Monthly Archives: August 2015

Audio Books vs Print Books

Recently I moved house so I’ve had no broadband connection for the last two weeks. Because I use a free app to stream audiobooks I used up my remaining mobile phone data, bought another 1GB and used that up during one afternoon listening to a The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Grey. Distraught at not being able to listen to a book while I went about my daily chores I took half an hour off in the garden with a printed book and a cup of tea. Was it more enjoyable to take time out and read a book or listen to someone else reading it while I worked? Its a question I’ve been pondering over the last few days.

When reading a printed book there is nothing between the author and you, the author has written the text and you are the interpreter. When listening to an audio book the authors ideas and words are being interpreted by the reader and expressed through their tones and expressions of voice. Sometimes this is a good thing, especially when it comes to creating a mood, culture or period setting.

I’ve struggled to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I found some of the characters annoying. I tried listening to several audio version with no success until I found one read by Karen Savage, she brought the characters to life with a variety of comical voices. I’ve experienced similar with Raymond Chandler, his use of slang words has left me baffled at times but listening to his book read by someone who sounds eerily like Humphrey Bogart (swoon) has me hooked.

Unfortunately some readers just can’t cut it or maybe some books are not meant to be read out loud. My latest book craze is westerns but I’m undecided if I’m a fan. The short stories I’ve read I liked, but the novels I’ve listened to are sometimes annoying. Possibly I don’t like Texan accents.

While audio books are convenient, taking time out to read is more satisfying. Audio books can demonstrate a different view of a book, one you may not have seen. But you are using your second most sensitive sense, smell being the first. Sound can influence your mood and enjoyment so even the most well written book can be rendered terrible by an unpleasant voice.

I’m still undecided. I like the convenience of audio books but I can appreciate an authors voice through reading with my own eyes. Which do you prefer? Have you ever had a good book ruined by a bad reader?

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Loyalty Crisis

How do you review a novel or piece of work written by someone you know?¬† On one hand you want to be honest for the sake of the reading public, on the other hand you don’t want to offend the writer and possibly harm their review ratings. If you enjoy the novel then all’s well. But what if you didn’t.

I’ve been put in this position a few times and have so far managed to avoid giving a definite review. The problem is I think I’m a born evil critic. If something doesn’t hit the right chord with me I will pull it to pieces looking for all its tiniest faults. My solution to my major personality flaw is to avoid things I don’t like or keep my mouth shut.

I’ve broken both those rules today and reviewed a book I didn’t like written by someone I know. I gave it a more generous rating then I would have as I know how much hard work went into it but I couldn’t in all honesty give it a 5 star review. I’m now suffering from post review guilt. Reviewing a book written by a stranger is easy, you will never see their distressed face.

If anything the experience has taught me to be more thoughtful when I review a book, slap the evil critic in me and remind her that people have feelings. Better yet, only review books written by dead writers.

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