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We All Float Down Here, Georgie…

Voices Again

I don’t like audio books.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the concept of them. Having someone read to you is comforting and, for you regular people, often brings back fond childhood memories. But the execution of an audio book? Having some kindly, gentle voice reading to me and suddenly saying “‘Sh*t’, the officer said as he looked at the corpse hanging from the telephone pole” is a bit jarring. Plus, it takes away one of the most powerful elements in my mind while I’m reading someone else’s work — the voice of the character.

I don’t know about you, but when I read I hear the voice of the author and characters a certain why in my head. I just hear things differently, and I have conceived notions of who sounds like what form as I delve deeper and deeper into a book. An audio book takes away that ability and force-feeds you a structured narrative voice of someone else. I don’t care if it’s Christopher Lee doing the reading (though if he did the audio book for Corruptor, and hearing him quote Tori, would probably cause a hernia from undue laughter), if the narrator is reading it different than you would, it’ll throw you off.

Sarah Hoyt, as always, digs into much deeper than I do and doesn’t have the same problems as I. In fact, I could swear she actually enjoys audio books more than actually reading them. Blasphemy, I’m sure some of you are thinking. More power to her, if you ask me. But I just can’t do it. I read faster than people speak, and in 8 hours it takes them to read me a 400 page book I could have read 2 books already. It doesn’t have that…. certain spark when someone reads it to me.

…and, as I mentioned before, that pesky little “Their voice isn’t the same as the voice in my head” issue I seem to have.

Do you like audio books?

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5 responses to “Voices Again

  1. accordingtohoyt April 6, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    Jason,
    Actually it’s weird — I ONLY enjoy audio boks more in two conditions:

    1 – it’s something I wouldn’t be able to stand reading, like some romance. I can LISTEN to it, because there’s other input at the same time, i.e. walking or house cleaning.

    2 – it’s something I’ve ALREADY read. I would NOT start by listening to a book by an author I love. First I savor it by reading it.

    But you might have touched on something — I was a sickly child who started to read early. I loved being read to, but I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I was read to after the age of three. It might be that “treat” that makes me fond of audio books and why I prefer “familiar” well-read books.

    • warpcordova April 6, 2011 at 10:28 PM

      It just doesn’t always resonate with me, hearing a book on tape (or, more frequently, on CD). Plus, if I mishear something, it’s really hard to “reread” that portion without going too far back. Maybe I’m just being piggish…

  2. wyzwmn April 6, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    I’m a voracious reader…stems from years of being sickly growing up…now as an adult I still read huge amounts….3 years ago I was diagnosed with an eye disease…one of the issues with this disease was not being able so read a book or computer or e-reader nor could I watch tv.

    During the worst part of the time while waiting for corrective surgery audio books kept me from scooping out my eyes with a spoon…no matter how bad the pain or boredom got I could take myself away by sinking into my headphones and listening to the voices. (and for once they were voices outside my head LoL)…helps to have a good/comfortable headset…and for some reason I even enjoyed genres I’d never ever normally read.

    Audio books? Win/win!

  3. Daniel O. Casey April 7, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    I’m really of two minds on this. First, if the book is NOT fiction, then there’s no real problem, I revert to the university student who sat bored but alert in class, learning (not always agreeing, but learning). Then Audio Books are fine.

    but I’ve tried, really really tried, to listen to fiction audio books, and yeah, new stuff is hard to wrap my head around, just “feels wrong” and I never get the worldbuilding bits right so it feels like the story takes place in a funhouse world.
    Additionally, I do have to say my inclination is to side with Cordova here, I read faster and the voices in my head are arguing with the voices on the CD, meaning that it’s always a fight to stay in the zone. I can manage it, and given that I live in Northern Canada, everywhere is hours away, so audiobooks on CD for the trip are a godsend, (note, I’m getting very tired of the few children’s books we have on CD, but that’s all teh boys will listen to in the van during those drives), but it’s tricky and often I find myself not paying attention to the audio-book, meaning that we’re back at square one.

    Dan.

  4. Pingback: Bid’nes Up Front, Pah’ty In The Back « Shiny Book

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