Basically, I joined Audible (an online audiobook service) because I don't want my dogs to die early. Cordie, at almost eight, is at the age where we need to keep her as a healthy as possible in order to keep her around as long as possible (Golden's have a life expectancy of 10-12 years old), and Chomsky is going to have a lifelong battle with his weight (he's a Lab with a metabolism slower than molasses).
What, still don't get it?
I come from the camp that thinks exercise can prevent/solve/improve 90% of health problems in both people and animals, and now that the summer is winding down my dogs need daily (or at least 5 days a week) walks that are 30-60 minutes long. I've always been pretty good about making sure they get out to play every day, but that really isn't a substitute for structured activity, like walking and swimming. Some days this is easy- my neighborhood is very safe, there are lots of different routes, and my dogs walk relatively easily. Other days, I'm prone to laziness, not wanting to be alone with my thoughts (ah, the plight of the class over-analyzer), or lack of time. Enter audiobooks.
My first, and foremost rule about audiobooks is that one cannot say they've read a book when they've just in fact listened to it- audiobooks do not count as reading. With this in mind, I will only download books that I've read before and that I own- no exceptions, ever. This is hard, because there are some books I'm interested in but have no interest in actually reading (like Tina Fey's Bossy Pants, or Steve Jobs' biography). Nonetheless, no exceptions. I also only plan to listen to them when I walk or if I have to drive far (like to visit my family) alone. That's it.
I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of another monthly payment, but Audible really isn't a bad deal, considering how much audiobooks cost (much more than expected, by the way). The first month was free, the next three months are $7.99, and after that it's $14.99 a month. You get one book a month included in the price, and then 30% off anything else you want to download. There's an iPhone ap, which is nice, and you can also download them into iTunes. Personally, I don't see myself listening to more than one book a month, and since most cost at least $20 it's worth it. And you cancel whenever you want, which is great since I hate commitment (um, except in regards to marriage).
The first book I got was A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving- I haven't read it since senior year in high school, so this is a nice refresher. I want to get some classics in the future that I had to read in high school and college, like maybe Emma or some Thomas Hardy. I started listening to Owen Meany yesterday and I've noticed that I definitely have to train myself to focus- my mind wanders constantly. For now I think it's a good distraction for walks, but I'm not completely sold it will last. Like everything else in my life, we'll just have to see!