November 30, 2009

Listening to Books


Neil Gaiman has a great little piece on NPR about his love of audio books. I love them too. I couldn't still be in my book club and be working on a graduate degree if it weren't for the occasional audio book to get me through.

"But you can read them faster than you can listen to them," my wife said. True, but not while driving, folding laundry, or doing other household chores.

Gaiman makes a great point about the importance of the right reader. It's true that it can be an issue. There are books that lend themselves to certain voices better than others. But on the whole I've been very happy. I still enjoy reading books, but I'm now a big fan of audio books as well. I'll be re-listening to Holidays On Ice for my book club this month. Sedaris is a master of the form.

By the way, Neil Gaiman will be here in the Atlanta area at my favorite children's book store. I recommend it--he's great live. Though I doubt I'll stand in what I imagine will be a very long line to get a book signed...

Actually, he won't be in that book store. Too many people are coming. They're holding it at the near by Agnes Scott campus. Check the link for details.

7 comments:

Michael Taylor said...

A few years ago I felt the need to disclose that soem of the books that I "read" I technically only listened to.
http://freephilosophicaldiscussions.blogspot.com/2006/12/reading-book.html
I think each method has its advantages and disadvantages. YOu hit on my favorite advantage as far as listening to books goes. You can do other things in the process.

Teacherninja said...

Yup. Gotta keep the brain fed at all times! Thanks, Michael

Victoria said...

I think I'll stick to the excuse that my hands are full and I have to keep my eyes on the paper. Housework will always be there...always. We do like to listen to books on c.d., though, when we take road trips. We love to hear Jim Dale, L.J. Ganser and Nicholas Hormann narrate. Another fun family series is the Penderwicks, though it took the second book for me to warm up to the lady who narrates the books.

I have been wondering about Neil Gaiman. I have a friend who teaches school and has a degree in English that thinks he is amazing. My SIL has read his books, but says he is very dark. Since I find the subject of forensics interesting I might like him. Most people think my interest creepy. Another book that is current that you may like is "Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie". I'm having a long winded moment...sorry. Smiles!

C.B. James said...

Neil Gaimon is such a genuinely good person that I really wish I liked his books more. They just leave me flat. I've tried several times.

Same with most audio books. The only ones I like are the full cast adaptations the BBC puts out, which are wonderful and often unabridged, and the occasional mystery/thriller with someone will to camp it up and do lots of voices.

I find the better the "literature" the less interesting the audiobook. I gave up on both The Year of the Flood and The 13th Tale. My spouse and I loved the early David Sedaris audio, Holidays on Ice included. But once he got really big he stopped doing funny voices etc.

What I do love are short story Podcasts. You can get lots of these for free at iTunes and other sites. They've been lots of fun to listen to and they last about the length of my ride home from work.

Teacherninja said...

Victoria, I love your "housework will always be there" attitude. I haven't tried audiobooks on car trips with Harper, but I'm definitely going to! Gaiman isn't a forensics-type. You might want to try some of his short stories or Coraline first, to see if you like his style.

C.B., I would never argue with someone that they "should" like any format. As long as they're reading and enjoying I don't care if it's on paper, audio or ebook. I wondered about the "literature" vs. light reading because I'd never even tried something of substance on audio. Then I listened to True Adventures of the Kelly Gang and Fortress of Solitude (that one was particularly well read) and felt I got just as much out of them as I would if I'd read them. I still like to read physical books, and sometimes I'll dismiss an audio if I don't care for the reader, but right now it's working for me. Ironically, I'm listening to more podcasts than audiobooks right now. I sometimes feel that I don't listen to enough music on my iPod anymore!

I think it was you who turned me on to The Moth--my newest favorite podcast. That IS a perfect ride to/from work podcast.

Thanks so much to you both for the thoughtful comments.

Camille said...

That is exactly why I listen to books so much. I can listen while still keeping up with my other duties as assigned. Just finished listening to Odd and the Frost Giants narrated by Gaiman. He is the only one who can read his books. Not every author can successfully perform their own work. Really enjoyed Odd.

Jim said...

He is good--I'll have to check out Odd. Thanks