Friday, March 14, 2008

It is not the voice that commands the story...

...:it is the ear (Italo Calvino 1923-1985)

Has anyone had any experience with audiobooks? I’m thinking of giving one a shot. I travel a lot for work listening to podcasts and what have you on my iPod. I dreadfully miss reading but don’t have the time to lately. I have a pile of autobiographies, sports books and history tomes waiting for attention that will likely be doing just that in 12 months time.

I was thinking of investing in a download of some author reading their own life story and seeing how it went. I’ve been very dismissive of them before so am unsure? Any suggestions?


  1. Hmmmm...I read a lot, just cant imagine some dude reading in my head.

    When reading you can set your own pace. Autobiographies would be ok I guess but any kind of story would be ruined in my opinion.

    If you have time for audio books surely you have time for real ones??

  2. I agree with you on the paradox of having time to listen to them but not read. I find my head to be wrecked in the evenings and me eyes falling out of me head so I sit down and listen to podcasts on the radio. Was thinking this could kill a few birds with one stone

  3. I kept an article (no time to read it fully yet) out of last Sunday's Sunday Times and it's about the Amazon Kindle.

    It's supposed to be the ipod of reading. It will eventually connect with the internet and the chances are you may be able to:

    Click on a Nigella e-book recipe and get the ingredients added to your on line grocery order.

    Switch between print version and audio (say if you're reading and need to go wash up)....and get automatic summaries of boring bits!

    Share your thoughts with a book group, comment/ criticise on a passage and the author may even change the text!

    I love the sound of this!

  4. I've never done the audio book, I think they're mostly designed for cars. I know what you mean though, I've had a crap 08 for reading. You need so much more concentration for reading than watching crap telly.

  5. Tiberius - I'm really interested in your findings, so please report back!

    I don't have any experience on my own. But I too have been thinking about this for a long time. Here are some of my doubts:

    1) I love reading!
    - So when I *am* too busy for it will not my attention wander?

    (And I'm thinking: yes so what's the use?)

    2) But then there are times when I can't read, yet listen is OK. Like driving. But that is mainly to get to and from work. And I'm almost always on the phone...

    - Would I stop working my way to and from the office? (If yes, then that would be fantastic!)

    3) If using it while biking or walking.

    - Would I need a special head-set for that?

    (Yeah, I know - it isn't really about the book itself, but it is part of my whole picture. I wouldn't want to use my normal head-sets as would be all wet after the exercise. Or would I?)

    4) There must be voice samples of the book to be listened to. If not I'd not risk my money.

    - There are samples, right?

    (I just know myself too well. So if the reader's voice/tone/style doesn't ring good/true/with good rythm - I'd toss the stupid machine into the wall. Immediately.)

    4) When I read, I usually go back and re-read sections: Some because my attention did wander, but mostly because I really liked a part, so I want to enjoy it again.

    - Will listening to a story be just as fulfilling?

    Best of luck. I hope my doubts don't put you off :-)