Monday, March 9, 2015

#Microblog Monday: Read to Me

(technically posted on Tuesday, I guess.)

This weekend, during a long drive (you'll just have to wait to find out where I went!), I listened to what I think may have been my first audiobook.

I belong to a book discussion group that reads one book a month together, and I've always read the book, scanned the physical pages, even brought it with me to meetings for reference.  I think I may have read a book on the Kindle just once; I just prefer the feel and smell of paper, being able to flip back and forth, scanning the pages for a word or a passage.  Other people in the group, people who are frequent flyers and commuters, listen to audiobooks regularly.  I just didn't think it was for me.

But the person in charge of our choice for this month picked Faulker's As I Lay Dying, and though I bought the paper copy too (somehow, I seemed not to have a copy any more, though I'm sure I read it in high school), thinking about my drive, on a whim, I downloaded the book from Audible.

I don't know if it would work as well with all books, but something about this one--between the cast of characters and frequent switch of narrators, and the poetic language that the characters use--it was absolutely the right choice.  I don't remember enjoying--or understanding--Faulkner nearly as much on the printer page as I have as it has been read to me.  Suddenly the poetry of the language became more evident than before, the pauses and ellipses more pregnant and meaningful.

On the way home from work I caught a story on NPR about audiobooks: about authors who now write for the ear, rather than the eye.   We like the intimacy of a private performance, the publishers say.  But it's something deeper, too.  After all, stories began in oral tradition.  Why wouldn't we be pulled back to our origins by the very technology that divides us from the past?

I used to read to my son every night, until he decided that he could read faster on his own than I could read to him.  Now, I read to my daughter, and sometimes, my son still wanders in, though the books are far beneath him, to listen to the story, to laugh at the voices, to cuddle with us.  He leaves reluctantly to brush his teeth, hangs around the doorway, still listening.  When I turn the light out, my daughter asks me to tell her another, to fabricate something out of the darkness.  Sometimes, I ask her to tell me one, too.  There's just something about the sound of a good story.

Do you listen to audiobooks?  Do you still read aloud?


Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is?Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.
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  1. I adore audiobooks, mostly because I can listen to them while I do other stuff. I listen to books on my commute, while I do the dishes, while I fold laundry, while I walk somewhere. It's such a great way to immerse myself in a story while I'm doing something mundane. It also ensures I actually read books, despite having very little time to read. Audiobooks are the best.

  2. I haven't ventured into the medium much, but I love radio shows and the few audiobooks I have listened to I have enjoyed.

    One of my fondest memories from childhood is story time. Like your son, I always wandered in.

  3. I have not gotten into audiobooks... but (as an English major) I found I understood Shakespeare's plays so much better when I SAW (heard) them, vs just trying to read them. Something about the flow of the spoken Old English, and hearing the tone and inflections just added so much more to my enjoyment and comprehension.

  4. I know where you went :-)

    I don't listen to audiobooks because I have trouble hearing and straining to catch the words would leave me distracted in the car.

    But I love reading aloud. I read to the twins daily. And I have a separate book that I read aloud to the ChickieNob on Fridays. Usually Judy Blumes or something the Wolvog wouldn't really want to hear. And I read aloud at the book club I run for kids once a week. I think hearing it aloud is important. If you can hear it :-)

  5. I've only listened to one audiobook. I prefer the kindle these fays because it's easier to read with one hand while holding Baby Z. I love to read books to X and he's developing a love of books too even though he doesn't read yet.

  6. I haven't listened to one in years, but I remember it being very relaxing when I did.

  7. Jealous of where you went ;-) (and not only of you.)

    You've made me wonder if folks living at the time of the invention of the printing press were lamenting the death of the oral tradition the way we currently lament the death of the book-reading tradition.

    Well, at least I am lamenting it. I get started on a FB tear at night and the book doesn't get picked up.


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