Viewing entries tagged
audiobooks

My cyborg heart, Citadel updates, and why 5% is good

My cyborg heart, Citadel updates, and why 5% is good

Yesterday I had my annual cardiology appointment — a general "pacemaker tuneup" kind of thing. This can be a little grueling, with people stabbing me, stealing my blood, forcing me to run on a treadmill, and making me wait around without my beloved technology to keep me company.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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Citadel coming to Audible!

Citadel: First Colony is currently being recorded, in preparation for debuting on Audible! 


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____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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Pontificating in Public

I tried something new today. Which, of course, means I had moments of intense self reflection and crippling anxiety. 'Cause that's what I do.

For the first time in pretty much my whole life I decided to take the bus in from my home in Missouri City to my office in Midtown Houston.

Big deal, right? In fact, I knew it wasn't a big deal. I'm not entirely new to public transportation. I've taken subways and cross-country trains in foreign countries and METRORail in Houston and various types of buses here and there. But for the most part, those are quick transits -- examples of me flitting from one localized area of a city to another. Fifteen minutes tops. What was new about today's experience was the fact that I was dependent on the bus and the train to get me to work on time. The control, my destiny, my workday fate, all entirely out of my hands.

Call me a control freak. Or just consider me a simple country boy, and unfamiliar with your big city public transportation ways. Or maybe it was all the flashbacks I was having to riding the bus to grade school in West Columbia. Kind of like PTSD.

Or, if we're looking at this analytically, it probably has more to do with the fact that I've grown up in a car culture, where automobiles mean status and freedom. I'm already sweating balls over the thought that I'm stranded, at the mercy of the public transportation system.

I'm looking into therapy.

The thing is, riding the bus and the train this morning gave me kind of a "good" feeling. Not in the "I'm saving the environment" kind of way. I don't really subscribe to that argument. I'm pretty sure that running hundreds of diesel-fueled buses day and night through repetitive routes all over one of the largest cities in the world is a great deal more than the equivalent of me driving to and from work once each day.

What I felt good about was a little more selfish than that.

I'm an avid audiobook reader, and one of the things I love about my commute to and from the office is the simple fact that I have a couple of hours each day to plow through an interesting audiobook. But there are times when I'd just like to have more good, ol' fashioned eye-to-page time, ya know? It's nice to have some time when I'm not having to multi-task. I'm not forced to focus my attention in slender strands while I negotiate whatever chaos has been caused by the irate drivers surrounding me. I'm not forced to worry about the fate of my precious mobile status symbol as I'm forced to stop short to avoid the fifteen other cars that have stopped short in front of me.

It's me time.

It's not perfect, I admit. There are occasional aromas. There are occasional panhandlers. There are occasional "I've had too much coffee and am filling quickly with regret" moments. But I've dealt with worse, and when I did I wasn't able to settle back and close my eyes for a few minutes to let the moment pass.

Me time.

Anyway, I don't know how regular this thing will become, but I'll probably fold it into my routine a bit. The occasional "environmentally friendly" ride into town, during which I can read from my Kindle or watch something on my iPad or type something up on my Macbook. You know ... roughing it.



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____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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Booked up

I read a lot.

It's a funny thing, but somehow, in an age when bookstores are going bankrupt and publishers are holding out on offering writing contracts like a fat kid holds out on sharing his Oreos, I am suddenly finding it easier than ever before to gain access to books. It has a lot to do with the fact that the definition of what a book actually is has started to shift.

You know what I think is the most surprising technological advancement of the past 30 years? If you said the iPhone or iPad ... you're pretty close, actually. I was going to say "eReaders," but it all amounts to the same thing, doesn't it?

Four years ago I carried a paperback book in my shoulder bag so I could read whenever I had the chance. This allowed me to chew through maybe five or six books per month if I was on a roll. I probably averaged three on most months, though. And once I was done with a book, I'd have to wait until I had a chance to drop by the book store to pick up another.

About two years ago, though, my wife gave me a Kindle 2 for my birthday. It. Was. On.

I was still slipping a book into my bag, but now it was a sleek and slim volume that allowed me to read a book to its end, then hop on and buy a second book that I could start right away. And I could keep a virtual library of these books at the ready.

Then, about a year ago or so ago the first smartphone eReader apps started popping up. It. Was. On. Part 2.

The only way I can truly describe the impact of this advancement is by saying "Holy crap." Seriously, it's that big. It's like seeing the Death Star for the first time and suddenly realizing it isn't a small moon. It's like discovering that your wardrobe leads to Narnia. It's like going to a family reunion and being introduced to Uncle Bill Gates.

Now I not only had access to a virtual Alexandria of books, I could read them anywhere, any time.

I am of that certain temperament of fella that absolutely MUST have his iPhone on him at all times. Want to see a major freak out? Run my battery down sometime. Shit goes wrong.

Quirky part is, I rarely use my iPhone as an actual phone. I'd say that phone usage accounts for maybe .5% of total use. The rest of the time, it's a texting, web surfing, book displaying, audiobook playing machine. It should be called the iTextSurfReadListenThingy. Steve Jobs take note.

Thanks to my Kindle, and then my iTextSurfReadListenThingy, I went from reading  3-5 books per month to 5-10, and then about 10-15. I now have greater opportunity to read than my attention span can allot for. Keen.

Notice, I count audiobooks in my final figures. If you don't [or more importantly, if you sneer and look down your nose at the mere mention of audiobooks] I encourage you to look up the definition of "read." Here, let me Google that for you:

"Read (v.) - To apprehend the meaning of (signs, characters, etc.) otherwise than with the eyes, as by means of the fingers: to read Braille. (Dictionary.com)


I submit for your consideration: If one can read with one's fingers then one can certainly read with one's ears. I'll let you know if I figure out a way for someone to read with one's nose.

So what do I get out of all of this reading? I like to think I primarily get a bigger, bulgier brain. But in addition to increased brain girth, I also get the bonus of a sense of accomplishment, a sense of fulfillment, and a sense of how to use language and story to motivate and inspire. Handy, if you happen to be a writer. Equally as handy if you want to be a leader in an industry, or impress smart chicks at parties.

As the landscape of reading changes, I'm glad to see new paths opening up. It's telling, I think, that as new technology starts to crawl out of the primordial ooze and evolve from its single-cell origins, books are still a vital and iconic part of our advancement. Gutenberg changed the world with his printing press, and centuries later we're still using books as stepping stones into the future.



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Tip in any amount you like, safely and securely via PayPal (no PayPal account requred). And thank you in advance for your generosity!


____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
____________________________________________________________

BECOME A SLINGER

Get updates on new books, new posts, and new podcasts, plus be the first to hear about special offers and giveways. And pants jokes. Lots and lots of pants jokes.