Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursentary: Audiobooks

Usually I like books. Usually they are among my favorite things—but I have a story to tell. A story of love, loss, and ultimate betrayal.

Nebraska, in summer. We have family out there, which means an eight hour drive from the freshness of Colorado altitude down into the heat and heaviness of the east Nebraska air. You’d want a book to read over an eight hour drive, and having Mom read aloud made her carsick after too long. Clearly, this was a job for an audiobook.

via Goodreads
Now, I picked Erak’s Ransom by John Flanagan. Ranger’s Apprentice books are great to read in the car. They are funny, they are light, and they are filled with adventure. Not only that, but Erak’s Ransom is my favorite book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. IT IS. And just as we finished that second disc—the CD player broke.

No more Will. No more schmexy Selethen. NO MORE LAUGHTER OR SARCASM OR JOY AT ALL. The rest of that car ride was mostly silent. I have never forgiven that CD player, and I have never listened to an audiobook since.

Until now.

College is a ways away. As much as I love FM radio, my favorite station has too many ads for that early morning drive. Despite the fact that you can’t rock out to an audiobook, I have committed to listening to one again.

It is called The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks, and it took me 35 minutes to pick out.

via Goodreads
You have to be choosy with an audiobook, you know? Like, you don’t want to start crying while you’re driving. Emotional driving is dangerous driving. Nor do you want to be so surprised you swerve into oncoming traffic. Light, humorous, adventurous. That’s the stuff.

I’ve been surprised how easy it is to keep up with the story, and it’s kind of fun to be read to, for once. It’s good for the brain, probably. And, now that the homework is trickling back in, I can still keep up with my reading by making use of my commute time.

Admittedly, it does come with setbacks. For example, The Reformed Vampire Support Group takes place in Australia, which, as you may have guessed, inspired this particular tweet:


Now, it’s not that an Australian book is hard to understand. Even if we don’t say “gobsmacked” or “mobile phone” on this side of the Pacific, I know how context clues work. But it was a little tricky to place the reader, because, at least to my ears, she didn’t really sound Australian.

Now, to be completely clear: I KNOW Steve Irwin was not the ultimate of Australian accents. I know that. I do. But there are things like flatter vowels and harder R’s that distinguish an Australian accent from say, an American or English accent. And I’m just not picking those up. For the first third of the book I thought there was a character named Father Ammone because I couldn’t distinguish that she was actually speaking, “Fathah Ramon.”

And, as a quick side now, Father Ramon is my FAVORITE CHARACTER IN THIS WHOLE DANG BOOK. I mean, it’s a vampire and werewolves book, so it’s fairly predictable in other elements, but this priest always manages to surprise me. He ministers to the undead, he is crazy brave, and he is chill. But I digress.

Anyway, it’s harder to know names sometimes if the accent isn’t one you expect, and you interpret it into something else.

Nonetheless, I am having a jolly good time listening. I am betrayed no longer.

Do you often listen to audiobooks? What is your favorite or least favorite part about them?


18 comments :

  1. Your CD player was pure evil--I imagine that would be such a scarring experience. But that really is a good idea. We usually just listen to music in our car, or have awkward conversations about politics and painting or whatnot. I think an audio book would be a nice change.

    The Reformed Vampire Support Group sounds great--I may have to check it out at some point. How much was the audio book? But that's kind of disappointing that the accent doesn't sound distinctly Australian. I've seen a few British movies where they sounded pretty much American, and that was a letdown too.

    Do you have trouble paying attention while listening to audio books? I need to work on that. If I'm not pulling the words off the page with my eyes (that was weird), my mind tends to wander and I miss snatches of dialogue or description or whatnot. But audio books are still marvelous for those times when I can't actually read the book, like when I'm cleaning my room or something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was evil. HORRIBLY EVIL. But it has been nice in our road trips. We have listened to music before, too, and that's been enjoyable, but since we end up in bad ways if we talk to each other for too long, listening generally ends up in a better experience.

      I didn't actually buy the audiobook—I got it from my library, so it was completely free! And ew. I mean, at least the Reformed Vampire Support Group sounded foreign to some degree. If you're banking on British accents they definitely shouldn't be American.

      I have had a little trouble in the car, mostly when something on the road takes priority and my ears turn off. Those moments are few and far between, though, my mind is pretty much focused because it has to be. I definitely think it would be helpful for room cleaning though. I hope you like audiobooks if you decide to test one out!

      Delete
  2. I have a love/hate relationships with audiobooks. I will always prefer paper books, but occasionally I do like to listen to an audiobook. It's nice to have someone read to me while I do something busy with my hands like sewing and can still concentrate on the story. That said, I'm also not a fan of audiobooks because depending on the narrator, my opinion of the story can be affected. I'm currently listening to an audiobook of Jane Eyre and the narrator is really dramatic, which I think is affecting how I view the story. I'm still enjoying it, but it's interesting to think about how I would perceive the story if there was a different narrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hard copies are nice, huh? Nonetheless, yes, I can imagine it might be nice to have something else during sewing. I've always been more into music during those events, but an audiobook would work just as well! That's interesting that the narrator would impact your view of Jane Eyre—I don't think it's happening with my current vampire book, but a few years ago we listened to the Goblet of Fire in the car, and the narrator made the story seem so much more ridiculous than necessary. :P Still, I'm sorry that the narrator doesn't seem your favorite. :(

      Delete
  3. They're a couple audiobooks that I love and will defend to the death--listening to The Sisters Grimm as narrated by L.J. Ganser makes the books about ten times funnier, which is a pretty epic feat since they're already HILARIOUS--but otherwise I prefer reading print books, because when I'm only listening my mind tends to wander. The Reformed Vampire Support Group sounds really good, though. I'll have to check it out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I haven't tried the audiobooks of that series, but they sound good! They are hilarious on paper, though, so perhaps I should give them a try, too! If you do read it, be sure to update me so we can compare notes. :)

      Delete
  4. I STILL have yet to complete an audiobook. This bothers me to no end.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I tend to get distracted while listening to audiobooks so I don't usually listen to them. I do, however, love my Narnia audiobooks to death and am a fan of a few other audio books. I think I might like them better if I had a long drive, but school is about five minutes away so it really isn't worth it.

    Hahaha, and it's all good :) I don't know what Wyoming looks like, so I would picture it as Australia without kangaroos :D (And I actually had to check a map, I didn't even know where Wyoming was).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny, because I tend to get more distracted when I'm bored rather than any particular format. Still, I'm glad you've at least had Narnia to enjoy. :) And no, I totally get it. I never listened to audiobooks in the car before I never had anywhere to be that made it long enough. College is the only reason for that change. :P

      I feel like someday one of us may end up in the Outback or Wyoming and we will be disappointed to see that my comparison was wrong. xD And yeah, I have gotten that response before from a Canadian...

      Delete
  6. I read the reformed a few years ago and really liked it. I usually listen to them on long journeys or while running. One funny thing that I find, though, is that I can't reread something that I listened to on audio. Like I really want to reread Cinder and I probably could if I tried hard enough, but I haven't done it yet, because it takes so much longer as an audio and I absorb it more and thus don't want to reread. Currently I'm listening to the Dream Thieves by maggie Steifvater on audio (but I'm only half an hour in) I find audiobooks good because they don't require light (an excellent trait when your sibling/ roommate goes to sleep before you) I guess the thing that frustrates me about audiobooks is that they take so long. You need to be in a long term, committed relationship with them (I hardly ever drive anywhere, so this could just be me) They need attention all the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you liked it! :) That's weird that audiobooks turn you off from the paper copy, though. Books do take a time commitment, but I hope you enjoy Cinder if you ever do convince yourself to pick up the paper book someday. Ooh, Maggie Steifvater. Perhaps I should look into reading some of her books on tape! Audiobooks do take a long time, and so I can get why that would frustrate you. Like I told Victoria up there, I never listened to them until this week, when I started having to drive to a distant school. :P

      Delete
  7. Oh, this sounds AWESOME! I've never thought about listening to audiobooks while driving - my commute to work is only 15 minutes, so usually I drive in silence - but I LOVE the idea. I used to listen to audiobooks when I ran, but the pacing was always too off for me. I'll definitely be giving this a try!
    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, perhaps you could take a road trip the next time you get some vacation time and have a chance to listen longer than fifteen minutes. xD I hope that the short commute isn't too hard on your audiobook time!

      Delete
  8. I confess, I have never listened to an audiobook in my life. I really like the idea, but I feel like I'd get distracted and tune out accidentally. I think this might be useful for the long bus ride in the upcoming school year, and I'll definitely have to check out a few audiobooks. Any YA fantasy recs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's okay! Not all formats work for everybody, after all. I won't say that there aren't times when you tune out, but if you're in a scenario where you can focus on it I haven't found a problem. Unfortunately, the only YA fantasy I have listened to are Artemis Fowl, Ranger's Apprentice (that's fantasy, right?), and Harry Potter. They, however, are all awesome, so if you can snag one, they'd definitely be enjoyable. :)

      Delete
  9. OMG YOU DID NOT JUST SAY "Wyoming with kangaroos." *gasps and collapses* Australia is...AUSTRALIA IS AMAZING. Idek how to describe it because America is something I know all about because 90% of what I read or watch on TV is American so it doesn't even feel like an alien place to me. I think Australia needs to work harder on getting its culture out there so aaaall the peoples know us. XD BUT YEAH. Um. I hate to say this but: no one even really sounds like Steve Irwin. Most Australians totally DON'T sound "that Australian". >_>

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *blinks* I feel like I will not say anything about your America comment because I think ultimately the matter at hand here is that if you have not been to a place then you cannot judge a place and so I will let you figure out how I feel about your logic on your own. I will say that no one has really advertised pictures of Australian suburbs to me, because I guess taking pictures of houses is not a popular vacation destination in comparison with kangaroos and the harbor and whatnot. And I will also add that I know that Australians don't sound like Steve Irwin—but all the Australians I have heard on TV do not sound British, either, and that was kinda my point. Anyway, sorry my knowledge of Australia is frustrating for you. I will do better next time.

      Delete

Check it out, comments and stuff. I love to hear from readers, and I always respond to commenters! Here's the fun part—if you leave a link to your blog I'll show up and comment back. I have just one rule down here: Don't Be a Problem. This spans the entire umbrella of rudeness and crudeness, so I reiterate: Don't Be a Problem. Thanks for stopping by!