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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Audiobooks

As a child, I listened to a number of audiobooks. My favorites were the Hank the Cowdog series by John Erickson. He narrated the books himself and did a fabulous job with voices, inflection, and even music. Even as an adult, I still love his stories in audio format. Most of my other audiobook experience came from listening to Star Wars novels with my brother and the rare other work. But, honestly, I preferred print and developed a resistance to audiobooks.

I liked print best because I could interpret the work how I pleased without the subtle and not so subtle interpretations of the narrator through the voices they chose for the characters and their inflections in tone, rhythm, and pacing. However, I had a rarer reason for disliking most audiobooks. I preferred print because of my visual impairment. Yes, I know this sounds counterintuitive. After all, audiobooks are available, in part, for people like me. However, as I retain some vision, I don’t like to be limited. I prefer using my vision as much as I can and have become fairly adept at it. Audiobooks felt like an admission of what I could not do. They felt like giving in.

Many years have passed since my childhood and the infancy of these feelings, years in which I’ve thrown myself without regrets into print and consumed more books than I can count. But with the passage of years, my available time for reading seems to have shrunk ten sizes. With children and the responsibilities of a home and marriage plus my devotion to developing my writing career, my time is balanced on the head of a pin with little to no room for adjustment without risking toppling everything. So I decided a few weeks ago to incorporate some method of reading more while still getting as much done.

My only good option was audiobooks. At first, I cringed a bit. Wasn’t I giving in, admitting weakness? But one of my college friends loved them and I’d heard good reviews of Audible.com and IPod. Plus, my hunger for good fiction only increased with time. So, last weekend, I purchased an IPod Shuffle and a subscription to Audible.

The first book I selected was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, mainly because my first choice, Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson was two credits and I only had one and because I had heard wonderful things about Outlander. Davina Porter narrates the audiobook and does a fantastic job. I’ve heard great narrators and ones that made me regret ever hitting play. Porter has a good voice for audiobooks, and best of all for Outlander, she can navigate a variety of Scottish accents. Her lyrical tones have overlaid everything I’ve read in the past few days, whether it pertained to Outlander or not, and I don’t mind one bit.

So I must now confess that I really enjoy audiobooks, despite my younger prejudices. I suppose when you get a well produced novel on a convenient device and you can still cook dinner and clean bathrooms while reading, it’s only fair to confess how much you love the arrangement.

Do you listen to audiobooks? What do you think of them? Do you prefer to them to print, eBooks, or other forms of text?

4 comments:

  1. They help you pass time while driving or doing other things! Both are great! Remember Pete the barn cat "...here comes the cops!"

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    1. LOL. Oh, yes. Hank was always great on car trips.

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  2. I've never gotten into audiobooks, although I have a friend who loves them. She has Parkinson's, and may have some physical difficulties with books, although I'm pretty sure she loved audiobooks before she developed Parkinson's. I do love those Hank the Cowdog books though. I learned recently they were originally self-published, a long time ago when self-publishing was rare and difficult.

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    1. Yes, that's right. I've actually met Mr. Erickson. He fashioned Slim after himself.

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