Thursday, 29 September 2016

Listening to my books - Lake Wobegon Days

The reading my books project is going fairly well, but I have started on something new.  Listening to books.

I have listened to books on tape - or CD - for many years, well over 20, perhaps 30, I am not really sure how long in fact.  I got out of the habit though, other things came along, these days I tend to "listen" to TV shows or podcasts on my computer while working.  The books that I did have on tape or CD languished and I haven't added to the collection for many years now.

The listening to books has had a revival lately though.  We have introduced Lady, who cannot see to read any more, to books on tape.  She cannot cope with CD's as they don't stay in the same place when you turn them off, whereas when you stop a tape it just stops.  She can also operate a little portable tape player even though she cannot see the buttons, she knows where they are.

So the search started for books on tape.  Charity shops, a giant haul on that well known online auction site and being lent or given them by other people.  Each one is carefully checked first to make sure it plays, then wound or rewound to the start of each tape and a large number stuck on each side so that Lady can make out which way round to put the tape in.  Lady loves them. They give her hours of pleasure, she can "read" on her own, at her own pace and in bed if she wants to as well which she likes.

Of course this does mean that there is soon a mound of books that Lady has listened to.  She will probably listen to them again, and in the meantime they sit waiting for her.  So I have borrowed a few of the listened to ones.  They are what now accompanies me as I sit in my office sewing or working.  As I go through them I will give you a brief review a couple at a time.  Here is the first!


Lake Wobegon Days written and read by Garrison Keillor

This was an really interesting listen.  I will always think of it when I look at and use the item that I was sewing as I listened to it in fact, I can just tell!  This was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1989.  It was still just as good a listen today as it must have been back then.

Garrison Keillor is the author of several tales about the fictional Lake Wobegon and you can read more about him and the books here - it is well worth a read!  I had never heard of him or Lake Wobegon before, but if there are any more books by him in Lady's collection I will be hoping to borrow those.

I don't think that a time period for the story was given specifically, but I imagined it in the 1950's small town America in the Midwest somewhere, St Cloud which is in Minnesota is mentioned, so you can perhaps imagine what I imagined.

Stories of a Norwegian founding father of the town, picking tomatoes endlessly during the summer, of Christmases and decorations made by the school children.  All fairly run of the mill daily happenings, but interesting, well written and well read too.

I have no idea if you are ever likely to come across a way to listen to this, but if you do, take the opportunity.  It is gentle and easy and comforting and you will not regret it.


This is one of the posts that I wrote in August to be published in September but publishing it got delayed by my need to take a blog break.


  1. I love listening to books Amy. It's great when you are knitting and sewing. Great chunks of time disappear and I seem to get so much work done! Often use radio down loads as well for their book at bedtime or afternoon theatre which is great. Thinking of you all today. Hope all goes the best way it can. B xxx

  2. Maybe that is something I should do listen to books as my reading as certainly slowed down to almost zero of late.

  3. It sounds like a lovely story. I've never used audio books but they must be a lifeline to those who can't read themselves. My mum was an avid reader but she's now in the early stages of dementia so once she puts a book down, she can't remember what she's read. She does still read but she's been on with the same book, reading the same part over and over again, for the last few months. It's very sad to see as she loved reading so much.

  4. I used to love listening to books on tape when I painted designs all day! I think I heard this one on the radio a long time ago...definitely time for a re read (or maybe listen!)Hope things are going well for you today.
    Helen xox

  5. I have an old Walkman cd player that has a "resume" button, so when I stop and restart, it takes me right back to where I left off. I love listening to books. My favorite is Charlotte's Web, narrated by the author, E.B. White, who has a wonderful voice!

  6. Lake Wobegon Days was one of my teenage listens on the radio (I had weird tastes for a teenager) and I love his voice. He's the Prairie Home Companion man as well, isn't he?
    Listening books are a godsend for those days when you need to listen to a story but have no hands free. I love decorating to them, as well!

  7. Oh, it's a cultural fixture in the USA. Lots of people love it.

  8. Amy, I haven't listened to a book in decades! I think the last one I listened to was All Creatures Great and Small. Thanks for reminding me of this -- it sounds like something I need to try again.

  9. That's great news that Lady can enjoy the tapes, I'm sure she'll be so pleased. x

  10. I remember listening to that on Radio 4 all those years ago! I have started 'listening' to books again, great for when you are painting walls :)

  11. My daughter listens to podcasts and books on her kindle. At just 34 her eyesight is demonishing and this has worked great for her.

  12. Love Lake Woebegon "where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average." Garrison Keillor has such a calming, nice voice.

  13. Well I haven't listened to the tape (lack of hearing being my issue!) I have read the book Lake Woebegon, and it was hilarious. I loved the subtle humour and reminds me of a northern town here with the same sort of mentality ;)

  14. I listen to audio books all the time in the car as I travel so much. I can't even stand the radio anymore.
    Hugs to you,

  15. They sound like very cosy stories.
    Lisa x


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