To look or to listen?

Say it Rah-shay By Jan 23, 2009 No Comments

My total commute to work is less than three miles round trip. While it would be beneficial to walk (I will consider this idea when its warmer) I drive. And during my commute I need some tunes to set the mood.

Since I don’t have my iPod (Fushing thief!) my choices have been limited to air radio, CDs or audiobooks.

Air radio is not an option; how many times can I listen to Beyonce screech, “Put a ring on it” or that Rihanna song? I love NPR but golly, the talking heads that blather on all day can be a bit tedious (the exception to this rule is Weekend Edition Saturday when Scott Simon smoothly delivers the news). CD’s are OK. However I admit that I am spoiled. I miss my mixes that I created for each mood.

Audioboks have become the air wave choice of late. I get to indulge in one of my passions, get where I need to go and the trips are not quite so monotonous. But, like all things, some are better than others.

The narrator can make or break a book. Jim Dale, for example, does audiobooks right. His narration of the Harry Potter series is phenomenal. J.K. Rowling is an amazing wordsmith. Coupled with Jim Dale and you are drawn into the story and actually transported to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Another phenomenal book to listen to is Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. The Book Thief is a must read anyway but listening to Alan Corduner read this book is truly mesmerizing. When I listened to this book I would take the long way everywhere so that I could listen to one more chapter, to get to the end of the CD, to start the beginning of a CD anything to prolong the experience.

The latest book that I’ve listened to is Amy MacKinnon’s Tethered. This book was a recommendation from Ann and Michael from The Books on the Nightstand podcast. I was also drawn by the main character’s views on religion. (Clara is an undertaker who doesn’t believe in God). It’s taken me a while to wrap my mind around this book. I finished it a few days ago but have not written about it yet. This is an example of when I should have read the book instead of listening. The narrator, Rebecca Lowman, is probably a fine actor but her narration of this novel was such a distraction. She made Clara such a wimp that I found myself disliking her. Perhaps the haunting text and the subject matter (child pornography, death, murder and abuse) added to my opinion but I really found that Lowman’s voice distracted me from MacKinnon’s text.

In the future I will do as some of the patrons have done: borrow both the book and the audio. Audiobooks have forced me to hear every word while I notice with a book in print I tend to skip a word here and there. On the other hand, audiobooks are like movies: unless there is a phenomenal narrator (Jim Dale or Kim Staunton who reads Octavia Butler’s Kindred) I find myself imagining my characters differently.

With The Bee in the car I have had to find some kid friendly fare. Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart is coming out soon. It’s narrated by Brenden Fraser and he did a fab job with Funke’s Dragon Rider. We’ll see. The movie tie-in helps and our 30 minutes commute is the perfect opportunity to see what happens.


I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.

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