I am trying, haltingly, to learn to listen to books. Audiobooks are an obvious blessing to a knitter, even more so for one who spends her days peering stigmatically at a bright screen and can’t seem to read for more than five minutes at night before the snoozles strike. But listening is a totally different way of absorbing information, and I frequently start an audiobook and abandon it for no reason other than having failed to sustained the habit of sticking my earbuds in.
Recently someone reminded me that one of my all-time favorite books, The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks, is available as an audiobook. Perfect solution for my ear training: it will be like re-reading this book with my ears.
If you don’t know about this book, and you love sheep, farming, ancient landscapes and beautiful writing, you’re in for a treat. I still miss Rebanks’s Twitter account, which started it all, anonymously at first. He doesn’t update it anymore, but it’s still there, and it’s an indelible account of life on a Cumbrian sheep farm, with gorgeous photos and real talk about everything from routine veterinary care and sheep personality and behavior to cogent analysis of the globalization and industrialization of our food supply and the value of traditional farms to survival.
Rebanks is a sharp, often funny writer. He pulls no punches, speaking plainly even when he knows he will face criticism for some of his views. I always admired his way of engaging with and educating people on Twitter, and I’m sad that next spring I will not be able to follow lambing at his farm in real time via his Twitter account.
The Shepherd’s Life audiobook is available as a download or on Audible.com, which has a free 30-day trial membership, and is probably in lots of libraries.