Born to Run, But Not To Drive

Image-1-1A few times a year, I drive from Austin to Phoenix, 28 total hours of boredom. I-10 makes up about three quarters of the trip. For those of you who’ve never driven that stretch, it is one of the most boring  roadways I’ve ever been on. It’s mostly flat and straight with unchanging views. I suppose it’s a well-designed highway, but it makes my brain go into sleep-mode.

A couple years ago, a friend started talking about the audiobooks she was reading, and I decided to try them again. They’re a life-saver! Audiobooks make that driving time as palatable as it can be.

I’ve had good luck with audiobooks on this stretch of road in the past. I do have to occasionally shut them off when the road gets too grooved or there’s too much crosswind to hear well, but it’s usually only a minor inconvenience.

On my most recent trip, I was listening to Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen. I’ve never been a fan of his music, particularly. I mean, I am an American and I grew up in the 80’s & 90’s, so I like “Born in the USA,” “Born to Run,” and “Dancing in the Dark.”

But his story is interesting to me. I love stories about people who’ve worked hard to make it in their chosen profession. Plus, there’s no denying that the man has a way with words and can make the most ordinary things sound like poetry.

I never really listened closely to Springsteen’s voice before. It’s unique: gravelly but soothing. While it makes for pleasant listening on headphones while I’m working around the house, it’s less well-matched for a car trip.

I couldn’t turn my car stereo loud enough to hear his voice consistently. And when I did, the bass in his voice made the speakers vibrate. This book was a good lesson on carefully choosing an audiobook, not only based on interest, but also based on narrator.

In my 28 hours on the road, I should have been able to finish this book, but it wasn’t meant to be. My audiobook loan will expire tomorrow, and though I’m pretty sure I could renew it, I’m not going to. I’d rather get the physical book and finish it that way instead.

As an aside, it was kind of funny to be driving and listen to him talk about driving from New Jersey to California in 72 hours. Though I’ve never done that exact trip, I felt his pain while I was feeling my own.

Have you ever had an audiobook narrator you enjoyed, but just didn’t work for you for some reason?


5 comments on “Born to Run, But Not To Drive

  1. Yes, that’s interesting. In my first experience using audiobooks, I found that I couldn’t focus on the high pitched voice. It grated my nerves and was really difficult for me to follow so I could not finish the audio book.

  2. Ramona Mead says:

    I’m bummed to hear you didn’t enjoy this one. I have always been a casual Bruce fan and now I’m totally in love with him! It’s unfortunate you couldn’t get into it because he truly is one hell of a storyteller. I loved hearing the stories behind the songs and why he chose to pursue his career as he did (being solely in charge of creative decisions with the band.) I hated when I had to take a break from listening. It felt like he was talking directly to me the whole time, so I was genuinely sad when it was finished, I missed Bruce!

    • doreeweller says:

      Actually, I did like it quite a bit. And doing everyday tasks, his narration worked great. But it wasn’t a fit for driving. The only reason I’m going to switch to paper book is to finish it; I generally only listen to audiobooks for about an hour a day.

  3. Believe it or not, I’ve only listened to one audiobook, ever.

    As far as Springsteen goes, I wasn’t a fan until “Darkness on the Edge of Town” came out. I got tired of the song “Born in the USA” because it was overplayed, and people loved it who never learned any of its lyrics except the title. Therefore, they missed the point of the song! I do own that LP as well as “Darkness on the Edge of Town” and “Nebraska.”

    • doreeweller says:

      He talks about Darkness on the Edge of Town being the album where he “grew up.” I don’t know most of the songs from that album, but after listening to the book, I’m curious.

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