I had a parenting dilemma a few months back. My oldest son, who is nineteen and living at home while he goes to college, was keeping my second son awake far past his bedtime. They share a bedroom, and my oldest son doesn’t go to class or work until later in the day. My second son is a busy junior in high school and has to wake up very early, even if it makes him cranky. We tried nagging and lectures, trying to get the boys to quiet down at night, and nothing seemed to be working. Then I hit upon some inspiration. I would read them bedtime stories, just like I had when they were little.
It started out as a joke. I walked in with one of my motivation books one night and read them a story about Cliff Young, an Australian potato farmer, who won an ultra-marathon, wearing overalls and rain boots. They rolled their eyes and pretended not to listen, but they couldn’t help chuckling at the story, and my younger son did go to bed on time. So I kept it up, reading them quick motivational stories each night. We continued for a few weeks, and now my younger son has gotten into a better bedtime routine. I’ve stopped doing it for the last week or so, but I have a feeling that with us Americans starting Daylight Savings Time again this Sunday and having to wake up an hour earlier, I may have to get back into the habit.
My mom read me stories as a child. We made our way through all the Little House books, The Hobbit, The Black Stallion, and many others. I still love to have people read to me, only now I mostly use audio books. Since I’m in the car a lot, driving my kids around, I can make my time more productive by popping a CD into my stereo or bringing along a USB drive with an audio book downloaded. I also love to listen while I’m doing projects around the house. Right now I’m listening while I paint some chairs and a table, but I also like to listen while I clean around the house. It makes me look forward to the chores I dread.
I’m able to get Austen’s books on CDs from my local library, but I have sometimes downloaded free mp3 files from librivox.com, a site that shares free public domain audiobooks. As with other sites, the quality of the narrators varies. I loved the narrator for Pride and Prejudice, but some other narrations weren’t as great, so it helps to listen before you download. Librivox also has free downloads of Jane Austen’s other works like Love and Friendship and Lady Susan.
I was happy to learn that several of the Austen authors have audiobooks available for us to listen to. Pam Dixon, Regina Jeffers, Katherine Reay, Sophie Turner, Sarah Price, and Barbara Silkstone have titles available on audible.com. (Some of these are also available on Amazon and iTunes.) In fact, Sophie Turner’s A Constant Love just came out this week! Be sure to catch that one if you’re an audio book lover.