Why the Audiobook is Not Always the Better Choice

I love audiobooks. I love that I can still read books while I am driving to work or shopping or otherwise unable to have a book in my hand. I also love that when you get good audiobooks with good narrators you can become so engrossed in a book you listen to it all day every day until you are done. But there is a flip side. There are risks to listening to audios. Not only if you have a bad book it can make it hard to skim and skip over the terribleness of it all, but you are at the mercy of the narrator and how they chose to interpret the text. This may mean you dislike a book you otherwise might have enjoyed.

 

The effect of the Wrong Voice

The voices a narrator chooses for a character can have immense effects on how you as a reader feel towards them. A voice that is too young, childish, and babyish make you look down on a character, makes you see them as childish and immature, something that may not have happened had you had your own voice in your head. If the voice is harsh and grating on your ears, and certainly not one you would ever feel suited that character then that too can be a turn off. I’ve turned off a couple audios recently because I could not stand the voices used for characters. It wasn’t anything I could get used to and it hurt my ears every time they spoke.

 

Bad narration

Connected in part to the wrong voice is also straight up bad narration. If a narrator does a bad job you do find you take it out on the book. Was the book bad, or was it just badly read? So often you can get used to a bad narrator, adjust your ears and your mind to their style and proceed as normal, or you focus more intently on the story and try to ignore their banality or slowness. Other times having a bad narrator can make you dislike a book, something that might not have happened had you had a physical copy in your lap instead. There is one upside to a slow reader though, the ability to put things on 1.5x or 2x speed on certain platforms which wonderfully makes the story play at regular speed instead of dragging on.

 

Changing narrators in the series

This one I cannot understand but at the same time I do. Narrator availability and time between books impacts this but it messes with your mind. Having spent ten hours imaging a character as a middle aged lady of reason, a bit of middle class, nothing too fancy but not that common either can jar the senses upon starting book two when a very different voice hits your ears with a twang and a jovialness that she never had before. Suddenly everything is less upper middle class, still doing the exact same things in the exact same house with the same cat, but the character seems different. It hardly seems right having this voice attached to the lady you had moulded in your mind to be a certain way. This is why I love when series have the same narrators, it makes everything more seamless and doesn’t mess with the characters in your head.

 

The Songs

When authors feel the need to fill our pages with songs, little hums, and all around general musical merriment, it is a fun thing to have a quick read, glance at the words, not worrying about rhythm or melody. Get the gist and off you go! With audio, to get the Full Experience, some narrators like to sing will full gusto and it makes you realise How Many Songs are in this book and Why Are There So Many Songs? It doesn’t do anyone any good having to sit through these things. It must be part of someone’s Beginners Guide to Torture having to sit through these songs in these books where they have no place being.

 

These are of course only my opinions, a few things that got me thinking after I listened to one of my favourite books as an audio and realised what a horrible mistake I had made. I have also had a lot more wonderful audiobook moments, but sometimes it is a little fun to point out that they aren’t always the best route to take. I suppose you only find out once you try, and thankfully 99% of the time there is another format you can fall back to when you decide your ears deserve better. 😛

The Dilemma of the Signed Book

Recently over the chrissy break I made an effort to clean out my bookshelves. I had been doing it gradually as I came home with another pile of books in my hand but in all honesty they were just piled up on shelves until I had time to Organise. This chance came with the couple of weeks I had off from work and while I have made a lot more room on my shelf (immediately filled by new books), I found myself in a small crisis. What do I do with a signed book I no longer want?

I recently read a few books that I had on audio and didn’t enjoy them at all. I thought there is no point in keeping this book I will never read again and don’t want to lend to people. The only issue is I’ve met the author at an event and now have my name and a lovely greeting scrawled in the front pages.

What do you do? Must I keep this book as some obligation because my own guilt at throwing it out has already made me put it back on the shelf once? I know there are at least two maybe three books there that have my name inside and a lovely message that are attached to a story I disliked. Do I hunt down someone with my namesake and gift it to them? Ideally yes, the book is brand new and why no let someone else enjoy it? If it was just a signature I’d have no problem discarding them, but that personalisation is holding me back.

Meeting an author and handing over your book to be signed is wonderful. I obviously didn’t know I wouldn’t like their book when I gave it to them, and there has been a vast majority more I got signed by authors that I do like. I know they appreciate people lining up to get their book signed and to have then gone on to dislike the story feels a bit mean, it feels like I have wasted their time. And even though there is no way in the world they would ever know, I still think they’ll find out if I get rid of it. I know this is a silly thought to have, but that is how I was feeling as I replaced these books on my shelf, unable to throw them out.

Does anybody have any suggestions or comforting words? Tell me I’m not alone feeling this way? I know I could commemorate the meeting by scanning the signed pages, but those other 300 pages taking up space, what’s a girl to do? A box cutter and a careful page removal might be the best solution at this point.

2017 Goals

Review policyA new year means time for new yearly goals. I have only a few this year, some will be more easily achieved than others I have no doubt, but I am going to try my best. These are, of course, on top of other goals I have pledged to achieve this year like finishing my numerous reading challenges and trying to absorb every new awesome books that will come out this year that I will probably not get to read until next year or the year after. But it’s a starting point.

 

Read more books from my own shelf

I definitely keep accumulating books faster than I am reading them so I am making an effort to source form my own shelves more frequently. I started last year but this year I am stepping it up another notch.

Finish half finished series

I am partway through so many series, four at least off the top of my head. I am aiming to finish those and stop leaving characters and moments hanging unread.

Read books by authors with the surname starting with E, Q, X, and Z

I realised last year while looking through my review list I hadn’t read anything by authors with those surname letters. I plan to fix that this year and finish my alphabet collection.

Reread Harry Potter

Because why not, really. I didn’t actually get to complete my reread last year, but I am going to go back to book one work my way through happily and uninterrupted.

Finish reading all the requests I didn’t get to last year

Overwhelmed with shame and guilt I am about not having read these yet, but I am going to work through them one by one and get it done! Sorry, every one!

Start using new blog features I’ve developed

They really aren’t anything special but I have a couple of little features I am going to start including with books and reviews. I’ve had the little logos done for months but never gotten around to implementing them yet.

Don’t stress so much about blogging

Sigh. Let’s only hope. I have already embraced the idea that I don’t need to review everything I read, now I need to stop looking at when I last posted and just focusing on posting something. Always better than nothing at all. Never give up, never surrender and all that.

So that’s the plan. I’m looking forward to a great year of blogging and reading, and judging how past years have turned out blog wise, I know how this year will go, but I am going to keep on doing it any way because I love it. As per usual, thank you all for coming on this ride with me, it’s always a blast. May 2017 be marvellous on all fronts and you read something spectacular!

Explanations Not Excuses

It’s that time of year again where there is an obvious neglect of the blog. It isn’t intentional yet every year there is one, and despite all the best intensions there are gaps between posts that grow from a few days to a few weeks. I’m not even game to check how long it’s actually been because then I’ll be sad. But I am not here to offer an excuse, but to explain the reason why.

I may have mentioned casually somewhere or other that I’d gotten a job as a librarian about six months ago (I know Twitter gets a lot of random posts about it), and then towards the end of May I got a second job, also in a library which is awesome. With the start of this second job came a lot of adjustments, it worked differently than what I was used to and sudden call ups were common and days I thought I had off I didn’t. With my first month of adjusting behind me I think I’m getting into the swing of things. Then of course, job number one offers me a chance at running a branch myself. Don’t get too excited, it isn’t a promotion, but instead for three days a week I am in charge of this one person library. Also scary and a huge change, and also time consuming. With 12 hour days I can basically wipe those days from my week as a chance to do anything. The good news is the audiobooks keep me going in the car so I get to still read (as it were), though my available audiobook selection isn’t vast and doesn’t help my review request pile (a neglect I will offer a strong apology for).

Having thought a lot about it, and now settled in a bit after my first week at the new job, I think I can start sorting out the blog again. I have reviews I really want to write, features I want to start, and a giveaway for all my Facebook fans to organise (more on that soon), and since July has snuck up on me (seriously June went SO fast) I’m terrified it’s going to suddenly be October tomorrow and I’d’ve missed another huge chunk.

So thank you if you’ve stuck around, thank you for still interacting with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram when I get to post on them, and I hope you enjoy the posts I have planned.

Awesome

Happy Easter!

Easter FB

The Easter bunny has snuck into our homes overnight and delivered some chocolate goodies to everyone. I do like that that the Easter bunny, unlike Santa, isn’t judgemental about how good you’ve been this year and whether you deserve any eggs. That’s quite nice. I’ve gotten a nice little haul which was a surprise, which will help sustain my Easter celebrations for a while. I hope your Easter long weekends are going well and will continue to go well. I’m spending my time relaxing with a few books this weekend, I’m reading Time and Time Again by Ben Elton, I’ve also recently started Founding Father by J. Kenneth Metz. I hope you have a great weekend, whatever and however you may be celebrating, and read something spectacular!

Easter

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