Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Audio Books versus Paper Books

I am listening to an audio book. It is only my second one and I am comparing it to using a paper book. I love books. I have a degree in English Literature. I used to read a new, fat book every two weeks in each of my classes and most of the time I would read on the TTC while going to school, which took an hour each way, or going to work, which took an hour-and-a-half each way. Some days, I spent five hours on the TTC, so a big fat book was good company.

I remember one of the senior managers at my old workplace was borrowing audio books from the library, copying them to an .mp3 file and said he spent Sunday afternoons on the grass-cutting-tractor listening to books. He lives on a big property with lots of grass, just east of Toronto.

My experience listening to books is that it is great. I can continue to listen while walking, which is always a problem with books and having to watch where you are going. I can listen while making dinner, which you cannot do when you are reading a paper book and you can listen while doing housework, like sweeping, or folding laundry or gardening – none of these can be done while reading a paper book.

The only thing I don’t like about audio books is that sometimes I can’t understand what they are saying and wish I had a visual reference to use. I am listening to “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)” It is a novel written by a Dominican author, Junot Diaz. The novel mentions the dictator a lot and also incorporates a lot of Spanish words that I don’t understand. I find that I can’t grasp the names of people when he says them and I had to Google the book to learn that the dictator’s name if Rafael Trujillo. The book won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  I find that the writing is intense and realistic in it's detail and brutal honesty.  Starting from the details of the life of a loner, a gamer, a sci-fi nerd, an innocent, innocuous, harmless boy, you are drawn into the details of a horrific dictatorship and the lives of those affected by it.  I haven't finished it, so I don't know what happens in the end, but the foreshadowing does not bode well for innocent Oscar.

The main thing I don’t like about audio books is what happened today. I got to the end of an audio track and I thought I had the entire book on my player but it turns out that I didn’t – I ended up having to hang after the narrator asks “And guess who he was married to?....” Now I have to find the rest of that book and load it up.

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