Listening to Books: Why and How

Sometimes I get funny looks from people. Not necessarily bad looks. They are more like split-second flashes of surprise or confusion.

There have been a few occasions when I have gotten those looks after saying a sentence similar to, “I was listening to this book the other day…” And there it is–the look. The look that says, “Don’t you mean ‘read’?” And I have to explain that I really did mean listen, as in an audio book. And then I may hear things like, “That’s cheating!” or “That’s not the same as reading.”

I started “listening to books” when I was old enough to go on road trips with my family. On a twelve-hour drive to Florida, before DVD fixtures were put into every mini van, audio books were the best way to make the time pass other than my parents’ famous hand-puppet theater.

There are pros and cons to audiobooks. The cons are that you don’t get to experience the classic feel and smell and mind-consuming bliss of reading the pages of a book. That, and sometimes the reader’s voice is so obnoxious or dull that you can’t stand them past the first chapter. If you are studying the book for class, you run into the problem of not being able to bookmark pages or underline significant sentences, which is why having a hard copy available is a good idea.

However, there are several pros as well. First, I would never consider it “cheating” to listen to a book. For a child learning to read, yes: that would be cheating. But I know how to read. I can pay attention to the language, story, metaphors, and other literary devices and themes of a book as much with my ears as with my eyes. Second, listening is a great way to get your readings in while driving, cleaning, walking, or working out.

I am a slow reader, so this is especially useful when I am assigned a lot of books at once. I once listened to Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. As a five-part book with quite a few chapters about politics, history, and philosophy, (not to mention hundreds of confusing French words to struggle through), I would never have been able to read this book in the time I did without listening to it–even as an English major. Plus, I got to hear the French words pronounced and go around thinking in an accent for a month. Lastly, listening to books allows me to be productive with my hands while simultaneously developing my mind through literature. Sometimes, being lazy and reading all day is fantastic. Other times, there is simply too much to do to spend hours on the couch.

Listening to books is easy. Simply download the OverDrive Media app onto your iPhone, find your local library in the app, and log in using your library card. Then, you can download books for free!

You can also find copies of audio books at the WKU library. Also, the Warren County Public Library–which you can sign up for as a student resident of Bowling Green–has thousands of books available on the OverDrive app and the RBdigital app., and hoopla. See more information here:

You can sign up for a digital library card for the Warren County Library here:

So next time you go on a road trip or have long commute to drive every day, I encourage you to use that time to read–that is–listen to books.

Happy Reading (and listening)



Understanding your WKU Libraries and that looming research project

by Abby Ponder 

Well, we’re all back from Fall Break now (or, at least, most of us are) and that can only mean one thing: those mid-term and final deadlines that initially seemed so far away? They’re approaching–fast. And for a lot of students, that final project will be coming in the form of a research paper. (But have no fear, the Writing Center is here!)

So, you’re staring at this blank slate of an assignment with no clue what to do next. You have a topic, maybe, but all that supporting research? Where are you supposed to get it? Well, my friend, the library is your new best friend when it comes to getting started on your research. There are floors upon floors of shelves upon shelves, and lots of friendly people there to assist you along the way. Books are unfortunately becoming an underutilized resource so make sure you take the time to utilize them; you can find a lot of great information in between the lines.

Remember these guys? They knew to search between the lions.
Photo courtesy of Mississippi Kids Count (

If you haven’t paid a visit to WKU’s very own library yet (Helms-Cravens), it is located in the center of WKU’s campus between Grise and Garrett. If you’ve ever visited Java City for a quick caffeine fix, you’re in the right place! Just travel through the Confucius Institute and you’re in library territory. (Or enter through the Commons at Cravens, located between FAC and Grice.) If you’re not on main campus, though, the regional campuses each have their own libraries, too.

However, we know that getting into the library isn’t always an option. In that case, the WKU library has extensive online databases at your disposal. On the library homepage there is an option to explore Electronic Resources. In most cases, students will use the Databases option, though there are a variety of others to explore, too. Once you’re in the Databases, you can opt to use EBSCOHost, Jstore, Newstand, etc. (If you are not using a university computer you may be prompted to enter your NetID and password, but from then on you’ll have complete access.) From that point, you’ll be able to search to your heart’s content.
The search engine for EBSCOHost, which can be found here.
After you have found your treasured resources, whether they be books from the library or journals collected via some of the databases, there are a variety of citation formats to be aware of that depend on the style guide in question (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc) and the source that you’re using (online journals, novels, newspapers, etc). For a quick look at the more common style guides, the Purdue Owl has some great guides to MLAAPA , and AP, while the Chicago Manuel of Style has its very own guide available on its website.
Throughout the whole process, though, don’t forget that the WKU Writing Center is here to assist you along the way! We encourage you to schedule an appointment with us at your convenience, but we are also available for drop-in appointments on a first come, first serve basis.

Happy Writing!

This post was originally published on October 6, 2014.

The WKU Writing Center and the Commons at Cravens

by Abby Ponder 
You’ve already scheduled your appointment, and so you begin making your way towards Cherry Hall 123 with your paper in hand. You’re ready to go! When you get to the top of the hill, though, you realize that the door is shut and no one is home. So, what do you do now? You thought you were supposed to have an appointment?
Well, you’re right–you do have an appointment. But if that appointment is scheduled at a time after 4pm, there’s a very good chance that you are in the wrong location.
A few semesters ago, the WKU Writing Center introduced an additional location that is found at the reference desk in the Commons at Cravens. While the Writing Center in Cherry Hall 123 does close for the day at 4pm, the Cravens location opens its metaphorical doors right at 4:00 and remains in business until 9pm. Cravens allows students to continue to seek guidance on their papers at later hours, and at a location that is central to campus for students who may not be able to get up to Cherry Hall during the day.
Consequently, students scheduling appointments should always be mindful to double check where the appointment will be meeting to avoid confusion and missed appointments. (When in doubt, check your confirmation email!)
So, here you are, ready for your appointment. You’re in Cherry Hall and it’s already 4:10; there’s no way you can make it down to Cravens, you may think. If you’re worried about missing an appointment, send us an email at and we’ll work to address the problem. And remember, scheduling an appointment is easy to do. Just go to and click “appointment scheduler.” From there you’ll be prompted to log in (using your WKU NetID and password) and then schedule an appointment at your convenience.We hope to see you soon!

This post was originally published on September 29, 2014.