Sunday, April 15, 2007

Audio Books

I had always imagined that it would be much easier to listen to a book being read, rather than read it yourself. I’ve wanted to listen to an audio book for a long time now. Just for the experience of it. Last week I finally got down to it: I downloaded Leo Tolstoy’s Childhood from Librivox onto my iPod & started the book with a lot of eagerness. But after the third chapter or so I just couldn’t keep up. I’m not sure whether it was the book & its style, or the reader & his tone; but the audio book simply couldn’t keep me hooked on.

I love books. So I wondered why I shouldn’t love listening to a book vs. reading it. I recall a scene from Ray Bradbury’s Farhenheit 451 where a character (I think it was the professor) says that the advantage of books over other mass media was that you can read something in a book, mull over it at your own pace & ask the book to shut up till you’re ready to go to the next line.

Maybe that’s what it is. Or maybe it’s just me.

17 comments:

Optimistic Guard said...

Radha, i love to read, I tried listening to audio books once when i was driving from chicago to florida. I didnt like them at all, just holding the book and reading at leasure, the smell of paper can not be matched. Sometimes I can judge the age of the book just by how its paper feels and smells, lol, is that mad or what.

Radha said...

I so agree !
And welcome back !! :) Where have you been?

Optimistic Guard said...

My computer wasnt working so i decided to do some reading lol.

Meghna said...

I couldn't have said it better optimistic guard. Reading a book is about more than looking at the words.
Have you tried listening to poetry on audio? For some strange reason that worked for me:)

Moi said...

i have never tried audio books and wonder if i ever will...unless i can flip thro' the pages and underline all that i like and wud like to read again once am done with the book, i dont enjoy it.......:)

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

I like doing things the oldfashioned way, a good book in the hand (whenever I actually sit down to read which these days gets more seldom than ever).

Although a friend of mine does Agatha Christie on audio and she enjoys it while driving. I suppose it depends on the book, the person reading and listening.

Radha said...

Meghna,
Where do i get audio poetry?

Moi,
I know what you mean! :)

SS,
I know a few friends too who listen to audio books while travelling. Well, people have their own ways of absorbing a book. So are you going to be in Dubai this week?

Mr. J said...

Wow.. intellectual use of the iPod?? :P

Thanks for hopping by. Dubai...translates to just two places for me - Sofitel & Gold Souq.

Cheers!!

Meghna said...

I heard it in England, but haven't looked for any here. The collection I heard was a killer: the romantics- Byron, EBB recited with a Brit accent:)

Prometheus said...

Prometheus is more digital than most. But nothing.. but NOTHING beats papyrus. Curling up with a book is sexy, curling up with an iPod is desperate ;-)

Wanda said...

First time visit.

Found you through Opitmistic Guard. I so agree, a book in the hand is better than 2 casettes in the player. I 've done both, and always go back to reading a book that I can feel!

Enjoyed some of your previous posts!

Radha said...

Mr.J,
hi! yup, apparently you can make intellectual use of the iPod :)

Meghna,
Exciting !! :))

Prometheus,
Hey, are you still in Dubai? When does the flight for Mumbai leave??

Wanda,
Welome to 'petty-change' :) & thanks for the kind words

diyadear said...

hey now that u say it, i did come acroos audio books in the library too but havent listened to one yet.. will try one soon..thanks to u.. :)

Lotus Reads said...

Radha, as you know, I'm an avid reader, too, but I don't relish audiobooks unless I'm cooking or involved in some mundane chore that prevents me holding a book. Having said that however, I will admit to also having resorted to them when I need to get through a chunkster, eg. Rohinton Mistry's "A Fine Balance" or "Shantaram" (900 + pages).

Radha said...

Diya,
Well as they say everything is worth trying once!

Lotus,
You listened to Shantaram on audio? Wow, that such a long book, on audio it would have put me to sleep! Or as I said, maybe I just picked the wrong book/narrator for my first audio-book-experience!

Suramya said...

In audio books a lot depends on the person doing the reading. If they are good they can make you feel like a part of the story, sort of like the really good storytellers used to do and a bad narrator spoils a book completely.

But after saying all that at the end of the day I would still prefer to read a written copy of a book (Either electronic or hardcopy) where I can choose the speed I want to read it.

- Suramya

Radha said...

Suramya, hi,
Good to see you here. Maybe I'll try another book, another style, another narrator someday. But I'm more inclined to go for the good ol' paper-backs :)