Mon 29 July 2013

Treading Water with citybooks

We know that the citybooks are ideal holiday literature, and it’s common knowledge that Radiobooks are great for when you’re stuck in traffic. But in which weird, wonderful, funny, bizarre, romantic, extraordinary places have you listened to the audiobooks by deBuren? Colleague Miet loves both audiobooks and swimming. With her waterproof mp3 player she takes a weekly dive in her local pool, and swims lengths while she listens to her favourite citybooks and Radiobooks authors!

Treading Water with citybooks

I had tried everything to make my weekly 45 minutes of swimming a little less boring: counting lengths in different languages, making each movement and taking each breath deliberately and mindfully, thinking about what I might cook the next day, reconstructing the previous day or night, constantly looking at the pool’s clock… Despite it all, more often than not those 45 minutes still remained sluggish and laboured.

Until I saw somebody swimming with a waterproof mp3-player, that is. It was suddenly clear, the perfect opportunity to combine pleasure with pleasure had arrived: listening to citybooks and swimming, together at the same time. Thus I had finally found the ideal way to listen to all of those audiobooks and to enjoy my swimming.

I’ve only just set out on my project. Given that there are almost eighty citybooks and more than a hundred Radiobooks in Dutch, I have more than a few lovely literary kilometers in the water ahead of me. Until now, I’ve heard Onno Kosters on Utrecht, Witold Szabłowski on Lublin, Ester Naomi Perquin’s Bucharest – A One-Person Travel Pack, Remains by Ingrid Winterbach, and Saskia de Coster on Skopje.

Alongside the Dutch-language podcasts I also regularly listen to Die buitewyke, the citybook about Grahamstown by Brink Scholtz. Last December I spent a month visiting her in South Africa (photo); sweet nostalgia coaxes me back to listen to her voice time and time again, like a song on repeat.

In alternation with deBuren’s Dutch- and Afrikaans-language audiobooks, I also listen to the Spanish translations of Radiobooks. It’s a great way to build familiarity with the Spanish language, which I’m currently learning.

And… if you’re ever really in need of a swimming pep talk, there’s always Dory !

(Miet Vanhassel, Brussels)



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Do you also have an extraordinary, bizarre or funny story about the audio books by deBuren? Let us know!  Do you bake the best cakes listening to Arnon Grunberg's A Reported Offence? Has no citybook ever sounded as good as the one you listened to that time in that rowing boat? Or maybe you calm your nerves in the dentist’s waiting room with Saskia de Coster’s citybook One Hundred and Forty Kilos of Love? Share it with us!

  • Send your story (maximum 200 words) to and win a wonderful citybooks CD with stories by Bernard Dewulf and Ester Naomi Perquin.




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