30 Days of Thanks #5- Librivox.org
I rarely listen to music when I run. Somehow it messes with my mind. I tend to focus on how many songs I’ve run through rather than how far I’ve actually gone. At the end of every track I find myself in a mental battle to keep running through another song and if I feel that four more minutes is too much, I am likely to quit before I intended. Maybe I just have very little will-power, but when I recognized this problem I had to find a solution.
I tried running with no music and that was even worse. When all I had to think about was how much I wanted to stop, I did. If that two second silence between tracks was enough time to decide to stop for the day, you can imagine my inner struggle during silence for an entire two miles. I had to find something to listen to that would keep my mind occupied but wouldn’t have so many breaks and pauses that I would have obvious quitting points.
After I discovered that Handel’s Messiah, despite its lack of track separations, just wasn’t an ideal soundtrack for cardiovascular exercise, I found Librivox.org. They have thousands of audio books for free. They can offer it so cheaply because it’s all public domain material (that means so old the copyright has run out). Every book is read by a volunteer so sometimes you’d rather listen to a cheese grater filing off someone’s fingernails so they can be scraped against a chalkboard than that guy’s voice, but I’ve only had to turn off one recording because I couldn’t remove my earbuds fast enough to avoid the inevitable nightmares.
Here are a few authors that I’ve listened to while running because their writings don’t require too much thought and are fast-moving stories:
- Edgar Rice Burroughs– He is known best as the author of Tarzan, but I have really enjoyed his Mars and Venus sci-fi stuff too. Be forewarned that you can’t take it too seriously.
- Jules Verne– More old sci-fi. I’ve enjoyed listening to a few of his books that I’d never had the opportunity to read like Off on a Comet and The Blockade Runners.
- Mark Twain as read by John Greenman– He is a tremendous reader and brings the characters to life. I especially enjoyed The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson.
I don’t get to read for pleasure nearly as much as I like, (I mean, who has time for books and TV?) so Librivox is a great way for me to “read” some classics without missing out on the real important things in life like college football. It may seem weird, but sometimes I go running just to here the next chapter in a book. It doesn’t work that way for everybody, but it does for me.
Today, November 5, I am thankful that Librivox.org provides free audio books and to the readers who donate their time.