Monday, November 12, 2007

Audio Books 101

When you read a book you put your own inflections and emphasis on the words and phrases, you interpret it in your own way. In some cases this is the best way to experience a book. It's a very different experience listening to a book versus actually reading it, you're now subject to the inflection and emphasis that the reader places on the text. If the individual reading the book is good at it this intermediary can greatly improve the book's impression. If the reader is bad it can ruin an otherwise good text. Things like tone, cadence, articulation.

I have found that the best way to experience a good book is to hear it read by the author – it seems that when this is possible you get the exact intentions of the author the text is read with the emphasis and inflection that they intended which in turn encourages you to take it in and interpret it as intended.

Another thing that makes a big difference in audio books are voices. Some readers are great at using voices or different speech patterns for different characters. Some books even have completely different readers for different characters - espcially if the book is written from the perspective of multiple characters.

Below are great examples of the various type of audio books - all of which I recommend.

Author Read
- Eat, Pray, Love by Liz Gilbert
- Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
- The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Great Reader
- The Queen of the Big Time read by Cassandra Campbell
- Water for Elephants read by David LeDoux
- The Wedding read by Tom Wopat

Great Voices
- Citizen of the Galazy read by Lloyd James
- The Lottery read by Paul Michael

Multiple Readers
- My Sister's Keeper written by Jodi Picoult

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