By October 3, 2010 0 Comments Read More →

Heard any good books lately, Zelda?

Would you watch a book read aloud on stage? In today’s NYT, “Gatz” – The Great Gatsby read by the cast of the  Elevator Repair Service over seven hours – is reviewed by Charles McGrath, along with reflections on the differences between reading text and experiencing audiobooks. Here’s a quote:

This, or something like it, is what happens when you get caught up in a book. You hear it in your head, and it takes over your waking existence a little, so you can’t wait to be done with whatever you’re doing and immerse yourself in the pages again. Sitting there at “Gatz,” rapt at times, a little bored at others, maybe even nodding off for a moment, you find yourself attending to the beauty of Fitzgerald’s prose in a way you might not if you were reading it to yourself. For example, the production doesn’t omit a single “he said” or “she said” after a line of dialogue — signposts that barely register on the page but that here stick out and keep the show book-bound, so to speak. You also become aware of all the ways in which listening is not exactly the same as reading. For one thing, reading is more concentrated and focused — more intense — than listening. You have to do all the work yourself.

Yet for that very reason, more and more of us these days are taking in books via iPod or the CD players in our cars. Listening is how we begin our acquaintance with books, as our parents read them to us, and listening may be how we phase out of books as well; it’s easier, hypnotic almost, and allows you to do something else at the same time: drive, jog or attend to your e-mail. You don’t even need an actual reader anymore. Your Kindle will read aloud to you if you don’t mind listening to the same kind of bossy uninflected voice that issues from your GPS. The iPad also contains a voiceover option, similarly robotic and a little maddening to operate.

Read the entire article here for more – good stuff!

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Posted in: Audiobooks
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About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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