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Thread: Audio books vs reading a book oneself

  1. #11
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    It very much depends on the book for me.

    Cheap sleazy mystery/sci-fi/fantasy works great in the car for long road trips for me. And sometimes an audio book is just the thing if I'm puttering around the house all day doing chores.

    Right now, for a class I've been taking since the pandemic began, I'd "reading" Obama's latest book, which I decided to try as an audiobook, as he himself is the narrator. The book itself is 700+ pages long, and I didn't feel like devoting the time to slog through it, but it's quite nice playing the 30+ hour long narration while doing tasks around the house. He does a great job reading his own words, and his intonation/rhythm/delivery add more interest to what is sometimes quite dry material.

    In general for this class I've preferred the Kindle editions of books, as I can easily highlight passages and take notes, and use whichever device I am nearby to make progress.

    Also, in general, I've been transitioning to ebooks for most purposes for several years now. Over the past several years I've donated > 8000 volumes of physical books to the local library book sale, and the house is still infested with physical books. I still get the occasional physical book to sit quietly by the fire in my comfy chair with a glass of Scotch with during a storm, somehow the ebook feels out of place in that context.

  2. #12
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    In general I like audio books, both fiction and non-fiction, but the narrator can totally make or break an audio book. Peter Coyote is always good. I've also enjoyed books read by Stephen Hoye and Michael Kramer. Fortunately we can now go to Amazon.com, put the narrator's name in the search bar, and listen to samples of their voice and style to see if we like it.

    Oddly enough my biggest disappointment was Dick Van Dyke's autobiography My Lucky Life. I saw him on a talk show telling some of the stories in the book and they were very funny, so I got the audio book from the library. You would think that being a talented actor he would have read his autobiography brilliantly, but unlike his humorous presentation of those stories on the talk show, he read the audio book almost like reading a lawn mower repair manual, with very little inflection or pacing or other vocal methods to give the material flavor. I'm still baffled by his poor performance on material he was obviously capable of presenting so much better.

  3. #13
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KayLR View Post
    The narrator or reader, to me, makes or breaks the audiobook.
    Well, one of the reasons I've adopted the practice of listening to a book/podcast at bedtime is because of this one author who has the most serene, gentle speech pattern I've ever heard. He puts me to sleep in about 5 minutes, so there are some podcasts of his I've never even finished because I only get as far as the introduction and then I'm out for the count.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  4. #14
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    For me, audiobooks are part of my sleep routine. Each night I set a 45-minute take, and I am usually gone "sleepy-bye" before the 45 minutes is up.

    I often revisit books from the past, because my method of listening obviously leaves many gaps in comprehension. I could probably be contented with just going back to Gone With the Wind and Chernow's Hamilton

    Also I have enjoyed authors reading their own work:
    Martin Short
    Al Franken
    Bill Nye
    Sanjay Gupta
    Marshall Rosenberg
    David Sedaris
    John Cleese
    Bryon Stevenson
    Last edited by dado potato; 3-1-21 at 12:17am.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I've just discovered audio books. I think they have their place but are not for every type of book. The ones I've especially enjoyed is light reading and more story telling than reading. The most recent I enjoyed was a Stephen King book of short stories, where each story was read by a different reader. On the other hand I can't imagine audio with some non-fiction science and technology. As an example I read "Sapiens", which is pretty heady for my level of reading and understanding, and required more concentration than audio listening would allow. However, I did recently listen to the audio version after reading the book. It was a good memory refresher and I picked up some new things I'd not noticed when reading.

    I don't think audio books are an overall substitute for reading, but they have their place.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    I hate audio books. I am a fast reader and donít want someone reading to me.
    Bingo!

  7. #17
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
    Bingo!
    Yeah, that’s me too. Also I am a skim reader and skim the boring parts.

    Unfortunately, I now skim too much and I skim over basic stuff in the reading material. A bad habit.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    I'm a member of the speed readers club. I've tried audio books and I keep catching my mind wandering and having to back. I may try it again one day but they definitely didn't work for me in the car. I had high hopes for that one summer taking a trip down to California...

  9. #19
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    After high school, I pretty much relied on audio books. I used to travel a lot for work and I listened to a number of audio books. Frankly, I feel audio books are great companions when you are on the road. But I feel they might not be as dense and descriptive as a book. I remember listening to this audio book of Animal Farm and wondering how they have edited out a huge chunk of the book to make the audiobook crisp and concise.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoey View Post
    After high school, I pretty much relied on audio books. I used to travel a lot for work and I listened to a number of audio books. Frankly, I feel audio books are great companions when you are on the road. But I feel they might not be as dense and descriptive as a book. I remember listening to this audio book of Animal Farm and wondering how they have edited out a huge chunk of the book to make the audiobook crisp and concise.
    IMHO abridged books, either physical or digital/audio, are an abomination. You deserve to read/hear the whole book as it was originally published, not some clockwatcher's version with chucnks of description or action cut out to make it shorter.

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