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What’s your take on audio books?


Back in May, I started reading Norm Cowie’s, Fang Face, but then my world and everything in it got even more ‘interesting’ than usual and I haven’t had time to pick it up since.
 
Mind you, I’m still listening to books on CD when I’m in the car. 
 
In the last few weeks I’ve finished: 
 
Douglas Adams’s, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – always fun to revisit, especially when the audio version is narrated by Stephen Fry. 
 
Terry Pratchett’s, Unseen Academicals – the wizards are my least favorite Discworld characters but this was still quite good fun. 
 
Bernard Cornwell’s, The Pale Horseman, set in 9th century England during the reign of King Alfred the Great - excellent.  
 
Bernard Cornwell’s, Sharpe’s Battle, set during the Napoleonic wars - most enjoyable. 
 
I’m currently about a third of the way through another Sharpe adventure, Sharpe’s Triumph. It seems to be a different narrator to the one above, and I have to say I find him a little off-putting, but proper reading just isn’t an option for me at the moment, so needs must, as they say.
 
I hadn’t really bothered much with audio books at all until a couple of years ago, when I read an article in the GSHW newsletter by one of my critique group friends, Bill Mingin (aka Mingin the Merciless). It made me realize how much extra ‘reading’ I could get done if I listened to books while I was in the car, or otherwise unable to read. Now I’m a big fan.
 
Sure, they’re slow going, and if you already ‘know’ the characters it might take a while to get used to the narrator’s voice, but overall, they’re well worth the effort. These days, I do a good 20% of my reading through my ears. I mostly borrow the CDs from the library, where I’ve discovered they keep most audio books in storage, so even if what I want isn’t on the shelf, all I have to do is ask.  

 
How about you?
 
What’s your take on audio books?

Poll #1593392 Audio books

What’s your take on audio books?

I can’t get enough of them.
7(15.6%)
They’re okay, but I’d rather read with my eyes.
14(31.1%)
I don't like them.
5(11.1%)
I’ve never listened to one.
8(17.8%)
Something else, which I’ll mention in the comments.
11(24.4%)


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Comments

( 76 comments — Leave a comment )
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bogwitch64
Jul. 17th, 2010 10:21 am (UTC)
The hubs is a FIEND for audio-books; but he has a long commute and they help him pass the time. He doesn't listen at home. Heaven forfend he should sit still so long!!!
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC)
I find it hard to listen to them unless I'm doing something like driving, but I think they're fantastic :)
dlgarfinkle
Jul. 17th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
I listen to audiobooks in the car, while I'm walking the dog, while I'm cooking, while I'm folding laudry, when I get ready in the morning, during sex. Okay, not that last one, but I listen to audiobooks a lot. They make doing chores a lot more interesting.
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
Lol, I thought you were talking about one of those 'How to...' books ;)
msstacy13
Jul. 17th, 2010 10:40 am (UTC)
I've only listened to one,
and that was because the library didn't have the book in print.
However, I do think they're great for people who drive long distances alone,
and for people who either cannot read or prefer to hear.
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
They're great for the car, especially long drives.
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jul. 17th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
peadarog
Jul. 17th, 2010 10:47 am (UTC)
I like short fiction for the car and often listen to starship sofa or podcastle or pseudopod etc... It's good to give the eyes a rest sometimes while still spurring the imagination.
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC)
I keep meaning to give Podcastle a listen.
(no subject) - peadarog - Jul. 17th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 17th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
An unsolicited testimonial - msstacy13 - Jul. 17th, 2010 12:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: An unsolicited testimonial - peadarog - Jul. 17th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: An unsolicited testimonial - msstacy13 - Jul. 18th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: An unsolicited testimonial - peadarog - Jul. 18th, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
tracy_d74
Jul. 17th, 2010 10:58 am (UTC)
I love audio books when I have road trips. I have "read" many when I have done my cross country moves or trips to Dallas. I decided to get one this week just to listen to while I'm in my car. I've never it before, but I must say I like it. It may be a way for me to read two books (one with my eyes at home and one while driving with my ears in the car). With any luck I will get half of the books on my TBR list read before I die. :)
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC)
It took me a while to give them a chance, but I'm definitely a fan now.
plattcave
Jul. 17th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC)
I'm lucky in that I never spend any time in the car. So I'm unlucky in that audio books don't really fit my lifestyle. But the few times I've listened to them, I loved them.

I also love the podcast markets that create audio versions of our short stories. Always worth submitting to.
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC)
I've listened to a few short stories on podcast. They've all been good so far.
melissajm
Jul. 17th, 2010 11:04 am (UTC)
I've never listened to one, but I seldom have the patience to be read to, because I read faster. I also suspect I'd get caught up in the story and distracted while driving.
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
' seldom have the patience to be read to, because I read faster.

Yeah, me too. I take my time when reading out loud, though.
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC)
Lol, a lot :)
incandragon
Jul. 17th, 2010 11:11 am (UTC)
Oh, now you've got me started.

I love audio books. I also love reading regular books, but audio books not only double or triple the amount of reading I can get through, I've just always loved having someone read to me.

If you don't have a subscription at Audible, you should consider it. My local library doesn't have the range (the unabridged range) of audio books I want, and the CDs are very expensive. We get 2 credits per month -- which in almost all cases is an entire book -- for $22.

I listen when I'm driving (I don't commute since I work from home), when doing the laundry, cooking, or doing anything that requires effort but not concentration.

I enjoyed Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and I'm quite sure I'd never have finished it without the audio option!

(Tell me your favorites and I'll tell you mine! :-)
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'll have to look into that.

For the sheer joy of listening to the narrator, I'd say Stephen Fry's voice is perpfect. I also enjoyed Lenny Henry's reading of Anansi Boys
smeddley
Jul. 17th, 2010 11:15 am (UTC)
If I never had to drive or be at work, I'd say I definitely prefer to read because 1) it's a LOT faster and 2) a bad narrator can ruin a book. But, sadly, I do have to do those things, so I'd rather be able to at least slowly get through a book while driving (working, painting a room, etc) than not absorb any book-y goodness at all, and I usually pick up at least 2 or 3 at a time so I can immediately stop one with a bad narrator (twice I've listened for about 30 seconds before stopping an audiobook, it was that bad).
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
'...book-y goodness'

Excellent! :)
littlemoremasks
Jul. 17th, 2010 11:25 am (UTC)
Audio books (and podcasted fiction) really works for me. It lets me do two things at once. That includes my commute to work, but also while doing tasks on the inescapable honey-do list.

I love reading with my eyes, but I love them stories anyway I can get them I love being read to.
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
How's your own podcast adventure going?
(no subject) - littlemoremasks - Jul. 18th, 2010 07:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 18th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
mongrelheart
Jul. 17th, 2010 11:41 am (UTC)
Audio books are great for my trip to work! I really prefer reading with my eyes though.
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know what you mean. No one gets the character's voices quite as well as we do ;)
dferguson
Jul. 17th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
My wife got me hooked on Audio books. She had been listening to them for years but I never paid much attention to them myself. But since we started taking long car trips (we drive fom NY to Florida and back two or three times a year)I now think they're a blast.
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC)
I'd love to hear Harry Potter on audio CD.
(no subject) - dferguson - Jul. 17th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
amysisson
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)
I have old Hitchhiker's audio on cassette tape, read by Stephen Moore. I really must get them coverted to digital form, assuming the darn tapes still play.

I kind of have to force myself to listen to audio books, but I have gotten myself hooked on one reader named Josephine Bailey. I wanted to listen to The Secret Garden in order to hear the Yorkshire accent, and this reader was so terrific that I went looking for more. Then I found she'd read Libba Bray's A Great a Terrible Beauty and its two sequels. In that book, there are four teenage girls at a boarding school, and she's so good I can tell which character is speaking at any time without having them identified. I've since bought three more audio books on CD (on ebay; all were out of print) by this reader, although I haven't listened yet.

I also try to listen to the first Harry Potter and The Golden Compass in German. I bought them from Amazon Germany, but the cost really is prohibitive to have them sent over. I'm traveling to Germany shortly, so I plan to stock up on some German audiobooks while I'm there. Young adult would be best, I think, in terms of my fluency level.
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:31 pm (UTC)
I imagine at some point we'll be able to download audio books on i-tunes (if we can't already). Hopefully that'll bring the price down.
(no subject) - mary_j_59 - Jul. 18th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
amysisson
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
P.S.
P.S. It's a pity that Leonard Nimoy and John deLancie's audio book company is no more. They did full cast recordings of several SF classics (Conan Doyle's The Lost World, some Verne, etc.), using mostly Trek actors. They also did two Spock vs. Q "debates".
jongibbs
Jul. 17th, 2010 12:32 pm (UTC)
Re: P.S.
That sounds like fun :)
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