Audible & Me (Reading…Listening)

I am not a good listener. Or at least I’ve never labelled myself as one. Of course, I have the ability to comprehend and keep up in conversation, most of the time. But that’s not the type of listening I’m referring to. What I’m referring to is the type of listening done while someone else is reading. It always seems as though my mind is moving too slowly in the analytical department when a piece is being read aloud by someone else unless I am reading along. In the time it takes for the person to read two sentences I have analyze one or half of a sentences which means that no matter what I am always behind.

Now you’d think that from what I’ve explained above that an audio book, no audio book would ever entice me…But I really love books. I mean simply having books around me makes me feel a lot calmer. So of course, I do have more than a few books in my room, and several shelves more in a storage room. Though I’ve read and made use of a good many, there are still a lot which I have yet to open. Why? The same reason as countless other readers. The time simply does not exist. But still the thought of books makes me really happy, and the temptation of a free book is simply too enticing to be left on its own. So when I saw Amazon’s Audible offer of a free book albeit a book that I would have to listen to rather than read for myself…well…I took it. And it was worth it.

I began listening to Ted Bell’s Tsar yesterday, and not only am I keeping up I have increased the reading speed to 1.5. I have been analyzing, and it is pushing me to keep more focused. However, there is one problem. When reading there’s a bond that is built between myself, the writer, and the characters in the novel. This is how I feel and perceive it. However, having someone else read to me is entirely different. Sitting here now I am only vaguely recalling the details. It feels as though I didn’t actually experience the novel. And truly that’s what I’m looking for. That’s why I read.

Reading isn’t just about the story it’s about opening myself to the perspective and opinion of others. So though Audible is perfect for those who attach themselves to a story or person by listening. I can say in that respect it is not for me. I do not feel the pull of the characters, I do not remember them as though I have lived them, and that for me is an absolute must. I will, of course, continue to listen to the remaining books. However, I will be returning to reading books for myself.

You may be asking: What about the reading quality? So far it’s superb. John Shea’s reading of Tsar by Ted Bell rips it up as he used the different accents, and tones for the various character. He even changes his voice for the different scenes. If the scene is a calm on then his voice carried it with an easygoing manner to it. In the more rowdy parts his voice carried an edge to it depending too on the characters in the scene. I love it.

His Russian accent, his British, American, Japanese. They are all so real. The only accent I’d say he didn’t quite ace for obvious reasons is the general Caribbean accent used to recite lines of a Calypso, and the Jamaican accent of one of the characters. As a Caribbean national myself I can understand the difficultly of getting the accent just right. Though he didn’t it was good enough so as not to distract the reader. And maybe I should just say it was good. I’ve heard imitations that completely changed the words entirely so that no one knows what is being said.

Props to Audible, the writers, and the readers.

See you next week Tuesday when I’ll give you a rundown of my experience with Audible on the more technical side.

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