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Audiobooks and more: How many pages is your commute?

good magazinelos angelestrafficwar and peace


I don't need to tell you the downside to traffic — heck, we've got a whole blog for that. But the upsides are harder to come by. Today, we have the Good Magazine commuting culture consumption chart.

Good compares the length of some hefty works of art — CDs of Wagner's Ring Cycle, the three "Lord of the Rings" films, and the audiobook of Tolstoy's "War and Peace" — to the annual time spent driving to work in major American cities.

The good news is that the only American city with a long enough annual commute to hear the complete unabridged audiobook of "War and Peace" is Los Angeles. The bad news is that, with a total of 72 hours spent in traffic going to work each year, you could even start on "War and Peace" a second time. Or any number of other classics.

If you aren't behind the wheel, of course, you can read books instead of listening to them. Patrick, who blogs for Vroman's Bookstore, says that he's tripled the number of books he read when commuting by car now that he takes the subway to work.

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (3)

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Hmm, I guess I'm not sure I understand the numbers they are coming up with in that chart. Even if it only takes you 15 minutes one way to get to work, by the end of the year (round trip, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year) your annual commute would by 125 hours. Maybe they're only talking about the extra time you spend because of traffic delays.

I work from home in Austin, TX and just my normal around town driving gets me through 2 audio books a month. Thank goodness for audible.com!

Thanks, Erik, maybe it is only wasted-in-traffic hours as opposed to active commuting hours. I thought 72 hours annually seemed a little low, even for LA.

I have a statistic that reports that the average worker in the US spends 46 minutes a day commuting, which works out to over 200 hours per year, enough time to listen to 23 average size novels (or War and Peace 3x).

Perhaps it comes down to the definition of 'stuck in traffic' - possibilities such as 'averaging less than half the speed limit' or maybe 'time spent stationary'?

Still, it's a novel way of presenting the information - sorry couldn't resist:)


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