12+ My son loved books. And I loved reading to and with him in his early years and watching him grow into an independent reader. However, in his teenage years, he became a "reluctant reader". Thankfully, my son found audiobooks. And with a family account, he and I are building libraries of our favourites.
My son's library includes the seven-book Harry Potter series and Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection, both narrated by the silken voice of Stephen Fry. He's also added several travel books by Michael Palin, whose travel documentaries inspired my travels in the 1990s.
My library reflects how I read traditional books, with several on the go at once. At the moment, I'm dipping in and out of classics like Selected Hemingway Stories, Fahrenheit 451 and the Orwell Collection (Animal Farm and 1984). And in the nonfiction category, I'm enjoying The Storyteller by Dave Grohl and Can't Buy Me Love by Jonathan Gould (29 hours and 52 minutes on The Beatles!).
I have finished a dozen other audiobooks, fiction and nonfiction. And if pressed for my favourites, I would nominate three books:
Note: Click on a book cover to view on Amazon (affiliate links).
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin
Tunnel 29 by Helena Merriman
Traditional Books vs Technology
There are often debates in the ABC Book Club between traditionalists, those who prefer "real" books, versus those who have embraced technology, ebooks and audiobooks.
I love the feel of a "real" book, its weight in my hands and the tactile pleasure of turning pages. But I've also got a Kindle and various ebook apps on a tablet. And I share my blog posts and other writing for reading online on Tall And True.
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As I observed in another blog post, To Kindle or not to Kindle?, "real" books come in various formats and media nowadays. I still have a pile of paper-based books on my bedside table. But I have ebooks, too.
And, thanks to my son, when I'm out and about, I also have audiobooks.
© 2021 Robert Fairhead
N.B. You might like to read this earlier post on my son's journey with books, Bedtime Stories.
Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.
Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.
Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.
He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.