I have always been a voracious reader, devouring books in my free time.

My reading slowed down a little in college, but picked back up after I got my first teaching job.

I lived 40 minutes away from the school where I worked as a seventh-grade English teacher, so I made friends with the school librarian and started listening to audiobooks — something my father had introduced me to as a child during long car trips to see family.

I like audiobooks, because they allow me to do work while I enjoy a book. I can do the dishes, cook a meal or drive to visit family, while still reading.

For many years, the library audiobook app was sufficient to quench my thirst for books, despite the program’s limited offerings.

Then, over the summer, I watched the new “The Stand” miniseries, and decided it was finally time to read the source material.

I reserved the audiobook version of “The Stand” by Stephen King. I had to wait a few weeks until it was available, but it was well worth it.

I really enjoyed it. I even went back for a second listen, which I frequently do with books I really like. I managed to almost complete my second go through before the return date came around.

From there, I moved on to other King novels, listening to whatever was available while I waited for the more popular titles to be free.

After “The Stand,” there was “It,” “Revival,” “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger,” “Apt Pupil,” “Gwendy’s Button Box,” “If It Bleeds” and “Sleeping Beauties.”

When I got to “The Shining,” I paused. I took a course on adapting Shakespeare in college, and since then I have been fascinated by adaptations. The Shining is a classic movie, and a well-known cautionary tale of adaptations as well. It’s common knowledge that King hated the film version.

I was incredibly interested in the changes between the book and the film, and why and how those choices were made.

After completing my second listen of “The Shining,” I decided I wanted a go at “Doctor Sleep.” This is King’s sequel, which tells the story of the adult Danny.

My library did not have the book.

I settled for the film, directed by the incredibly talented horror buff Mike Flanagan. It was great. I did some research, and King actually liked Flanagan’s adaptation, saying it “redeemed” the Kubrick original adaptation. Those are some bold words to speak about Kubrick.

I became desperate to read “Doctor Sleep” – well, desperate for the audiobook. I checked out a certain well-known audiobook program, and I was hooked.

Each month I get one credit to purchase an audiobook from their massive collection – including many titles that are only available through this program.

While taking a break from King’s works, I became aware of “Midnight Sun,” the retelling of “Twilight” from the vampire’s perspective. I was curious.

When I first started listening to audiobooks in 2007, the school library had just received the “Twilight” series on CD. I had a small group of students who were obsessed with the story, so I decided to check it out. I was horrified, but unable to stop listening.

“Midnight Sun” was worse than the original. In the original, the main character discovers her boyfriend (a vampire) has been breaking into her house at night and watching her sleep.

Instead of being horrified and creeped out by it, she is totally fine. It’s romantic.

In “Midnight Sun,” the vampire begins by plotting how to kill the main character. Then he slowly becomes obsessed with her, which he labels “love.”

He spies on her using his psychic abilities. He follows her out of town. He BRINGS A CAN OF WD40 so he can open her window quietly and climb in while she sleeps!

He justifies all of this by saying he is just trying to protect her. He is doing this to make sure nobody else, perhaps with a truly NEFARIOUS purpose, will spy on her, follow her around or break into her bedroom and watch her sleep.

I could not even get halfway through the book, though I tried a few times. Thankfully, this audiobook program offers free refunds up to one year after purchase.

I returned “Midnight Sun” and exchanged it. I am currently listening to “11.22.63,” another King masterpiece which I am thoroughly enjoying.

Thank goodness for good books.

Christine Simmonds is the Assistant Editor of The Courier-Gazette. She has lived in Knox County most of her life.

The book cover for Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep.”