Sunday, July 22, 2007

To Audio or Not to Audio

My writing friend Mandy had an interesting blog entry the other day on audiobooks that I thought I'd echo here. (I hope she doesn't mind.)

She said she tried them out for the first time recently — and was bored. They were incredibly hard to get into and she was glad she was able to quickly return them to the library.

I have to say I'm not a big fan of audiobooks either. Yes, it's nice to be able to feel like you've accomplished something on a long car trip (though I'll take a good Tigers game over an audiobook any day), but I have a hard time saying I really "read" something that I've just listened to. It often feels like the CliffNotes version — or that I've just watched a movie based on the book.

I absolutely refuse to listen to abridged books on tape or CD. As an author, I feel something of a moral outrage at condensed books. They often leave out everything (or nearly everything) that made the original beautiful or thought-provoking.

I usually stay away from fiction too. Somehow listening to a non-fiction book seems less jarring. Maybe I don't hear as strong a voice of narration in my head when I read non-fiction, so I don't mind if the one I'm getting on tape sounds differently. I can't tell you my exact reasons why, because I don't know what they are.

So, while I don't mind hearing Stephen King narrate his life's story in On Writing on tape, I just can't get excited about audiobooks in general. I enjoy the mental process of reading too much to ever give it up for audio. They are two completely separate ways of absorbing information as far as I'm concerned.

*Poohba steps off soapbox*

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