Moms in the 1980’s had Richard Simmon’s Sweating to the Oldies, and yesterday if you were at the 6am spin class, you could have experienced Spinning to 50 Shades of Grey, the best-selling mommy erotica . This wasn’t one of those trendy NY gym classes like the Sex and The City Trivia Boot Camp Challenge or Kettle Bell to the Metal, this was my regular morning spinning class filled with the regular mixture of overworked, exhausted, mostly middle aged, men and women looking to burn a few calories before the morning commute. The early morning crowd is intensely dedicated to their workouts; I am a bit of an impostor by comparison, someone who rolls in at 6 am or later and lacks a clearly focused routine. Therefore when the clock struck 6am and the spinning instructor had not yet arrived, which often happens on Friday mornings, this guy hopped off his bike and hooked up his iPod to the sound system. Without the guidance of an instructor we began our warm-up to Florence and the Machine, but I guess his iPod was on shuffle or something and the next song was the audio book for Fifty Shades of Grey. Since everyone, other than myself, is such an exercise enthusiast, they kept pedaling through chapter one, which is mainly just exposition -nothing too risque, but still a bit tantalizing. I, on the other hand, am immaturely laughing into my handlebars at the absurdity of everyone rapidly pedaling in position three to a dirty story. Too tired, too jaded, or too determined to finish his or her workout, no one hopped off their bike to adjust the “music.”
The gym class got me to thinking about audio books in general. Although my livelihood revolves around literature, I am finding myself increasingly interested in non-fiction and overwhelmingly exhausted by fiction. Part of this was explored in Choosing Books to Read Along the Way , but I have trouble suspending belief for outrageous scenarios. I wasn’t always like this, though. I used to voraciously read and re-read novels. The summer between sixth and seventh grade was spent reading Gone With The Wind three times. Nowadays, I don’t re-read anything for the ridiculous reason that I don’t want to waste my time re-reading when there is so much else out there that seeks to be read. Therefore when I have time in my life for pleasure reading, I am no longer someone who chooses to read novels, I’ve become someone who listens to them.
As I was spinning, it occurred to me that all of the novels I have recently “read” were heard on my morning commute. There is something so luxurious about listening to a story, to having someone read to you. It occurred to me that all the books I love, classic novels like The Great Gatsby and Rebecca, novels that I want to re-read, could become part of my morning commute or my morning spin or perhaps even on my training walks for the Coast to Coast.