Friday, June 1, 2012

Audio Book Cat is Happy....




So, I've never been into audio books and not because I don't like them or I have anything against them. I just never had a need for them. Well, at least not until now.

Like most of you, I have one of those things commonly referred to as a full-time job. (I know, shocking stuff!) I love my job. I really do, but I find myself caught in massive Chicago traffic both ways--like 45 minutes to an hour traffic. I like music, but I've never been a huge listener, most of the time I turn the radio off and concentrate on whatever WIP I have going on in my head. Recently, with the demands of my job, I've had no time to read, so I turned to an audio book, so I can listen to it while I'm stuck on the endless highway.

Now I'm not going to tell you what book I was listening to. It was a children's middle-grade novel (go figure).  It was read by one woman, who played all the parts, getting into different voices and even pretending to be several different male characters. At first, I couldn’t stand it. I have to say, it weirded me out a little--especially when the narrator played more quirky characters and tried to make her voice all scratchy and cracked. Some of the voices were so over the top it was almost hard to listen to, but then I realized, it made the story much more interesting. It made it easier for me to tell the characters apart while not being able to stare at the written word. Best of all, I was retaining the information AND I wasn't talking on my cell phone while driving! Major safety plus for audio books!


So now...I love them! Plus, I've got my four-year-old daughter hooked on them too, and keeping her quiet in a long car ride is a major accomplishment--trust me!

So what do you think of audio books? Love them? Hate them? Any middle-grade favorites you'd like to recommend?

I know many audio books are simply narrated. They don't get much into different characters or dramatics. The book is simply read aloud. Which do you prefer? Do you like when the narrators get into character or do you like a nice clean read with no theatrics?  

I'm so glad to be an audio book convert. It opens a whole new world of reading (or maybe listening) to me! :)

23 comments:

  1. Love the cat pictures! I'm afraid I'm not much into audio books. I'd much rather read than listen.

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    1. I like reading better too, but it sure makes rush hour feel shorter! ;)

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  2. We LOVE audio books around here. They're especially great for family vacations and the long drives that often accompany them.

    Any Beverly Cleary is always fun. My boys love Hank the Cowdog (it was a Hank audio book that turned them on to the series, which they've read through countless times). Anything by Daniel Pinkwater is a hoot. We're especially fond of LOOKING FOR BOBOWICZ and THE HOBOKEN CHICKEN EMERGENCY. Goof. ball.

    I occasionally listen to audio books while running errands. Two recent MG standouts were Cynthia Lord's TOUCH BLUE and Katherine Erskine's MOCKINGBIRD.

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    1. Oh, these are all great recommendations! My daughter is so hooked now. Just this morning, when I was taking her to school, she asked, "Mommy, can we listen to our story?" ;)

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  3. We have listened to one or two of the Harry Potter books on long car trips, as well as some Beverly Cleary.

    I'm getting interested in audio books more now that I'm driving my kids more places. I'll be checking back to see if there are any good recommendations here!

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    1. Andrea, Caroline has some great ones!

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  4. My kids really love them when we travel in the summer. It really does help the miles fly by faster when we can listen to a good book, plus it's something we can do as a family!! :-)

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    1. Yes! My drive does seem a lot faster now!

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  5. I enjoy audiobooks, but I am NOT a fan of the reader acting out the characters. It's an audiobook, not a radio show.

    Ahem.

    I actually started listening to an audiobook once that had different readers for each character. I couldn't stand it.

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    1. I've heard a lot about those lately, wherein there's background music and a team of actors. I imagine it could be great if done really well. I think my kids would love it. For me, it would really have to depend on the book...and the acting! ;)

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    2. All I can say is: No, no, no! But, I will admit my highly biased opinion is based on a very small sample (I've only encountered two a-books that worked like that, and both were adult-high-fantasy).

      I'm sure there's a book out there for which it would work, I just haven't had the chance to experience it.

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    3. I've actually enjoyed the full-cast audiobooks I've listened to. I suppose a lot depends on the quality of the production. I've also noticed that often, even when a single reader chooses not to "do the voices" for different characters, he or she still gives slightly different intonations to each character in dialogue. For instance one character may speak faster, one in a sarcastic drawl. Even when the reader has done nothing to disguise his or her speaking voice, the characters can sound completely different.

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  6. I can't do the whole audio book thing. I can't stay focused on it, especially while driving. My wanders and, suddenly, I have no idea what's happening.

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    1. Andrew, that happens to me too! I absolutely have to concentrate! :)

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  7. I am in the car for about 2 hours every day for my commute, so I started listening to (reading) audio books a few years ago. And I love it. I typically have a book I'm reading on my Kindle, a paperback or hardcover, and an audio book at the same time. However, I find that when I'm in the middle of a WIP, for some reason, audio books distract me. I need that drive time to be silent so I can play the upcoming pages of the WIP out in my mind.

    As for audio books I like, GRAVEYARD BOOK read by Neil himself is great. The ARTEMIS FOWL books are narrated very well, too. I've read a ton of audio books, but drawing a blank as to other standouts at the moment.

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    1. Gee Willikins, Mike and Hilary, those commutes sound brutal. They would drive me round the bend.

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    2. I will have to check out Artemis Fowl! Michael, we are a lot alike with the silence in the car!

      Michael G, Chicago is horrible for traffic! yuck!

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  8. I'm in the "not into audio books" section of the audience. I might be if I had a long commute. Or if my kids keep bugging me to tell stories to them...

    If I were into audio books, I think I'd like the full-blown crazy character voices type. Let me know which one you were listening to, Hilary, and I'll check it out!

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    1. We are listening to Percy Jackson now. It has all the voices by one narrator. My daughter is digging it! ;)

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    2. I will say this: I listened to the first two A Song of Ice and Fire Books (George Martin) on audiobook, and I loved the fact that it kept me going in what would have otherwise been a long and arduous read (not boring, never boring, just long and a lot of work). After I got through the first two, I had to read the rest.

      That being said, my commute isn't long enough to listen on either, so I found the circumstance in which I listened to have a big effect on my comprehension. At work, while running some mindless reports, was ideal. It helped me get the work done, but also let me retain the story without losing track. Listening in bed was not a good idea. I would fall asleep, and have to rewind the next day, to figure out what the heck the last thing I remembered was. LOL.

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  9. Another family favorite is Jack Perlutsky's NEW KID ON THE BLOCK. He reads/sings his ridiculous poems. It's highly entertaining. I dare you to listen and NOT randomly recite "Goopy Gloppers."

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    1. That sounds great! Thanks, Caroline!

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  10. I agree with the commenter above who mentioned THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. It was great to listen to and the Danse Macbre music helped tie in a subtle creepy feel.

    I listened to Alan Cummings read Scott Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN and immediately decided I don't want to read the next two--I want to listen to them!

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Thanks for adding to the mayhem!