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Question: What audiobook are you listening too right now?
I don’t really like to listen to books. When I read a book, I know I’m in for a very personal experience. I get invested in the story, and the characters come to life with the power of my own imagination. In a way, reading is a personal interaction between the author and myself.
When I listen to some other person read the book for me, the experience loses some if its intimacy. The narrator becomes the middleman between me and the author. Not to mention I have a tendency to drift off. My thoughts take me elsewhere, and I end up missing some pretty important paragraphs.
That doesn't mean I'm anti-audiobooks. I like the fact that they exist, for one. And I can make an excpetion, if I like the narrator or if the audiobook is free. Then again, if the narration is totally sub par, you couldn't pay me to listen to it.
Right now I’m listening to The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick. It's a look at the world in which Germany and Japan have won the World War II and divided USA between themselves, and it has been translated to television by Frank Spotnitz, a.k.a. one of the masterminds behind The X-files. Before I get the chance to watch the series, I want to read the source material. Well, listen to it.
Being old-fashioned and not so tech savvy, I had no prior experience with Amazon. I made an exception for The Man in the High Castle, and got my thirty days free trial at Audible, which also came with one free audiobook. Wy did I choose the audiobook? Well, the library had no copies available, and I didn't want to spend money on it.
It took me some time to get into it. Jeff Cummings - the narrator - does a good job, although some of the accents border on either funny or offensive, or both. Just as expected, I drift off and have to go back a few paragraphs now and then.
Thanks to Open Culture and YouTube I also had the pleasure of listening to none other than Leonard Nimoy read some of my favourite stories by Ray Bradbury. Nimoy reading Bradbury? It just doesn’t get any better than this. It doesn't.
Here is The Veldt. This short horror story is very dear to me. It's the first Bradbury story that I read, and my Mom related it to me long before I thought reading was fun. Mom's a great storyteller and that retelling had a huge impact on me.
It’s a lot better to listen to the audiobook if you’ve read it before, especially if the narrator is as talented and dedicated as Mr. Nimoy. He really brings the horror of The Veldt to life.
What are your thoughts on audiobook? Do you have a favourite narrator?
Also, I highly recommend you check out Open Culture. I myself have only recently discovered them. They have free audiobooks and online courses and links to such gems as Nimoy reading Bradbury.