Audiobooks And Speech Patterns

I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Part of this is due to my commute; I work in a different town than where I live, which means I’ve got a 50 minute commute each way (and that’s on a good day). Yes, I realize that to people who live in “real cities,” this number sounds like a refreshing dream. I get that. However, this shit is relevant and to me, an hour and a half in the car each day is a long time.

Since you can only listen to your music collection so many times before it turns into the audio equivalent of a used piece of gum, I keep a steady supply of audiobooks on hand to keep me occupied. I realized early on that this plan has the added benefit of helping me pad out the stats on my Goodreads page and also makes me seem like an amazing library employee, because I’m reading so many damn books all the time.

A good audiobook is addictive in a weird way: you’ll start hoping for red lights or traffic jams so you can listen longer. I also listen while walking, or running, or shopping, or eating lunch, or really doing anything where I have a reason to ignore the outside world beyond the bare minimum attention necessary to not get hit by a car.

I’ve noticed a strange side effect from so much immersive listening. For a brief time after I’ve finished the book, I can often find myself speaking like the book’s reader, particularly when I’m talking to somebody about the book.

This was pointed out to me while I was explaining one of my favorite moments in Bill Maher’s The New New Rules about how the fact that the NFL is socialist is the reason why it is an objectively better sport to watch than the MLB due to the latter being capitalist. Since Maher himself was the reader for the audiobook, this meant I had a pretty decent impression going during my retelling of the chapter.

Sadly, the effect fades after a day or so, perhaps because by then, I’ve started another audiobook. It certainly means this little habit isn’t one I can use to entertain friends at parties.

I’m a little concerned by this realization, because my current audiobook is Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, which is awesome and hilarious, but it, too, is read by the author and I’m a bit concerned that by the end of the book, I’m going to have “holy shit, ya’ll” in my lexicon for a few days.

That’s going to be weird.

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