Thursday: Audiobook Tasks
What do you do while you listen? Any particular tasks or games that you find amazing for audio time?
I think for most people, audiobooks started out as a compromise. I think the vast majority of readers, if given the options prefer to read. I know I did. Now, remember, I’m a strange guy. I remember reading The Dark Tower, and just wishing there was a way I could suck the works off the page. Actually consume the words. I love reading. I love the zone you enter when a good story just sucks you in, how the whole world just falls away and becomes less real than the world the author has pulled you into. For me, reading was my Wardrobe, a way to enter an infinite number of Narnias.
So, 10 years ago, if you would ask me which I would rather do, read a book, or listen, there was no choice in the matter, I read. All the time. Then, of course, there came a time when I couldn’t read as much as I wanted to. You see, reading has its limitations. Honestly, I think at some point all of us have attempted to get through that last chapter as we drive. Getting beeped at by the car behind us, because we just had to sneak a peak at the page while at the red light. Yet. people, you cannot really drive and read. You can’t walk and read. You can’t perform manual labor and read. It just doesn’t work.
That’s when you discover audiobooks. When, you make that compromise. There comes a point where you just need the story, and you will take it whatever way you can. For me, it came when I changed jobs. I worked at a job for 6 years, where I actually had time to read a physical book for large portions of my shift. When I switched, it became impossible. So, this is when I decided to truly give audiobooks a try. Sure, it would be a poor substitute for reading, but sometimes beggars can’t be choosers.
So, I downloaded a few audiobooks. I listened to them. I found them to be a bit exasperating, and not fully engaging. I had chosen two books I had read before, one of which was the multicast audio production of The Mist, and the second was the original Abridged version of World War Z, which I had recently read in print. They were nice. Then, I listened to Adam Grupper reading Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer, and I was back in that zone. I was again in Narnia, where everything else fell away and I sucking the words off the page through my ears into my brain.
Then I listened to Oliver Wyman’s reading Tim Dorsey’s Hurricane Punch, and I new I could never go back. That I was now a hopeless audiobook addict, who now looks at print reading as the compromise.
So, today we are asked what we do while we listen. For me, the simple answer is… anything that allows me to keep listening. I walk my dog longer, happily stop at yellow lights, and volunteer to vacuum, as long as the story is good. I scowl at people who disturb me during the good points, and have perfected the agreeing headshake to make people thing I am actually listening to what they are saying, when in fact, I am listening to zombies get their heads blown off, and or space battles between robots and hybrid monkey lizards.
There is something that happens when a good story is expertly told. I think it touches something deep in our genetic memory. I think this is a reason why I haven’t really gotten into over produced audio dramas, and often resent intrusions like music and special effects. When someone is telling me a story, I don’t need those extras. It’s just me, and the words floating through the ethereal mist, being expertly guided by a storyteller.