Monday, 25 July 2016

A Literary Alphabet: A is for Audiobook

Welcome to the first edition of The Literary Lady’s Literary Alphabet! These little posts will each explore a different aspect of the world of books, reading and writing.

First up is ‘A’ for audiobook. Being read to is a pleasure usually reserved for children but we can all experience the joy of a bedtime story with an audiobook. Here’s my lowdown on audiobooks…

What’s Great…
  • Audiobooks can offer a deeper experience by simply adding sound. You can close your eyes and fully imagine what’s unfolding in the story whilst the words wash over you.
  • Audiobooks allow you to read on the go, in the bath, in the car.
  • I also think that audiobooks can help untangle knotty texts. What can look dense on the page loses some of its intimidation factor when read aloud.
Better off with a book?

  • The problem with audiobooks is that narrators inevitably put their own interpretation on the text – adding inflections, accents and tones. Some would argue this isn’t the same as creating the ‘voice’ of the book in your head.
  • Without the physical text to anchor you, there is a risk of completely drifting off and getting distracted when listening.
Things to Consider

  • Make sure you like the voice of the narrator. You can usually sample the audiobook before you buy.
  • Audiobooks of classics are usually abridged so decide whether this matters to you or not.
  • Think about what book would be good to be heard. I like to choose books I probably wouldn’t stick to if I were to read them. Spy novels would make for exciting listens too.
My verdict would be that audiobooks are a ‘reading experience’ in themselves. The occasional audiobook makes a nice change in your reading life but nothing beats the feel of a book in your hands as your eyes dart across the page.

What do you think of audiobooks? Can you recommend any?


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