Friday, August 26, 2016

Audiobook Associations

Anyone who opened my iTunes may think I'm insane.

For me, music has always been firmly attached to a certain time of year.  I have a fall playlist, a Christmas playlist, winter playlist, spring playlist, and summer playlist.  Also, each of these seasons has a corresponding "working playlist" that consists of instrumental songs that I associate with that particular season.  Songs get sorted with my own sorting hat - it has nothing to do with when the song was released, or when it got a ton of radio play.  It's all about where it "feels right" for me, or when I was listening to it at a certain time in my life.  

Here are some examples.

Carrie Underwood - Blown Away.  This is a Fall song.  I downloaded it shortly after Dominic was born in August, 2012 and listened to it a lot that fall when I was on maternity leave.  

Anything Stone Temple Pilots.  Fall songs.  They just remind me of high school in general, and naturally they belong on a playlist I'd be listening to while going back to school.  

Earth, Wind, & Fire - September.  By the title, you may think this is a Fall song but it's not.  It's a Spring song.  Because I did a unit on music of this genre while teaching my Spring semester Music Appreciation course and it got a lot of play for me in the spring.

My colleague and friend, Matt, likes to find a song on the radio and ask me what season it goes with.  And my answers are always very definitive.  

Anyway, hopefully you're still reading and didn't write me off as a complete nut.  

I was thinking this week about how audiobooks have similar connections in my head.  Not by season necessarily.  Since I'm listening to them mostly in the car, I can vividly remember where I was and what I was doing while listening to certain books.  Print books don't do this for me so much - I think it's because I read way more of them and because I'm not multitasking while reading.   

I wanted to share a few memorable audiobooks feels with you.  

Stephen King - The Tommyknockers.  This was one of the first audiobooks I really dug into after I finished with graduate school and didn't have a little baby anymore.  Dominic was older and I felt less stressed with his age and with the fact that every spare moment wasn't being crammed with school work.  I got hired to play in a string quartet for a wedding waaaay up in the white mountains of NH.  The ride took about 4 hours round trip.  As I said, my son was older and I felt so carefree going up to do this wedding gig.  I wasn't nursing anymore, so I didn't have to juggle anything besides getting there, playing, and going home.  It was a crisp fall afternoon and the foliage was gorgeous the further up in NH I drove.  The wedding was outside and the dark clouds parted shortly before the ceremony.  The time of year paired perfectly with a Stephen King novel.  I'll always remember feeling happy and fortunate to have some time to myself that wasn't being spent thinking about work/child rearing/homework. 

Craig M. Mullaney - The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education.  This is another wedding story.  I got hired to play at a different wedding in the white mountains.  This one was on a hot, summer day.  The wedding was at a camp (the guests all slept in cabins and they had activities planned like hiking and stuff) and the ceremony was on the shore of the lake.  I had recently finished re-watching Band of Brothers, so this book caught my eye.  I remember listening and being completely riveted.  It was one of my first nonfiction audiobooks.  I don't remember ever reading anything else about war or the military and I was surprised at myself that I was really enjoying what Mullaney had to say, and that it kept my interest so intently.    

Max Barry - Lexicon.  I travel to some houses to teach private violin/viola lessons.  I was listening to this fall and early winter.  I absolutely loved it and can vividly remember times when my students were tuning their instruments and I was still processing what was happening in the book.  In some cases, I only had a 10 minute drive between houses but I was consuming the audiobook in those small bits of time because I just didn't want to stop listening.  These nights of teaching (I only do it once a week and it makes for a really long day when you start your regular job at 7:19am) are usually super long and tiring.  I was also going through kind of a rough time personally.  I remember that this book was holding my interest and keeping my mind from wandering.  It took these long evenings and made them great because it was an excuse to spend time with this book!    

Nyomi Novik - Uprooted.  I just finished this one last week but I know it'll be in my memory.  This summer I spent three weeks, 8 months pregnant, working at summer music camp.  It was hot!  My four-year-old was either at daycare or with grandparents for most of the days so I had the commute to myself - 50 miles each way.  This book was long - almost 18 hours - so I started it at camp and finished the week following.  This was one of my favorite audiobooks ever.  Even on the rare days that the temperatures were not upper 90's and humid I chose air conditioning (I'd usually have the windows open) so I could hear the narrator better.  I vividly remember Dominic being at daycare, teaching some music lessons, and listening to this book on my drive home, on my phone speaker on the walk from the car to the house, and immediately putting it on a speaker while in the house.  I didn't want to lose any time on that 30 second walk into the house.  It was that good.  I will also remember being pregnant with our second kid and needing the amazing story to keep me from listening to music, zoning out, and stressing about adding another child to our lives!  

Tell me about yourselves!  Do you listen to music by season like me, or am I completely weird?  Do you have some vivid memories associated with audiobooks or print books?  Leave them in the comments!  

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