Let me say it loud and clear: I dislike audio books.
Alright, calm down. I am going to explain why.
Until recently I had only heard about audio books. I knew that people who travel, who want to read while working out or are just damn lazy to actually read - preferred audio books instead of reading in text format
When one reads a book, he gets involved deeply with the world of the book. One lives in that world. There are characters, objects of the world, feelings, description of events in passive voice. While reading a book, you get to make your own stage completely on your own. You have those characters in your mind. You make them act. They are ALIVE in your brain. They have a separate identity, personality, character. World has colours, maps, buildings, shapes - narrated abstractly and given concrete existence by YOU.
A month ago, I was about to start another book - Inferno by Dan Brown. As I knew about audio books, I decided to
read listen to the Inferno’s audio book. Got myself free “first story” from you know where. I was all excited for the “whole new experience” of an audio book!
I listened after I got home from a busy day of work, sitting and relaxing on the chair. I enjoyed it! So I decided to keep listening. But after 4 or so chapters I was getting frustrated. Yet I thought may be I need to get used to this and continued. At 17th chapter, I was angry! I decided to stop reading that book (I didn’t like the story at all, either) and never get audio books again.
There weren’t as many characters in the story as you might find in Fantasy novels such as LoTR, The Mistborn Series etc. The narrator was trying to mimic the voice of a woman, the hero, and every damn person in the book. THAT felt so wrong! It took away all the charm of a book.
The narrator had to mimic the feelings while trying to mimic some police officer’s voice. It was failing miserably. I mean, my mind is more than capable of generating thousands of voices in my head, decide how the voice should be from the description of the person by the author, give the voice different feelings according to the situation. The voice in my mind feel just much more real.
Overall, while reading a scene where, say, two people are afraid, hiding and discussing what to do next, I create the scene from ground up. I know what they’re wearing, what surrounds them, what the sky is like, what amount of illumination is available to them, what the temperature would be. When one of them speaks, I can listen to his voice, the feeling in the voice, can see the faces of others as they’re listening to him and making nervous faces! All this feels so much real!
In audio book, you don’t get to do that. The voice as such a huge effect that I just could not imagine freely enough to live in it. I discourage all of you from listening to audio books, if you can help it.
I recently bought Kindle basic. And my reading life is complete. It is light weight, strain-free for eyes, can do all fancy things (go and read about it on Amazon) and gives the exact feeling of reading a book made of paper. I also think, that books are best read in calm, peaceful environment when the mind is available for it completely. I personally do not like reading while doing other things.
This was my experience with audio books. Share yours too. Also let me know if I’m missing something fun from an audio book!
"If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
― Oscar Wilde
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