As an academic, I rarely have time to read “for fun books” and instead devote my reading time to keeping up with new discoveries and theories divulged in esoteric journal articles. This changed when I stumbled upon a YouTube video by Ali Abdaal espousing the merits of listening at 2X speed and faster. Wow, a typical non-fiction audiobook between 8-10 hours now only requires 4-10 hours to complete, and even 30 hour epic fantasy novels are manageable at 15 hours. After finding this superpower in September 2020, I have now completed 19 books over the last four months.
- Educated, Tara Westover
- The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin
- Hidden Figures, Margot Shetterly
- The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin
- Andromeda Strain Evolution, Michael Crichton
- How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan
- In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan
- The End of Everything, Katie Mack
- The Gathering Storm, Brandon Sanderson/Robert Jordan
- Towers of Midnight, Brandon Sanderson/Robert Jordan
- White Fragility, Robin Diangelo
- Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker
- A Memory of the Light, Brandon Sanderson/Robert Jordan
- Brain on Fire, Susannah Cahalan
- The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher
- Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee
- Hidden Reality, Brian Greene
- Armada, Ernest Cline
- Storm Front, Jim Butcher
Adjusting to 2X speed took me only a few minutes, and I enjoy listening to books more at double speed. I could finally finish the Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series that I started as a teenager in the 1990s. I also read many non-fiction books that I found interesting, but was never going to read without listening to the audiobook version at 2X speed.
I used the Libby app and my local library card to access these great books for free. The Libby app is much improved, very user-friendly to find new audiobooks, and even works in my vehicle via CarPlay. Most of my listening takes place while working out on my bike. I feel like my life has greatly improved as new words enter my ears and my legs grind out the miles each morning.