The App That Ruined My Life

It all started when I was driving to Ohio to visit family for Christmas in 2011. I usually drive solo and pass the hours singing at the top of my lungs to my Sugarland album collection. On this particular trip, I wasn’t traveling alone. My companion suggested that we listen to an audio book. After much debate he downloaded The Hunger Games and we started listening.

My intentions were to:

  1. Hate “The Hunger Games.”
  2. Hate audio books.

I was wrong on both counts. I hate being wrong.

Upon arriving in Ohio and after putting my traveling companion on a plane back to New Orleans I was faced with a serious dilemma: an unfinished series. I bit the bullet, signed up for Audible, and promptly downloaded the second book in The Hunger Games series. And then of course, the third.

Slow Build

My family complained about me hiding in the guest room and constantly walking around in headphones but I didn’t care- a book is a mission. I finished the series somewhere in Mississippi during my drive back to New Orleans. I listened to music the rest of the way home but it wasn’t the same. I was ruined.

After I got back home & back to my routine I forgot about Audible for a few weeks. Then I decided to finally tackle Atlas Shrugged. I read about 75% of the way through the traditional paper book before I got frustrated. It’s a beast of a novel and Ayn Rand is a wordy writer, no matter what you may think of her world views.

To take some of the stress off of my eyes and some of the weight out of my handbag, I turned back to Audible. I listened in my car, on the bus, while putting on my makeup, and while keeping up with mindless work. I finished in two days what would’ve taken me over a week of actually reading in my limited free time.

Then came another roadtrip to Ohio. I knew an audiobook would make the time go faster so I downloaded an old favorite – Pride and Prejudice. I wasn’t overjoyed with the quality of the narrator but I love the story and style of Jane Austen so much that I let it slide. The audio was only 11 hours and I finished it as I pulled into the driveway at the end of my trip.

In the meantime I had been watching HBO’s Game of Thrones series. I loved the show but was getting some flack from my fellow fantasy readers for not having read any of the books. I figured since I had 15 hours on the road home, I could give the first book a shot. This is when my life, in the words of the Fresh Prince, “got twist turned upside down.”

The Addiction

From May 14th to July 9th I listened to 13 days, 15 hours, and 22 minutes of audio.

Let that sink in a little.

During a 57 day period, I spent 23.966666% of my time listening to Game of Thrones. Or more accurately, listening to A Song of Ice and Fire. But nobody calls it that anymore.

Everywhere I went I was accompanied by earbuds. Outside of my immediately necessary obligations of work, procuring food and shelter, and speaking with people who refused to acknowledge that I was wearing earbuds, my life was Game of Thrones.

When I got on a plane I would sit in my window seat, put my earbud in for the ear that was closest to the window, run the cord under my sweater, and cover my ear with my hair. Using this method I didn’t even have to stop listening for take-off and landing. I DO always use airplane mode; I’m not a total rule breaker.

I streamed from the minute I woke up (pause for shower) to the minute I got to work. I then resumed streaming from the minute I left work until the minute I went to bed. Sometimes I had to rewind a little in the morning because I was so tired I didn’t remember what happened in the story right before I fell asleep.

Arya Stark is my favorite character in the series. She's left handed and also known as Arya Underfoot, Arya Horseface, Arry, Nan, Salty, Cat, and Beth at various points in the series.

I spent one particularly tumultuous point in the books crying on a bus in New Orleans. I spent many nights in hotel rooms saying, “WHY?!” when things in the story didn’t go my way.

I’m pretty sure I spent more time listening to, contemplating, and dreaming about Game of Thrones than any drug addict does about his next hit. I can’t be sure because I’ve never been a drug addict. I’ve only been addicted to books.

The End (I hope)

I finished the 5th and most recently published book in the Game of Thrones series on July 9th, 2012. George R. R. Martin is currently working on the 6th book. For my sake I hope he takes his time.

In the meantime, I’m back to finishing all of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels and throwing in the occasional psychology book.  In real, paper book form. A book addict like me just can’t handle the IV-injection that is Audible.