Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Joy of Audiobooks by Tamsyn Murray

I am frequently late to parties.

I am not one of those keenies who arrives at the very beginning of a shindig, with a bottle of something extremely drinkable in one hand and a gift for their host in the other. No, I am more likely to have forgotten the invitation almost as soon as I opened it, only remembering that there is something I should be doing when I see others shouting about what a great (or terrible) time they are having at the party. And then I will hurriedly pull on some glad rags - if I can find any - and join in late with proceedings, probably asking any number of annoying questions of my fellow party-goers as we dance.

See? I know how to arrive late.

My most recent 'late to the party' thing is audiobooks. And I'm not so much late this time, more revisiting an all-night rave that I once attended but left around midnight (before it got good), and I've now found it has been going on without me all this time. I used to listen to books on CDs in the car - my daughter and I worked our way through the Harry Potter series (read by Stephen Fry) during long journeys. I even listened to a couple of my own stories on CD, which made a refreshing change, But I didn't consider audiobooks as a replacement for actual books until a few weeks ago.

I blame Carrie Fisher. When she died, I suddenly wanted to read her books. Except that I wanted more than that; I wanted Carrie Fisher to read me her books. So I used one of my many unused Audible credits and downloaded Wishful Drinking, so I could listen to it while I walked my dog.

I loved it. I enjoyed Carrie's dry humour and eccentricities. Feeling bold, I tried The Princess Diarist, also by Carrie Fisher. Before I knew it, I was listening to The Girl With All the Gifts, by M R Carey. And I was hooked - I stayed up until 2am, absorbing the story in the same way I would if I was reading it. Now I'm onto The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith, and I love that too. A lot depends on the voice of the reader but I am careful to check out the sample before I buy. I listen as I walk the dog, in the car, while walking home. One of the things I like best is that it's harder to skip ahead, to find our what happens next faster. I simply listen and enjoy. And maybe dance a bit, if no one is watching, because audiobooks are a great party. I'm glad I got there eventually.

How about you? Do you prefer print books or audiobooks? Are you even later to the party than me?


Hilary said...

I discovered audio books some years ago when my mother developed an eye condition that, unfortunately, led to blindness. She'd been an avid reader all her life and was determined not to give up her love for stories. The answer was audio books and she'd let me borrow them. They are incredibly relaxing and really there ought to be an audio version of every book! Wonderful for children and journeys too. (Regarding parties, I'm normally one of those who get there in good time but have tendencies to make excuses to sneak off early - usually so I don't lose essential reading before sleeping time!)

Penny Dolan said...

Tamsyn, I agree with you. They are very good if you are a gobbling-up-the-story kind of reader as they do help you to appreciate the storytelling and writing, particularly when the voice feels the right voice.

However, I have a couple of personal issues to deal with: my best "free" time for listening to audiobooks (and R4 programmes) seems to be at bedtime but the spoken word has such a soothing, re-assuring effect on me, I slip into sleep far too soon. My life is clearly missing long car journeys and new cat is not interested in walks.

Having said that, does anyone have other recommendations for well-read audio titles that they've loved?

Jen Robinson said...

I am completely addicted to audiobooks. I listen when I walk or exercise, when I'm by myself in the car, and when I'm doing anything mundane around the house (folding laundry, etc.). Lately, because I get up really early, I have a hard time reading print books for very long before I get sleepy. Audiobooks have been a savior, enabling me to keep reading while I do other things. And yes, sometimes I have to invent chores because I want an excuse to finish!

Tamsyn Murray said...

Agree that there should be an audiobook of every book. And I have listened to Neil Gaiman read his books then read them myself - I could listen to him all day.
(Parties - once I am there you can't her rid of me!)

Tamsyn Murray said...

Ha, Penny, I fell asleep last week while listening to The Girl With All the Gifts and dreamt about zombies! But I usually listen while cooking or washing up, while waiting for my little boy to fall asleep at bedtime etc. I think I might be addicted...

Sue Bursztynski said...

Actually, I treat audiobooks as a sort of performance, an alternative way to enjoy books I have already read. I like to hear the interpretations. A really good actor can give me something I didn't have when I read it myself. Tony Robinson for the Discworld books, for example. Stephen Fry - and the(British) actor who reads the American versions gave an interview in which he talked about having to work out about 143 different voices for the characters! If you're willing to listen to Star Trek, Jonathan Frakes manages to get all the voices right, including the female ones. Hi Lwaxana Troi replicates the voice of Majel Barrett perfectly.

And there are some actors who could get me listening to the phone book, such as Richard Armitage, who read a Georgette Heyer novel, Sylvester. :-)