Read or listen?

Thinking about audiobooks

I listen to music, and music can move me to tears. It produce visuals which run like movies on the backs of my eyelids if I close my eyes while listening.

But words…? Words, I prefer to see.

When I was very young and in school, I could get away with listening in class and learning that (simple, young) stuff by osmosis – by the time I hit college and four subjects unloaded themselves into my brain through my overloaded ears that system collapsed completely and I had to learn to study all over again.

What this means is that when learning – i.e. words for studying, or for research – I will scribble cryptic little notes to myself while reading; glancing at those notes, after, brings to mind enire pages of text, almost verbatim. That works, because I have SEEN the words and they have imprinted on my visual memory. This is how I remember.

Perhaps that is why I’m not drawn to listening to books for pleasure, not as a way of enjoying literature.

My husband has ‘read’ hundreds of audio books because he claims it keeps his brain from going into snooze mode while doing repetitive tasks like household chores or exercise. But I am more likely to experience a visual of a description, for instance, while looking at words on a page rather than having those words whispered into my ear. And if the voice of the narrator doesn’t match the voice of the character as I have it inside my own head, that is a small constant nudge out of the story.

I have, to date, two audio book editions of my own work out – “Embers of Heaven” and “Gift of the Unmage“, two very different books. They each present their own peculiar  difficulties – and as genre books which have words or concepts or names (or accents) which are not part of a straight English-language adaptation they are already in choppy waters. I am told that HEARING these books adds a dimension for a lot of readers.

That, of course delights me and I am happy that so many people have found another way of ‘reading.’

In a thoughtful essay, James Wallace Harris explores his reaction to this form of storytelling:
James Wallace Harris photoWhen I listen to an audio book read by a great narrator…it’s like a book is a freeze-dried drama and the narrator is the water that reconstitutes the story…I think listening to audio books can be a superior way of decoding fiction…Thousands of years ago when humanity transitioned from an oral culture to a written culture, I wonder if they missed what went away when they started reading silently.

Read the whole essay at his blog HERE

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In The Guardian, Rafia Zakaria suggests that:

A vogue for self-exposure has reduced feminism to naked navel-gazing

Her article begins:

Lena Dunham photoI get naked on TV. A lot,” writes Lena Dunham in her bestselling memoir Not That Kind of Girl. Exhibitionism isn’t new to her, she explains; in fact, she rather likes being naked, as her body is “a tool to tell the story”. That story is, of course, her own: a compendium of corporeal confessions, with an emphasis on their most awkward and impolite dimensions, belches and farts, periods and pubic hair.”

Read the whole article at The Guardian website HERE

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The Most Feared Books of All Time

Most Feared Books illustrationSee the whole list HERE

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22 Magical Cakes All Book Lovers Will AppreciateMoby Dick cake photo

 

 

I LOVE the Moby Dick cake.

But I wouldn’t dare try and eat the Shakespeare one.

It’s just too damn beautiful and it would be a shame to ruin it by you know CUTTING INTO IT…

See the Shakespeare and all the other cakes HERE

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Quote of the Day

Mark Twain on Newspapers poster

Today’s 24-hour TV infotainment shows disguised as “News” programs make the old sage’s epigram more telling than ever.

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