History and Commuting

I spend about eight hours a week commuting, between work and school. Many people drive more than that, but I’ll certainly say that this is more than enough for me. Listening to the radio is not a good solution for me . . . the news is both shallow and rage-provoking, while music stations provide little control and incessant commercials.

Audiobooks (and to a lesser extent, podcasts) have been a great boon over the last few years. My local library system has an extensive selection of unabridged books on tape, and I’ve dipped deeply into their selection.

First words of advice: don’t go for the abridged versions. I once made the mistake of listening to one of these travesties for a book I knew quite well: it was butchery. The resulting text lacked any depth or subtlety . . . not only paragraphs, but also portions of sentences were removed!

I’ve had the best luck with non-fiction, particularly history. It’s easy to engage with the narrative for a half-hour or an hour, and it sets a thoughtful tone for the day. It’s great not to dread traffic jams . . . no matter how bad the congestion becomes, the drive remains a mental oasis in a sometimes stressful day.

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