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Listening vs Reading a Book

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Mon July 27th, 2009, 4:47 pm

I don't think I'll ever listen to fiction in audiobook format. But I do have a few non-fiction books that I have (and will) listened to when I'm cleaning the house, etc. or other boring tasks. In fiction, however, I need my imagination to put together the scene and the characters, and the shape of the letters and physical appearance of the words is somehow critical to that. I can't immerse myself in an alternate world. However, when it comes to ideas, etc. -- the more abstract world of history or other stuff -- I find that audiobooks are just as useful.

I don't think I process the information differently, aside from the obvious fact that I'm using my ears instead of my eyes. I've read and listened to Weir's bio of Queen Isabella (the audiobook was a gift) and I don't think listening changed my experience of the work. The one area where listening to the audiobook has actually helped is in dealing with complex issues. Somehow, hearing them vs reading them somehow keeps me focused. So, when I tried to read Elaine Pagels on gnosticism, I kept blurring every few paragraphs. Listening to it, I found myself following it more readily. Perhaps the narration made it feel less oppressive than the cramped print of the edition I was reading?

SM -- I completely agree with you re headphones (I love my Bose ones, but can't use them for that long) and reading on a computer screen. I would say, however, that the Kindle does not trigger any migraines; indeed, to the extent that I can read a book at all when I'm headachy, I can read on a Kindle. The Kindle 2 is much easier, of course, since the 'flicker' involved with page turns is minimal to non-existent. If that's the only issue stopping you from getting a Kindle, I'd say not to worry about it too much.

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Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Postby Kveto from Prague » Mon July 27th, 2009, 7:43 pm

I'll be in the minority here but I do count a few books on tape in my "read" column. "I claudius" is one that springs to mind that i liked.

It just seemed like a better use of time in the car than listening to music. But i dont have to drive anymore, thankfully :-) So i havent listened to a book for 10 plus years.

I do remember one audio book that i liked more than the book, "hitchhikers guide to the galexy" the actors in the audio book really added something special that print lacked, i felt.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon July 27th, 2009, 8:00 pm

Good voice acting adds a dimension to a book that reading it lacks. By and large I process information best in text -- but there are audiobooks that I love. Gone With the Wind has a fantastic reader, as do both MM Kaye's India novels. Its the accents that make them come alive.

Also, the Harry Potter books are great to listen to. Good reader, does all the voices.

Some readers are just deadly boring. Madelyn L'Engle read A Wrinkle in Time herself and put my kids off the book forever. I can still hear her raspy, lisping narration...

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Volgadon
Compulsive Reader
Location: Israel
Contact:

Postby Volgadon » Mon July 27th, 2009, 8:07 pm

I love audio books IF there is good voice acting.

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Mon July 27th, 2009, 11:10 pm

"keny from prague" wrote:I do remember one audio book that i liked more than the book, "hitchhikers guide to the galexy" the actors in the audio book really added something special that print lacked, i felt.


Not sure if I liked it better than the book; the one I have is from the original radio show, which is what the original BBC show was based on, so whenever I read the book I heard those voices. But listening to those tapes in the car was dangerous, because no matter how much we knew the story, parts of it had us laughing so hard it was hard to concentrate on the road.....

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SonjaMarie
Bibliomaniac
Location: Vashon, WA
Contact:

Postby SonjaMarie » Mon July 27th, 2009, 11:11 pm

Chatter: That's good to know, but I still prefer a book in my hands, and a lot of books I read aren't on available for ebooks or Kindle and the price is prohibitive esp since I have to pay what they want for the books as well instead of getting them used and cheaper.

SM
The Lady Jane Grey Internet Museum
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Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Thu July 30th, 2009, 8:33 pm

SM, yes, those are other & different issues to consider. I had an unexpected windfall (journalism prize) that enabled me to rationalize the Kindle purchase. I'd say about 75% of what I want to read (except for OOP stuff) is now Kindle-able, and available at below retail cost. I figure I have now more than saved the price of the device, as well as the bookshelf space (very scarce indeed chez moi).

MLE, are the MM Kaye audiobooks abridged or complete? I haven't (yet) bought an abridged book and wouldn't want to; on the other hand, while the Kaye novels might be interesting to listen to, The Far Pavilions, at least, is v.v. long.

I'm going to check out I, Claudius. That might be an interesting audiobook, too.

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Veronica
Avid Reader
Location: NT, Australia

Postby Veronica » Fri July 31st, 2009, 6:01 am

Personally I find that half of the charm with books is to "cuddle" up with it in your hands. I have never tried an audiobook and I have an open mind to it but before I try it I don't think it is for me. To me that's not to have "read" the book.
I do however find it great for people that for many different reasons aren't able to read to still enjoy a book or even if you are in a job where you are able to listen to one. It's a great option but I like the copy in my hand.
[SIZE="3"]"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"[/SIZE]

<Nerd!
Scribbler
Location: Sydney, Australia

Postby <Nerd! » Fri July 31st, 2009, 6:44 am

Short of a Richard Burton Reading of "Under Milk Wood" (an audio-nonbook in a way) I've never listened to an audiobook.

But then until this thread I never thought of playing them in the car!!!

The quality of that "UMW" cd hinged completely on timbre and meter of RB's voice so I think the reader will be paramount to any audiobook experience.

The snob in me says that audiobooks do not count as books read. Unless of course you're medically blind. I which case I'll let ya :D

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri July 31st, 2009, 1:39 pm

Chatterbox, the MM Kaye books are unabridged. They are read by Kate Reading, and as far as I know, are no longer available anywhere. I actually went online and bought the last two used copies I could find when I realized that they hadn't been converted to CD format (they're in cassette tape form) and converted them to WAV format by playing the things into my computer. Ther are each over 50 hours, so it's a project I have yet to complete.

But that was a year ago; it's possible that audiobooks has made them available in the meantime.


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