Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Read me a story

(Before I start my official post, I have to tell this story. The other day the hubs and I were in the kitchen, sharing a little kiss, like you do. The Faery and the Princess came in the room, because that's what they do. Faery wanted to play, but Princess turned to her and said, "I think they're having sex right now, Faery." Ah, children. What fun.)

So Camille's comment on my last post reminded me of a particular oddity of mine--I can only listen to books on tape if it's a book I've read before. Otherwise my mind wanders. I have a hard time focusing on things people tell me. I guess it's that whole aural/visual learner thing. I'm definitely visual.

My Mom is really into books on tape, and I decided to try one some years ago for a small road trip. I made the mistake of choosing a mystery. Looked great. To this day I know nothing about it. All I remember was something about a mistaken identity and a missing baby. Or something. The thing ended before I even realized it; I'd just tuned out a huge chunk of it.

It's a little easier if it's the hubs doing the reading; we've read a few books together (and one day we'll finished "Kidnapped", honestly.) But even then I prefer books I'm familiar with. That way if I miss something it's no big deal; I don't get lost or find myself wondering who the hell Richard is when he has a line of dialogue.

I do like them when I'm doing things, though. I once spent a long and very enjoyable day painting my bathroom and listening to Maeve Binchy's "Tara Road"; lovely. Or sewing and listening to Josephine Tey's "The Daughter of Time".

Anyone else have a hard time with books on tape? Or being read to in general?


BernardL said...

The secret is to listen while doing chores you don't particularly like to do, especially mind numbingly boring ones, like painting. :)

Mark said...

I don't like being read to, my mind tends to wander too much. I can't keep track of the story. This is particularly troublesome during my writing group as we critique both the writing and the spoken presentation.

I end up piggybacking on other people's comments, at times. Naughty!

That being said, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a huge fan of Lisette Lecat, who does the narration of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. She had me from the first word; something about her pronunciation of Botswanan names (Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, Moltolele, etc). Give those a shot.

I was listening to that series so much while writing my first book, I kept getting worried about my prose being infused with African politeness. Don't worry, it didn't.

Angie said...

I'm not a great listener either, I'm afraid -- my favorite mode of communication is reading and writing. And getting only the spoken words, as with a tape, is even worse. :/ When I took a quarter of French in college we were assigned a series of cassette tapes for listening/speaking practice and they just weren't helping at all. I went to the library and dug up a set of videos of an educational show called French in Action and watched/listened to those instead and it was much better. Being able to see how people's mouths moved while they spoke made it much easier for me to copy the sounds than just listening to a tape. They were also more interesting so it was easier to focus and pay attention.

I guess I'm just more visually oriented. If I ever go blind I'm hosed. :P


Demon Hunter said...

I just prefer to read books myself. I don't want to be read to and I definitely cannot do books on tape. I'd just like to read it for myself.

Gabriele C. said...

Another reader here. :)

I use opera music as background for boring tasks and tend to sing along. It tells my neighbours that it's ironing time again. *grin*

ERiCA said...

Princess turned to her and said, "I think they're having sex right now, Faery."

Bwa ha haa. That cracked me up!

I prefer books in hand, unless I'm driving or on an airplane, in which case books on tape/mp3 are perfectly fine by me.

The big downside is how much longer it takes to *listen* to a book than to read it.

Camille Alexa said...

I've never listened to an audiobook, but I did just submit my first piece to a genre podcast zine.

Anonymous said...

Write that down, Princess and Faery both will get a kick out of it when they are 16 or so.

I tried an audio book once and, although it was wonderfully read by David Ogden Stiers, it just isn't for me. I feel like it's a watered-down version of the full story -even if it isn't. -V95

December/Stacia said...

Yes, painting is one of life's duller activities, isn't it Berbard? But oddly satisfying. I actually enjoy it most times--at least, the first half or so of it. :-) Then I get bored.

Well, Mark, I guess you're just a naughty boy. (You SO left yourself open for that one.) Heh, I know what you mean about influence. I don't get it so much with contemporaries, but when I write historicals I have to be careful not to read out of period.

What a good idea, Angie, to get the videos! I never thought of that, but now you mention it, it makes sense.
I worry about going blind all the time, and with my vision it's not totally out of the question.

Hey, Demon Hunter! Nice to see you! Yep, I definitely prefer to read on my own. I can set my own pace that way too.

December/Stacia said...

Gabriele, I imagine being your neighbor would be a lot of fun. I love opera. I went once, to see Carmen, and would love to go again one day.

Cracked us up too, Erica. :-) I'm really contemplating getting my Mom and mp3 player, because she enjoys books on tape so much. She listens in the car but they have those transmitter/adapter things too.

Good luck with the sub, Camille!

Oh, yes, V95, I can't wait to tell that story when they're older, lol. And I love David Ogden Stiers, he's so cool. Do you watch The Dead Zone?

Vicki said...

The only time I like a book on tape is on a road trip. Otherwise, I much prefer to have the book in hand. :)

Being read too? If he's got a really great voice, sure.

catie said...

Friends and loved ones often say I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting through all the books currently over-crowding my library (let alone those on my various Wish Lists) unless I cultivate a taste for books on tape. For some reason though, I just can't; it's not the same! I love the experience of holding the book in my hands, of running my eyes over the text, flipping back and forth through the pages, the scent..."listening" is some how sac religious.

kis said...

French in Action. Heh heh, my husband used to watch that all the time, but it was just to see the blond chick with the sweater and no bra.

Myself, I can't listen to books. My eyes glaze over, and when I regain consciousness I'm always hopelessly lost. I think this would be a particularly bad thing while driving. It's annoying, too, because you can't hold a book and wash dishes or scrub floors. It's gotten to the point that I save the entire week's worth of clothes to fold during House, cause Hugh Laurie is the only thing that makes laundry bearable.

Bernita said...

I don't care to be read to - one can't flip back pages.
I wonder if first or third pov might affect enjoyment of those who do find it a satisfying alternative.

December/Stacia said...

Heh heh, Vicki, but wouldn't the great voice be a distraction?

Man, Catie, what's up with teh haterz? Lol. You'll get through the pile, I have faith in you!

Exactly kis, I drift away and then have no idea what's happened. That's why I like it to be books I've read before. I actually enjoy those on tape.

You know, I never thought of that Bernita, but I bet it would be easier? You'd feel less outside the story.

writtenwyrdd said...

Ah, yes, the wandering mind. I know better than to even try books on tape because I am just like you describe.

I tried to brush up on French before a Paris vacation, using a CD in the car. I tuned it out and kept having to replay sections because I tuned it out.