I’m in the season of baby-wrangling: my cute little wriggly bundle has me up all hours of the night and wants me or her father physically near all hours of the day. Anything I’m holding she wants to hold (and shove in her mouth) so my beloved physical books are collecting dust on a shelf!
Instead I’ve been experimenting with audiobooks, and here’s two things I’ve learned. Firstly, those thinky theological/philosophical books do not always translate well to audiobooks. Trying to follow the long and multi layered arguments in chapters of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self on audiobook, while getting frequently interrupted by baby, was beyond me.
Listening to Mikey Lynch read out his book The Good Life in the Last Days, with its short, focused chapters, was actually pretty doable though. I think it made a big difference having the author read his own book too: he understood it, and paced it well. I can highly recommend The Good Life in the Last Days for encouraging and practical reading/listening that helps you make good godly decisions about your time and energy spending.
Being the Bad Guys by Stephen McAlpine has also been a practical and clear book I’ve enjoyed listening to while taking baby for a walk in the pram. That book has kept my mind engaged around how to be a follower of Jesus wisely, so I don’t become all-consumed by the wonders and worries of being a new mum.
Secondly, I have to say, the mainstay of my reading (or rather, listening) has actually been fiction! I’m a big believer that stories shape the listener, for better or worse. Narratives have the power to shift your world view, your mood, and your opinions, without you fully realising it!
I’ve been listening to The Chronicles of Narnia, a children’s series by CS Lewis that I’ve loved since my childhood. It’s full of bravery and kindness and owning up to your mistakes; all character traits I wish to cultivate! In a similar vein, The Hobbit and Anne of Green Gables made for light-hearted listening that I like to think encouraged me to face the unknown adventure of being a new mum with courage and persistence.
I also listened through Harry Potter and have started The Keeper of the Lost Cities series—both written for tweens or teens—because they’re light-hearted adventures that it’s ok for me to miss a few sentences of when baby gets noisy. And they’ve illustrated for me how vital it is to ask for help and not be stubbornly self-reliant.
Perhaps my one exception to my no-physical-books experience was reading the beautifully illustrated The Little Pilgrims Progress by Helen Taylor. Following the key movements of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, it adapts this for children’s level. While I initially started reading to “screen” it for suitability for our girl one day, I ended up being richly encouraged in my own Christian walk.