Audio Books

You’ve heard all of the arguments already, so I’ll just say that I am the type of reader who enjoys the tactile experience of holding the book as I read it. That does not mean that I have ruled out audio books entirely, however. I have experimented with audio books a couple of times, with mixed results. I was not bold enough to invest any money into my first audio book experience, so I went to my local library. I checked out The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, a book I had not read. I may have to read it yet, as the first disc would not play. I returned to the library undaunted and checked out a Star Wars audio book next. That book was also difficult to listen to – not because the disc wouldn’t play, but because it was a dramatization, and a poor one at that. I wrote my experiment off as a failure and moved on. Recently I tried again, this time with podcasts supplanting the library. I downloaded the Random House Audio Podcast and the HarperCollins Prosecast and listened to them during my morning commute. I found it interesting to listen to the sample of Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt while watching it pass by from the window of the train, but the sample of Invincible, the final book in the Star Wars: Legacy of the Force series, was another intolerable dramatization. I didn’t care for the interview with Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, either, but that had nothing to do with the author or her book; it was the over-the-top tone of host Cathi Bond that bothered me. Despite the mixed results of my experiments, today I purchased my first audio book: The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien, read by Christopher Lee. I have reviewed this book previously on this blog, and the audio version cannot take the place of the print version. It can supplement it, however. I loved the book so much that I am excited to listen to Lee, the actor who played Saruman in The Lord of the Rings films, read it with his very proper pronunciation. That is the my solution to the audio book problem, at any rate.


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