Monday, January 15, 2007

Good Listening

At the risk of repeating myself, I wrote a while back about listening to audio books while walking Pappy. I also talked about how some brick-and-mortar libraries in the US contract with a company called Netlibrary.com to provide downloadable audio books for free, which, in turn, can be downloaded to MP3 players branded as "PlaysforSure".

This morning I was going through the Netlibrary site looking for some new audio books. Netlibrary does not have everything by a long shot, but it seems to have a strange mix of popular current books and more obscure or classic works. I recently enjoyed "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer, and am just finishing "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. This morning I decided to check on some dog-themed books and came across Jon Katz's "A Good Dog", about his psycho Border Collie, Orson, who is mentioned in "Katz on Dogs".

It's interesting that what makes a good book for reading doesn't necessarily make for a good audio book. If you are walking around while listening, it's important that the story be fairly linear and methodically paced. Distractions and traffic noise make you miss bits and pieces, so if a story is jumping all over the place or not explaining who is speaking it is easy to get frustrated. Unlike a book it's inconvenient to back up and reread a section, especially when you're handling a dog. A lot also depends on the readers, some of whom are great, some are stiffs, and some are shameless hams. And the author is not always the best narrator-- listening to William Golding reading "Lord of the Flies" is best suited to naptime.

Today, the vast majority of my reading is audio books. The time before bed that I used to spend reading with my eyeballs is now consumed by... this blog.

4 comments:

Gus said...

Yup! Muzzer finds that the blog and the dog curtail her reading time too. I have managed to reduce her consumption of "literature" to about one mystery per day. No more home improvement books, and Dad appreciates that. No more travel books either, though, so her ideas are pretty boring recently.

I think when Teka leaves I will let her read some other non-fiction.

ps. Did you know that she reads a book a night to me and Teka? My favorites are Winnie the Pooh and anything by Dr. Seuss. Teka likes the Clifford books.

Ferndoggle said...

Hey Pappy...we just saw you won Dogmark.net's cool site of the month for November! You must have lots of fans out in Cyberspace!

Congratulations!

Ferndoggle & the Dogs

macgoogle said...

Listening to some hooman drone on and on? Now that's just silly! It would bore me - my Dad seems to think it's a good idea though.

Love and Licks,
Texas (and his humans).

Pappy's Fella said...

Gus,
I hope it doesn't offend, but I don't think I'm going to follow your muzzer's example on reading a book to Pappy. He'd probably prefer if I threw it.

Ferndoggle,
Thanks, a lot of pleading and cajoling went into winning that award.

Texas,
You've got a good point there. I think I'll return the headphones I got for Pappy.