Friday, June 25, 2010

In which our heroine rediscovers audiobooks

Yesterday I talked about eBooks, today it's audio books, which I can also listen to on my iPhone. When I was little I loved being read to, and when we were dating DH read "The Last Unicorn" to me, though he's never read to me since. You'd think I'd love audiobooks, but somehow live reading is more magical. Or perhaps they were ruined for me when I was forced to listen to the super uplifting "Angela's Ashes" on a family road trip to Yellowstone and back (that's a painful two day drive, folks).

I've rediscovered audiobooks after a long break. These days I read in little fits and starts. In my permanently sleep-deprived state, my eyelids are often too heavy for such a silly expense of energy. Enter audiobooks. I find them almost prohibitively expensive, but fortunately my library has an excellent selection.

Currently I'm listening to "The Demon's Lexicon" by Sarah Rees Brennan, which I first heard about in the DABWAHA tournament this year. Next up: "Devil's Kiss" by Sarwat Chadda, "Airman" by Eoin Colfer, and "Marked" by P.C. & Kristin Cast. "Hush Hush," another DABWAHA recommendation, is on hold for me.

The experience of listening to books is quite different from reading them. I tend to gulp books, gobbling them down without noticing the nuances of language or appreciating the many layers of character and plot. Listening to books forces me to slow down, to pay attention, to savor the richness and color and spice. Books become more of an art form, and less a rush of information. A glass of fine wine instead of a quick and dirty shot. Sometimes I lack the patience to finish. Sometimes I find books should be seen and not heard (certain Regency romances read aloud by a male with love scenes that go on for ten pages or more come to mind). But a good book will keep me hooked for hours.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Which have been your favorite? I loved the Harry Potter audiobooks. The narrator was excellent.


Tracy said...

I have to say that I've thought about listening to audio books but have never done it. I used to love to be read to when I was small but didn't like it much after I was 10.

Maybe one day I'll give it a try...and stay away from those regency's with the men reading 10 pages of sex. lol

Mollie said...

I'm just getting into audiobooks. Listened to all the Harry Potters on audio a few years ago but that was it. Recently did a re"read" of Graceling by Kristen Cashore by listening to the full-cast audiobook. Currently listening to the dramatization (not exactly the same as an audiobook)of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters.

Jen of Devourer of Books actually held an audio book week this week. Lots of great reccs and discussions on all things audio:

Also for YA readers/listeners the online community Sync is offering 2 free audiobook downloads a week starting in July. 1 title is a current YA title the other a classic. Might be a good way to try audiobooks if you're not sure about them!

Anonymous said...

My favorite reader is George Guidall. He is just too good at times (his reading of John Gardner's "Grendel" made me so depressed that my friends were worried about me).

I think I may like Stephen Fry's reading of the Harry Potter books than Jim Dale's (I just don't like his Hermione).

I also enjoy Nigel Planer's reading of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books better than Stephen Briggs'. Nero Wolfe stories are not complete without Michael Prichard. And Robert Tull's reading of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin books are not to be missed!

Ciara said...

Tracy - Ha. It's the guy who reads Stephanie Laurens's books that was the problem. Listened to one too many, and his girl voices are irritating.

Mollie and cories - thanks for the recs!

Lea said...

Hey Ciara:

I can't listen to audiobooks, it is like peripheral noise for me and I never stay focused on the story. I should try again but I think it's because I listen to so much music on my iPod, it all blends into the background..

Another great post!!

Tracy said...

Ciara, he tried to do a girls voice? Oh that's just wrong! lol

Ingrid said...

My thoughts tend to wander away too when listening to audio books.
But one good exception was Pride and Prejudice read by Julie Stevenson. She is a British theatre actress and she does bring the book to life.

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