July 28th, 2010

Are You Listening? To Books That Is….

My husband doesn’t read. The last book he vaguely remembers opening was The Jim Thorpe Story borrowed from the high school library in 1984. He still has it. Given my career as a librarian, this initially appalled me on many levels. Could he ever appreciate my interest in a well-executed plot twist? Would our children be predisposed to theft? Then he discovered audio books.

These days I can always find him by following the sound of a stranger’s voice. Usually it’s George Guidall or Scott Brick, his favorite narrators, booming from the garage.  He now listens to many more books than I read, gravitating to stories featuring a somewhat psychopathic private investigator roaming the South. His current favorites:

Gator A-Go-Go by Tim Dorsey
featuring Serge Storms eliminating the bad guys in ever inventive ways

Deep Shadow by Randy Wayne White
with Doc Ford forced to help some ex-cons dive for lost treasure

Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke
centered on Det. Robicheaux avenging a murder in the bayou

Spider Mountain by Peter Deutermann
with Cam Richter hunting down a meth lab in the Smokies

Silencer by James Hall
proving that saving Florida’s wilderness is risky business for newly wealthy P.I. Thorn

Purists would say he still isn’t “reading”.  I say the process may not be the same, but the beauty of plot, language and knowledge are still finding their way to his brain, just by way of the ears instead of the eyes.  I plan on surprising him with an MP3 player soon. Downloading from the library would save me searching for all those misplaced CDs, but then he doesn’t even know how to turn on our computer…

“Reading” any favs using audio or is that not really “reading”?




5 Responses

  • EJ Posted July 28th, 2010

    I think “reading” audiobooks is just as legit as traditional reading. Would we say that learning from a lecture isn’t as good as learning from reading a book? I don’t think so. I’m also a huge fan of audiobooks because you can enjoy them in the car. I once got stuck in a 5-hour traffic jam and thank God, had an awesome audiobook from the library with me. Made the experience much, much better.

  • Leah Posted July 28th, 2010

    I always love your blog posts, Nikki. I do think that listening “counts,” but I simply can’t do it. I like to think that I’m generally a good listener, but when I listen to books, I frequently think, “Wait, what was that?” Right now I’m trying to listen to Alison Weir’s biography on Katherine Swynford, but the dates and titles of some royal figures have me confused. I need to make an outline, I think.

  • Nicola Posted July 28th, 2010

    I sympathize. Actually the only audio I’ve ever finished is “Assassination Vacation” by Sarah Vowell. Funny, irreverant and full of historical detail that made me think. Just be prepared for a different listening experience – she was the voice of Violet in Disney’s “The Incredibles”.

  • Leah Posted July 29th, 2010

    That’s so funny, the only audio book I ever finished was also a Sarah Vowell — The Partly Cloudy Patriot. The difference, I suppose, is that listening to memoirs is just like listening to a friend (which means that it shouldn’t be hard to pay attention!).

  • FJ Posted July 30th, 2010

    I consider it “reading”, especially since I don’t have time to read all the books I want to. I have also found that many new titles come out on CD book about the same time as the hard back without the large number of holds. So I have already “listened” to the new Janet Evanovich and Jonathan Kellerman without a long wait. And some authors I only listen to since I have their voices matched up to the characters.