What do you do when you absolutely love to read but absolutely don’t have time to do so? Well, you find an alternative!

Let me explain.

I am someone who loves to read. I always have. We’re not going to count the past year or so, when reading wasn’t reading but it was studying. Studying is different than reading. It just is. Studying requires one to focus on the test/exam that will come after the studying.

My mother always liked to read and encouraged me to do so. Reading has been a habit that I have loved for years. Not only would I haunt bookstores, libraries, and wherever I could find anything to read, but I worked in an academic library for a decade.

Pure bliss.

Now that I am reading for pleasure (along with studying; that never stops) I’m finding new and different ways to read! One is by using Amazon’s Kindle app which allows me to have a lot of books on my iPad. That is very helpful, although that means – just as with actual physical books – I have to sit down to read. My life is very busy, and that’s not always possible.

I recently learned that Rex Pickett, the author of Sideways which was turned into the Oscar®-winning wine cult movie, had recently written and published the last of the Sideways trilogy. Three books about humans and Pinot Noir. What’s not to love!

Do I have time to relax in the recliner and read all three books? No way! However, I discovered that they were in audio format.

I have “read” a lot of books using this framework. What that means is that my reading is actually listening.

With three books about Pinot Noir to read, I had to find a way of doing it so as not to disturb my usual routine. “Reading” the books by audio has been very satisfying and listening to Sideways is not my first rodeo. I have read Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand’s Magnum Opus and Libertarian manifesto), Outlaw Marriages (non-fiction book about gay marriages in early US history), The Drunken Botanist (non-fiction about mixology and herbs), and Proof, another book about mixology that I also actually picked up and read in physical form and reviewed here on the site. There have been others.

I still read physical books, especially those that I’m reviewing and where there’s no Kindle or audio option available, because I love the actual process of reading. I have found that I haven’t missed out on getting the nuances and the gist of what the author has tried to share. I’m fortunate in that my favorite narrators of the audio books seem to “get” what the authors meant in writing the books. They are, in effect, actual actors.

I’m about halfway through the original Sideways. This is the book that was made into the movie and made the Santa Barbara wine country a household word. As I indicated before, this is better than the movie because the movie is limited by necessity and time limits as to what it can show. Did you know, for example, that there was a boar hunt scene involved? Neither did I until I tackled the book. In addition, Rex Pickett’s phrasing and use of the language speaks to my passionate logophile soul. His phrasing and use of the language make me smile, and his descriptions of wine country (in this case, Santa Ynez), put me right there with the characters. Who swear a lot, by the way. Rex is a gifted, envy-provoking author.

The second in the series, titled Vertical, is about Miles’ adventures in the Oregon Pinot Noir country. And, yes, Jack is involved again. But I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t tell you much more.

And the third, entitled Sideways 3, takes our hero Miles into the country of Chile. I don’t know the plot of this, the third book of the series, either.

I will be reviewing all three books when I’m done, which will be in a couple of weeks or so. I must point out that the one disadvantage of listening instead of sitting down and reading is that sometimes the actors stretch out the emotion longer than it would haven taken me to read it. That said, I love this format, and it keeps me, the lifelong bibliophile, into one of my favorite hobbies and still allows me to get everyday stuff done.

So if you are as deditus libris (literally, devoted to books) as I am, I can’t recommend this format highly enough. It is a wonderful way to get the reading that you’ve always wanted to do into your busy schedule. The only warning I have is that there are not enough wine books in audio yet. Of course, the encyclopedia/dictionary wine books will NEVER be in audio format. If they were, they’d be relegated to the “nighttime reading for insomniacs” category, if you get my drift.

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