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I heard that!

8 December 2010

So, I have a friend name Brad. Despite his failure in conquering the six-pound burrito at the Sahara Casino Hotel in Las Vegas (see below), he’s a good guy.

This burrito haunts his dreams.

Brad’s also a fan of books (of course). He routinely blows huge chunks of money at bookstores, and has more than once had to buy an extra bag on vacation with which to carry his new books home. He’s also the person who introduced me to audiobooks on a long drive from Nebraska to Florida. He prefers terrible action books for long drives, because they keep him awake laughing.

I’m of two minds about audiobooks. When done badly (or when the self-empowerment nonsense kind), they’re kind of irritating. But when done well, they’re true theater of the mind — like a radio play from the 40s. I don’t have a great many of them, but the ones I do have are just as entertaining as the novels they sprang from.

So, what’s your opinion on them, folks? Friend or foe? Any really good or terrible ones out there?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 December 2010 1051

    I’m with you–it depends on how they are done.
    I love them for the kids on a long drive.
    I haven’t tried listening to an action book yet 🙂

  2. Trace permalink
    8 December 2010 1100

    I have to go with the “friend” catgeory because I can digest more books that way. Which is always a good thing. I can put them on my ipod when I’m running or put them on in my vehicle when I’m out doing things, then still read regular books on my downtime.

    They’re good for travelling, too.

  3. 8 December 2010 1326

    In general, I love them. Both Craig Ferguson and Carrie Fisher read their own recent memoirs, and it was like listening to a stand-up show for most of them. When read by the author, at least you know they’re doing it how it was intended. That said, my current favorite audiobook, or rather audiobook series (though it’s short enough to constitute one full-length book) is Mark Hamill’s reading of The Spiderwick Chronicles. He does all the monster and fairy voices so well! Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books make for good audio, too, as to Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries. The guys who read each of those can be counted on to do them justice. I think the worst ones I’ve ever suffered were Raymond E. Feist’s “Magician” books, but that could be because they’re stinky books to begin with, then read with an utterly flat affect.

  4. 8 December 2010 2240

    Heather, thanks for the recommends! I will look for the Spiderwicks in audio. We read them all (out loud, together) as a family from the hardcover books when they came out, but a good narrator is worth listening to.

    I’m going to go with “friend” as well. I love reading as much as I can, and audiobooks allow me to spend more time reading! I generally only get to listen to them on multi-day road trips in the car, but in smaller stints I listen while grocery shopping or while loading the dishwasher/cooking (though not so much now that I have an infant to keep an ear open for, too!)

    I often found that, while I was attending college courses, the only “fun” reading I could get done was in audiobook format, because all my paper-format book reading time was taken up with school-related books.

    Like I said before, a good narrator is worth listening to. Poor narrators are indeed a sad thing to encounter, but I certainly wouldn’t let the possibility of poor narration prevent me from continuing to listen to audio books! And speaking of good narrators: Neil Gaiman does most of his own books… and they’re FABULOUS.

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