, which was a major hoot but with messages tucked in there. Also how to Appreciate Great Music (from the Teaching Company) was excellent. Harry Potter was wonderful even though fantasy is not my favorite genre. The reader is important, important, important.

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  15. Kathi Cook on February 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    The Orchid Theif is a fun,interesting read about Florida. Not sure if it is on audio.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

  16. josie on February 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I am such a huge fan of audio books! We have three children and they love them as well. They are so much better for car trips than an in car DVD player for children because without the visual input they need to really listen to follow the story. My kids would choose an audio book over a movie 10 times out of 10. We enjoy listening to classics and it is a nice way to share these stories told by some acomplished narrators. We have listened to Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh and the 100 acre woods, The wizard of Oz, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, the Wind in the Willows (which is lovely narrated) We also enjoyed Jim Dales narration of “Peter and the star catchers” a Peter Pan story. I could go on an on The Redwall books are outstanding. Besides being enjoyable, keeping a trip calm, and fun…there is nothing quite like your 9 year old quoting Mark Twain! We will be taking a long trip out west in early May I am going to definately have the Lewis and Clark book on hand.
    I also like to listen to audio books while cleaning, and walking the dog.

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  17. Jodiana on February 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I LOVE books on cd. All kinds. They make driving anywhere very enjoyable. The only problem I have is when I get cut off in traffic….I kinda lose my train of thought. :(

    Reply to Jodiana's comment

  18. KimH on February 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I enjoy audio books when I have an opportunity to listen to them. When I go to western NY a few times in the summer, I usually have one playing and
    I also listen to them when my job requires me to sit at a solder station hour upon hour, making solder joint upon solder joint… I enjoy those times.

    I tend to listen to mind, body, spirit, self improvement, and neuroscience & other biology related books.. I’ve listened to quite a few biographies & autobiographies too.

    The only fictional book I can think of that I listened to was “The Help” which was rofl hilarious. They guys I work with were rolling their eyes at me when I’d burst out laughing since I had headphones on and they had no clue Fun Fun in the neighborhood.

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  19. Stone Soup on February 7, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Funny thing, I read this post the other day. For some reason I was scrolling through the pics and noticed that you had listened to a book by William Forstchen. Bill was my history teacher in High School! Ha! It is a small world indeed! Oh the stories I could tell . . . he is highly unforgettable! lol

    Reply to Stone Soup's comment

  20. Ashley Winters on February 7, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I have a five year old who has ADHD. We have to give him food that has been made through organic farming as well as find something for him to do at every second of the day. Ebooks are absolutely great for him especially on long trips.
    He doesn’t like to do anything that requires a challenge, but listening to some of his favorite books is a great way to get him learning and it also helps his imagination
    On top of having ADHD, he also has MMR, so the more learning he has the better. He enjoys the interacting books, but also likes simple stories like Cinderella, Dinosaur books, and of course Sponge Bob. If anyone knows any good books that I could get for him please let me know.
    Ashley Winters´s last post ..Organic Wine or Conventional Wine?

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  21. Jessica on February 7, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I loved The Hunger Games trilogy.

    I have a two-hour round trip commute to work four days a week so I listen to a lot of audio books. I highly recommend all of Bill Bryson’s audiobooks for long car rides. He’s both funny and interesting. I listen to a lot of American history in the car. And books about food. (I have nearly all of Michael Pollan’s books as audiobooks, and I haven’t finished listening to them yet.)

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  22. Seren Dippity on February 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I can listen to audio books in the car if it is a biography or a self help tape (Tony Robbins type) probably any nonfiction… I love NPR and their interviews and talk shows. BUT I cannot listen to a story. I get too involved in the story that I catch myself sitting at stop signs waiting for the light to change or wandering off the road. Or I focus so much on the traffic I miss something important in the story.

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  23. Sue Fiorentini on May 7, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I, too, love audio books. I find I have a hard time staying on task (menopause?) but with an audio book playing I can finish anything. I love all types of books from murder,history, self-help, and pop culture. I would recommend Nevada Barr and C.J. Box. Both C.J. Box ‘s Joe Pickett character will be a favorite of yours too.

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