Winterkatze did a meme-like thing a while back, and I thought it might be fun to play along. It’s an 8-things-to-1-topic-thing. And the topic is “book or audio book”. Now, I almost wrote audiobook or real book here, just so you know.
- I didn’t really know this about myself but I seem to not like being read to. I remember when I met my husband and I had these lovely visions of us reading passages of our favorite books to each other. Then he said he doesn’t like being read to. I was miffed. Then I found that I don’t like being read to as well.
- It seems that when I only hear something it immediately starts to slip my mind. Like a 3-year-old. Tell me to do this and that, and chances are I forget at least one of them.
- When I first found out about audiobooks I loved the idea. A friend of mine had just recorded her first novel as an audio book, and I put it on my iPod, and thought how brilliant it was to be able to knit and ‘read’ at the same time.
- Then I started listening. And found that my mind started wandering. All of a sudden I had missed a whole paragraph. And then another one. And then I tried listening really hard. And then it happened again. And again. It doesn’t have anything to do with that particular book, I tried several others as well but I could never follow, I had to wind back too often.
- While my attention often wanders, and I find that I’ve missed a passage in an audio book, at the same time they go way too slow. I kept listening, and thinking, “If this were a real, printed book I would have been two pages further by now.
- I also don’t like the fact that audio books are often abbreviated. I think it’s been getting better with MP3s, but I distinctly remember the very first audiobook I got. The very same Winterkatze gave me a copy of “The Fifth Elephant” by Terry Pratchett as a German audiobook. She said the narrator was really good, and that she loved the book. Now, I had read “The Fifth Elephant”, of course, because Pratchett is one of the authors I buy every single book from. In hardcover. As soon as it’s out. So I started listening to the audiobook – then still on CDs – while puttering around the room. Well. I didn’t like the fact that it was in German. I didn’t like the narrator. He was doing funny voices. I don’t like funny voices when being read to. I didn’t like the translated names. But all of that is not really the fault of the audiobook. Or Winterkatze, nope, not at all. And then there came this passage. And I realized that something that I had liked tremendously in the book had been cut out. That was when I stopped listening to that particular audiobook.
- I didn’t give up on audiobooks right then. Nope. I got myself a trial Audible-membership, and downloaded two more I think. I got something by the Dalai Lama on happiness which I’m slowly winding my way through, over the years. I also got “Getting Unstuck” by Pema Chodron, and two of the Yarn Harlot’s books, “At Knit’s End”, and “Stephanie Pearl McPhee casts off”. Plus a German book from the library. The happiness one and the German one were quite hard to listen to. The German one was abbreviated again, so it didn’t take quite as long. I still haven’t finished the happiness book even though I’ve had it for years and years.
- The audiobooks I like best are the ones that are either lectures, like the “Getting Unstuck” one, or shorter, humorous essays like the Yarn Harlot ones. So the nearer an audiobook is to actual speech the better I can understand it. I have no problems at all listening to podcasts, by the way, only audiobooks. Also radio plays work better for me as well.
- Trying to get used to audiobooks made me also realize that I often hop back and forth on the page when reading a ‘normal’ book. When I’m reading something I don’t find as interesting, I skip ahead, look how long it will be, and then go back to reading again. Also I’m a really fast reader. At my normal reading speed I just zoom along. Whoosh, and the book is done. Not so much with the audiobooks.
So, what about you? Book or audiobook, or both? I’m curious.