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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Audiobooks

   
Author Topic: Audiobooks
Matt.Simpson01
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How many of you listen to audiobooks? I myself have listened to a lot of them. Since I work in a manufacturing job, I have the ability to listen to them while i work. It allows me to 'read' a lot of books i normally wouldn't get to read in my spare time.
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akeenedesign
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I do! I'm an audiobook fiend. I've been listening to them every day in the car for about 3 years now, and I've listened to some great books. I'm about to start this year's Newberry award winner, "Moon Over Manifest" since I just finished the YA short story anthology, "Zombies vs. Unicorns."

The selection at my local library isn't great: it's just a small branch of the huge city's library but I always find something.

In the past 5 years, I've listened to far more audiobooks than I have read through physical books, simply because of the amount of time I spend in my car. It took a while for me to get used to them, but now when I think back to books, I literally can't remember if I read them or if I listened to them, because the experience of the story is so similar.


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KayTi
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Love love love audiobooks!

akeene - how was zombies v unicorns in audio? I wondered about short story collections in audio, have never listened to anything but novels or biographies on audiobook, but really enjoy them. My kids and I read a ton of books this way - both in the car (even the 10 and 15 minute errands around town) and at home while i'm doing things that have my hands busy like making dinner or folding clothes. Its' fantastic, I'm convinced it has a lot to do with each child's enormous vocabulary. My daughter used the word "glistening" yesterday to describe something. She's 7! Crazy. We started with Harry Potter and were well down the rabbit hole with that one.


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akeenedesign
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KayTi - Zombies v Unicorns was pretty good! There was only one story that I skipped (short attention span... if I'm not hooked, I have no qualms about skipping!)

I enjoy short story collections in audio, but I have noticed that they require a bit more mental attention than novels in audio, since important information is usually handled more delicately in short stories and not repeated or mulled over like in novels. If you are distracted and miss a character-revealing action, you could miss the whole point of the short story.

I've listened to Neil Gaiman's short story collection, Fragile Things, and Stephen King's Night Shift I'd definitely recommend Fragile Things.


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History
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I love audiobooks!
I have hundreds of tapes (oh-oh, showing my age again)--and I must admit it was a sad day for me when cassette tape players were no longer installed in automobiles.

For the last 27 years, I've always had a minimum of a 30 minute commute to and from work, and occasionally longer (many hour) drives. Audiobooks made each day livable.

As a med student, I even self-recorded the entire 30 tape BBC THE LORD OF THE RINGS when they played it over many nights on the Boston Univ. radio station. I'd scour libraries from Petaluma to San Francisco for sf/fantasy audio tapes when I was stationed in California.

I have the entire FOUNDATION, HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE, Zelazney's AMBER (all ten novels), DUNE, ENDER WIGGINS, and King's THE DARK TOWER series. Also works by H.P. Lovecraft, Arthur C. Clarke, William Hope Hodgson, Marion Zimmer Badley, Harlan Ellison, H. Rider Haggard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Stephen R. Donaldson, more Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury, etc.

Most in their little plastic coffins collecting dust.
I should purchase (if I can find one) a portable tape player. I'd enjoy listening to many of them again.

I've been listening to podcasts mostly now (e.g. THE SIGNAL, a Joss Whedon Firefly-Serenity podcast) and just enjoyed a podionovel. Can't beat the price: free.

The only difficulty I encounter nowadays, in this universal media age, is the overwhelming number of choices.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob


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Wordcaster
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I love them for my 30+ minute commute each day to work. My attention span is small, so I often have to stick to real easy stories, non-fiction, or podcasts.
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EmilyS
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I also listen on my half-hour commute. Worked my way through the entire Wheel of Time, everything by Brandon Sanderson, Ender's Game, all 5 Hitchhiker books, Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Jane Austen, probably another dozen I'm forgetting. Currently listening to the Farseer books.

Strangely, I almost always read the book in question too, or have already read it by the time I listen. It's a nice way to "re-read" a book without feeling like I'm wasting time to do it.


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EVOC
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I haven't tried them.
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Corin224
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For me, without exception, Audiobooks are a different experience than written.

For one, I tend to just glaze over and skim the uninteresting description, and really gravitate to the dialogue and "interesting stuff".

With audiobooks, I can't do that, but far from making me impatient to "get on with the story", I find myself latching on to all kinds of details I don't notice in the print versions.

Conversely, the dialogue and character interactions in audiobook are SOOOO much less immersive than in print, I find myself zoning out on those parts in the audio versions. Put the two experiences together, and every story ends up being much richer and rewarding.

I've multi-read the Entire Wheel of Time series, Hunt for Red October, and a couple other random books. SPECTACULAR experience for all of them.


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Reziac
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And for those who like the offbeat, there's ZBS Media. There's a new Jack Flanders adventure out, too.

http://www.zbs.org/catalog/podcast.php


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Wordcaster
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quote:
With audiobooks, I can't do that, but far from making me impatient to "get on with the story", I find myself latching on to all kinds of details I don't notice in the print versions.

That's what's great about audiobooks -- they provide a different sensory input to the reader -- advantageous for some, not as much for others.

I am the exact opposite. I wish I could latch on to the stories, but sometimes 10 minutes go by and I realize, aw crap, I wasn't paying attention. It's not that the story or narrator aren't engaging -- it's me, the typical adult male, with the attention span of a gnat.

Reading is active, while listening is passive, making it more likely for me to try to engage in thinking about things.

I am listening to a couple cd's back and forth right now: Super Crunchers (about how statistics are used for everything) and What Americans Really Want... Really (by Frank Luntz - researcher and pollster).

At least with those books, if I miss something, it is not critical for understanding the rest.


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akeenedesign
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I definitely think they're enriching to a book I've already "read." I started audiobooks with the Harry Potter series, and I was hearing descriptions, slowed down in a way that made me really notice them. I'd read Harry Potter half a dozen times, and I was hearing things I'd never noticed before!

I am currently listening to Moon Over Manifest, this year's Newberry award winner. I picked up the physical book in the library and was infatuated right at the beginning, so I went ahead and grabbed up the audio book. The audio book is not as engaging as the physical book. I find myself getting bored often, wishing to skip ahead or forgetting where I am in the story. It's a good book... but the audio experience isn't the same.

Conversely, I adore the audiobook for Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. The voice actor is highbrow and British, perfect for a higher demon speaking to his demon nephew. The language of the book is complex, but feels like it comes alive in the actor's voice. But when I read it physically, the magic is gone. It's difficult for me to read with the same internal inflection that the actor gave it.


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Reziac
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Sadly, I'm with Wordcaster.... my attention doesn't just wander away, it runs off at high speed. I have to be able to see the narrator; otherwise the spoken story almost immediately loses me, and it doesn't matter how innately interesting that story is. (Which as I think I mentioned before, is why reading my own stuff aloud, or having it read to me, is a waste of air.)

The ZBS stuff sometimes keeps my attention a little longer, maybe because of the sound effects (those for Moon Over Morocco were actually recorded in Morocco!)


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Matt.Simpson01
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My wife tends to get mad at me when we're out because i will close my eyes and listen to what's being said instead of watching what is going on. I seem to find that the sounds of some things are more interesting than watching them. Audiobooks are the same way for me. I can listen to one of them while i'm working and it totally takes me away from what i'm doing.
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