I have only recently, within the past year, gotten really into the audiobook thing. This occurred about the time I aged enough to realize that music and morning DJs on the radio SUCK. This collided with the discovery that you can download books directly to your device from the local library using Overdrive. Thusly and therefore, audiobooks saved me from driving my car off the road rather than listen to morning radio.
Now, I probably “read” somewhere between 3 and 5 books a month by just listening to them in the car while driving. I LOVE it. I am a believer. I have fully converted and proselytize wherever I go. There are some books that I know would never hold my interest if I read them through my eyeballs. For example, I hate reading books with too much random italic font (e.g., flashbacks, words in non-English) and books where the names of the characters are long, difficult for me to sound out, or too similar to each other. But audiobooks really help smooth out those little pains in the ass… and don’t you want your ass pain to be smoothed!? Of course, you do. Plus, I like when English stories have English- accents strewing from the speakers.
Of course, as with all things, there are many thungs that get on my nerves about audiobooks. Topping that list: missing junk. I first noticed that I might be missing out on something when I read a blog post about the cover of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store. Apparently, in some versions, the books on the cover glow in the dark. I LOVED that book and felt full and wholly robbed by not knowing that there was something special about the cover. Similarly, at book club last week, I learned that there is a map on the inside of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I was less emotional about that one, but still felt that I hadn’t gotten the full experience of understanding Harold’s 600-mile journey across England. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of graphics and whatnot in Feed by M.T. Anderson that helps the reader understand the disorganized nature of the world; the audiobook used sounds and distortions to do it.
The way that a reader inflects or emphasize certain words makes a big difference in the book, especially when it comes to jokes. Timing is everything and subtle changes in the words can change the interpretation of meaning. I get a little distracted sometimes when there’s a speaking choice that I think was really misleading (Like it’s up to me, right!? My ego-mania knows no bounds). I’ve decided that audiobooks are the only way I’m ever reading memoirs, though I intend to make an exception for Alan Cummings if i have to. There’s ZERO possibility that Tina Fey’s book Bossy Pants, which she reads, would have been as entertaining through the eyes. Not that I don’t love her, but it’s because of her delivery and personality.
There have been a few books audiobooks that were read by someone with a voice that I was so intolerant of that I couldn’t even finish it. That’s been a rare occurrence. Though, in the second book of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, apparently they switched voices and I was righteously pissed until I forgot all about it.
If you want a great audiobook that puts it all together, get How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. If you prefer stuff with adult main characters (and if you do, you should reevaluate yourself and your preferences) then go with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by May Ann Shaffer.