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Friday, May 27, 2005

Mysteriously, some people think audiobooks are inferior. I think they are out of their minds.

I read most of Jane Austen on audiotape, or rather, some nice people read her to me. To suggest that she is better appreciated on the page is to ignore not only the sheer joy of the rhythm of her prose, but to forget that her contemporary audience mostly heard the book read out loud by that nice young vicar while the womenfolk knitted. Historian Ernle Bradford also reads exceptionally well, so well that I have read books by him about things like the Great Siege of Malta in the 1500s that I had no interest in at the time. Anyone who's a prose stylist seems to read well, if you have a good reader.

When you hear a book read out loud, you get the full experience, not when you read it on the page. Unless, I suppose, you move your lips when you read. I read unconscionably fast. Sometimes I think entire paragraphs drop out. I want to find out what happens. When I listen to a book on tape, I'm forced to actually hear all the sentences. I get everything the author put into the book.

I would still be reading audiobooks, if I had a commute. (Nya nya, L.A.)

Now I hear that you can download audiobooks as an MP3 to your iPod and speed them up without raising the pitch. Wowee.

I really must get an iPod.


audio books (on my ipod) make the drive from Toronto to Montreal bearable...

the harry potter ones are great.. also the hitchhiker's guide audio play is amazing (much better than the movie).

By Anonymous michael, at 9:53 PM  

Back when I had a 120 mile daily commute, audio books saved my sanity. There is nothing like listening to a scary book and being scared in you car.

By Blogger Scott, at 1:40 AM  

Yeah, I have to agree with you guys, audio books can be so much better then the actual book itself because you can't skip "boring" sections.

Hey michael, are you talking about the 1970s/60s radio play? Or a newer incarnation?

By Blogger Jason Sanders, at 2:24 AM  

But then you're getting someone ELSES interpretation of the author's meaning instead of your own (or the author's). Now, if you gave me an audio book read by the original author, then I might be game, but for me, I don't trust people enough to reinterpret Jane Austen for me.

By Anonymous brock., at 11:52 AM  

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