Friday, May 27, 2005

No CD talk today...let's talk audio books instead...

Neil Gaiman, who is one of my favorite authors, keeps a great online journal. In this post from yesterday he discusses the merits of audio books, and it pleased the hell out of me to read this because I've thought the same thing for quite some time. I've been a monthly subscriber of Audible for a long while now (although, admittedly, I'm presently very backlogged with my audio books, much as I am with my regular books). Audible is great because audio books on their own are damn expensive, but with my monthly subscription, I get two audio books a month for about $20, when these two books on CD would run me $40+.

While I've had a few books that turned out to be dingers in audio form, most are great. For example, I loved the reading of Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex (a great book - if you haven't read it, rectify this problem post-haste). While I'm sure I would've like the book just fine reading it, I think the reader gave it extra flavor. And while many books are very good in audio form, some are absolutely fantastic, and I suspect better than the written version. The perfect example is Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Read by the apparent hopeful future-senator of Minnesota, you get to hear all of Franken's great tones and inflections. Better yet, you get his impressions - for example, when reading various quites from his favorite buddy Bill O'Reilly, he reads them in a fantastic O'Reilly impression. Plus, certain media quotes are presented by playing the actual audio, which is infintely better than simply reading a transcript.

For those that are interested, the current audio book on my plate is Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which is utterly fantastic, although it is also incredibly long and I have fallen way behind in my reading/listening.

Anyway, my point is, if you're not enjoying the world that is audio books, you're missing out. This is particularly true if you have a daily commute or workout regimen, which is perfect for this. So stop reading this blog and go listen to an audio book. Now!


At 2:02 PM, Blogger Bug said...

When I was driving between San Fran and LA, I found that talk radio was my savior. Rock radio couldn't keep me interested during the drive because I knew all of the songs and it was too easy for me to tune out, relax, and subsequently I'd get drowsy during the 5 hour drive.

Talk radio, on the other hand, was constantly changing and constantly unpredictable (unless it was Right Wing talk radio in which case it consisted of little more than "Bush rules. Liberals are the devils. Gays and Ecoterrorists are making my church unsafe. Etc." I'd often get drowsy from that crap.).

It wasn't until the tail end of my making that long drive that I discovered audio books. Like a lot of people, Harry Potter was the first audio book I ever heard. It was great. I don't make that long drive anymore, but if I did, I'd be an audio booker all the way.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Bug said...

Oh, and if you get a chance, can you update your sidebar links so as to change turdhall.blogspot... to oogu.blogspot...?



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