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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Audiobooks (Or what doesn’t work for me: Reading)

I may have mentioned before that I’m not much of a reader.  I do read when I have to and I like the benefit I gain from what I read.  But the act of reading, itself, is actually quite a chore for me and not one that I at all enjoy.  So reading for pleasure and as a leisure activity… well, it just doesn’t happen.

However, I am a non-reader who has recently developed an interest in some of the more classic literature.  Like Jane Austen, for example.

I had seen the movies of Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson) quite a long time ago, enjoying each of them.  I even bought a copy of Emma and began to read it because I loved the story in the movie so much.  It still sits on my bedside table with a bookmark in it about halfway through.  I find it a little difficult to make much progress when I have to start back over at the beginning of a chapter (or even the previous chapter) every time I pick it up just to remember what is going on because it has been so long since the last time I was able to read any of it.

Until a couple of months ago, however, I had not, seen the movie of Pride & Prejudice.  It was on television one day recently so I stopped and watched it.  All the good folks on the Twitter told me that the BBC/Colin Firth version was so much better than the Kiera Knightly version, which is what I was watching at the time.  Something about this whole exchange made me interested to actually read the book itself.  And yet Emma still remains on my bedside table.  Taunting me.  Laughing at me. “You’ll never finish Pride & Prejudice.  You can’t even finish me!!”

And then I remembered, I recently came across a site called Librivox where audio books of many classic novels and books, all in the public domain, are recorded and made available for free.  I knew I was about to go on a lengthy car trip with my daughter, and I needed to load up my iPod.  So I figured why not load some audio books on there to give me something different to listen to while we drove.

It was great.  While Sarah read or watched a movie, I’d just put in an ear-bud and listen to the story.

I didn’t finish the book while on the trip.  I have found, though, that I do love to just put in my earbuds while at work and I can do some things while listening to the story in the background.  In fact, it helps keep me focused on the task at hand and keeps me from averting my attention to, “Oh look, something shiny.”

After finishing the Pride & Prejudice audiobook a couple of weeks ago, I checked out the BBC version of the movie from our local library.  It really did track so closely to the book, which I enjoyed very much.  And I never would have finished it where it not for Librivox and their wonderful audio books.

I was going to include some thoughts on the book and movie themselves in this post, but that will have to wait for another day.

By the way, I’m currently listening to Emma.  I will finish it.  I am determined.


Just a few notes on using Librivox:

  1. You can download it to iTunes and it shows up under podcasts, not as an audio book.
  2. The chapters are each separate or in groups of 2 or 3 chapters at a time.
  3. Once downloaded to your iPod, for me at least, the chapters end up in reverse order.  I have yet to figure out a way to have them in an order so that I can just hit play and not mess with it again.  As it is, I have to hit the “rewide/skip back” button to go to the next chapter.


This post has been added to Works for Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family.  Go visit Kristen’s blog for more helpful hints.


LaVonne said...

I love audio books too. I like to check them out at the library. It is nice to listen to them in the car and at night in bed.

Thanks for sharing this link.

Kirsten G said...

Yay, another audiobook convert! :) Librivox is great, but did you know that most public libraries have digital lending of professional audiobooks? You can go to your library's website and search their media - chances are they're linked in with OverDrive, which serves up digital audio for 9,000+ libraries.

Also, come join us on Audiobook Community! Over 4,000 members just since our launch in June, including industry professionals, narrators, and avid listeners. We'd love to have you, and you can get great recommendations for your next listens in the "Listening NOW!" group. Hope to see you there!

Kirsten G
Social Media Editor
AudioFile Magazine

ElleBee said...

I'm a huge bookwork, but I do like audiobooks, particularly for travel or occasionally at work, depending on the task I'm doing. I may have to try some Jane Austen on audiobook. Actually READING Pride & Prejudice was like trying to walk blindfolded through was slow and horrible!

Kay said...

Can you re-arrange the order of the chapters if you make a playlist out of them and then play that? (like I know a whole lot about what I just said there...)

Deirdre said...

I love Jane Austen, but I generally don't enjoy the older versions of audio recording. Maybe some of these readers will be better.

thanks for the tip.