My first audible book…..

Read any good books lately?
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nmblum88
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My first audible book…..

Post by nmblum88 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:37 pm

"The Things They Carried," by Tim O'Brien, a gift for the season , and a greatly appreciated choice it is.
Maybe there is something after all, to hearing (for the sighted, that is) rather than reading… my personal jury is out on that.
Because this choice was completely captivating, mesmerizing even, and I was an unable to stop listening as I had ben when I read the book when it first appeared.


Written more than 20 years ago by one of my favorite people still of this world, and recorded by Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad' fame, "the Things They Carried" was (and still is) one of the best fictions inspired by having actually been there: Vietnam, the scene of the crime, at the moment the crime was going down.
It is,as you can imagine, a picture of the war and who fought it on "our side" told through what was found in the backpack of a casualty.
Truth and even an acid beauty pour from every pore.
And as a bonus the Play-Tone/Audible version includes "the Vietnam in Me" a memoir by Tim O"Brien and read by the author himself.
If "the Vietnam in Me" a description of a survivor's returning to the graveyard of hopes and dreams and youth twenty years later, with a much younger woman companion, doesn't push every button you have of angst, rage, love and the recognition of the crushing effects of middle aged disappointment, then one of us will have missed its point.


NMB
P.S. And then there are all the other works by Tim O'Brien, most of them either about the war itself, locus Vietnam, or on the aftermath, the destructive seed that became the center of post-war existence.
NMB
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by OlegTheBatty » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:02 pm

I haven't tried an audiobook, and likely won't. I tried books on tape back in the Walkman days, and found that I don't engage with the story. Other stimuli keep interfering. I engage much better when reading.
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by fromthehills » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:27 pm

I now prefer audio books over reading books. And I was truly an avid reader. I just like being able to fiddle with things, mindless things, while listening.

But now, Norma, that your virginity is broken, please listen to one of Bryson's read by him. He's outstanding, and adds to the book by his own reading. I'd suggest A Walk in the Woods first, just because thats what I started with. But I have listened to every book he's done, and have been completely captivated by all of them, even if I had read them beforehand. But his latest is outstanding, too. Of course it's a great book to read, but his reading makes it better.


I just counted, roughly, how many audio books I have listened to, and it's over 400 nearly 500. Jeez, that's a lot for just a few years.

My favorite narrator is George Guidall, and often reads things I like to hear. But maybe not your taste.

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by Austin Harper » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:13 pm

My preferred way to consume a book is: reading on paper, reading on my Kindle, reading on my tablet, listening to an audiobook, and reading on my phone. I actually listen to more than I read just because it's so easy to listen on my commute, while doing dishes, while mowing the lawn, etc. I also end up reading my Kindle more than paper books because when I travel I always bring it along instead of a pile of books like I used to.
Dum ratio nos ducet, valebimus et multa bene geremus.

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by nmblum88 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:47 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:I haven't tried an audiobook, and likely won't. I tried books on tape back in the Walkman days, and found that I don't engage with the story. Other stimuli keep interfering. I engage much better when reading.



Yes.
But our reading habits are just that:habits.
And being human and thus adaptable, and given to telling and hearing stories, and desirous of communication and learning, we will do those things with whatever is available as a source .
(Some of us might still seek out actual human contact to satisfy our curiosity.)
But one day you might find yourself in a situation where only the audiobook is available, and being above all, in need of the stimulation that for a committed reader can only be satisfied by an author's words, you will undoubtedly try one.
At least that has been my experience.

I will never love the audio book, because given my age and my time in the history of the world and its pleasures, I not only love what's in my books, I love the books themselves… I love the way they look, how they feel when I touch them, how they smell, and the memories they have imparted that make me who I am…
And because of those things, i will never have any read feeling for an audio book, skinny little colored boxes on my friends' shelves…
But I do recognize that I am in and of the world, and the world is not going to adapt to me: I am going to have to adapt to it.
And one of the adaptations is evident in the lovely little library in my neighborhood: a faux medieval building, turreted, with stained glass windows.
But for as long as I have lived here, it has had fewer books than I own myself.
What it does have is reams of music to borrow, for every an any taste.
And films…. a grand film collection.
And now shelves and shelves of audio books: the tenor or the times, the automobile culture, a different kind of solitary pursuit.
And so it goes… and it clearly is going to take me with it.
Or not.
So I don't know: is there any great principle to be won by refusing to try it?
It's just another way…
Before the next other way.

NMB.
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by nmblum88 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:05 pm

fromthehills wrote:I now prefer audio books over reading books. And I was truly an avid reader. I just like being able to fiddle with things, mindless things, while listening.

But now, Norma, that your virginity is broken, please listen to one of Bryson's read by him. He's outstanding, and adds to the book by his own reading. I'd suggest A Walk in the Woods first, just because thats what I started with. But I have listened to every book he's done, and have been completely captivated by all of them, even if I had read them beforehand. But his latest is outstanding, too. Of course it's a great book to read, but his reading makes it better.


I just counted, roughly, how many audio books I have listened to, and it's over 400 nearly 500. Jeez, that's a lot for just a few years.

My favorite narrator is George Guidall, and often reads things I like to hear. But maybe not your taste.



"The Things They Carried" knocked me out; the narrators voice and cadences were ideally suited to the narrative. I had already read it, loved it….and think about it often.
And the piece read by O'Brien… I can barely speak to either his reading or the material: so moving, and so incurably sorrowful.
The friend who sent me the Audible book knew that and also knows that as I love the way books look, and the way they smell, and that I am partial to the dust they collect. And is there anything in the world better, on a cloudy, damp day, when nothing much is going on, than opening a long book-cased volume from your own shelf, blowing dust from it, opening it, and finding a 1983 boarding pass stuck in the pages? Why was I going there? And with whom? And would I do it again? Good for tossing around for an hour at least… and If a book doesn't take you from here to there above and beyond what the author intended, wouldn't life be too narrow? Too confined to the HERE, and to the NOW?
I do think the audible book is ideal for listening to while driving… with at least one caveat.
You are obviously an incomparably competent person.
But were I to be driving and listening… well, the rest of you would do well to stay indoors, and count your blessings…
Dreamers shouldn't drive.
And if they drive they shouldn't be thinking about why a young man… a boy really… who never really got to even find out what an audio book might be, should lose his life in a country he couldn't even find on a map, and for a reason that he never even had time to consider much less understand…
Or even why there are so many shades of gray… did Heathcliff REALLY love Cathy?
Of was it just the idea of eternal, iron clad love that drove his pursuit AND his tragedy?
Off the road or into oncoming traffic on the that one….
So you see, like so many things, not everything is for everybody.

NMB

P.S..
1) I should and were it in my nature would, pass on the reference to my virginity… an ancient story, long ago recorded (but on runes) and not that interesting except as a bridge from there to what happened after.
(Much like any good novel.)
I am already on record as thinking that except for the committing of murder, or one's firs experience as a dental hygienist, virginity is a much overrated commodity…
And for the most part irrelevant.
2) I do agree that Bill Bryson and his works (I relished "1927") are ideally suited for audible versions..….
But I'm not sure why he would do that when recording is not that easy… in fact it sucks… is repetitive, makes you hot, thirsty, cranky.

3)What do you mean by "not to my taste?"
You, Sir, are taking, as we Victorians say, liberties: my taste in almost everything is eclectic, catholic ( or, if you prefer as you probably do, latitudinarian)..…. a woman well known for tolerance and uncritical amiability (if I do say so myself).
Yes!
And besides, George Guidall is first an actor. AND was personally chosen by the Philop Roth whom I admire as perhaps the greatest contemporary American novelist, to record Roth's own works…


NMB
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by fromthehills » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:19 pm

Guidall read all of Vince Flynn's novels about a CIA assassin that killed without scruple, often tortured people, and was very much the hero, and not the villain. I was thinking about those. And some others from this genre.

But he also read Craig Johnson's mystery novels about a rural Wyoming sherif that were quite good. Not brilliant intellectual works, but very entertaining for not remembering the long drive.

He also read Stephan King's Dark Tower series. And I am aware of your opinion of King.

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by kennyc » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:33 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:I haven't tried an audiobook, and likely won't. I tried books on tape back in the Walkman days, and found that I don't engage with the story. Other stimuli keep interfering. I engage much better when reading.



Yep.....audio books just don't work for me...
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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by nmblum88 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:36 pm

fromthehills wrote:
He also read Stephan King's Dark Tower series. And I am aware of your opinion of King.

LOL… that sounds ominous…
But you don't really know my opinion: what you know is that I laughed at the thought that Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King were equatable as "great."
And I am not alone in that: Vonnegut's was a unique voice: incomparable in style AND content…
NMB
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by Frank Hoffman » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:56 pm

Austin Harper wrote:My preferred way to consume a book is: reading on paper, reading on my Kindle, reading on my tablet, listening to an audiobook, and reading on my phone. I actually listen to more than I read just because it's so easy to listen on my commute, while doing dishes, while mowing the lawn, etc. I also end up reading my Kindle more than paper books because when I travel I always bring it along instead of a pile of books like I used to.


My experience is about the same, though I still read on the Kindle more than I listen... but then I'm retired and can afford the undivided concentration.

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by fromthehills » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:13 am

nmblum wrote:
fromthehills wrote:
He also read Stephan King's Dark Tower series. And I am aware of your opinion of King.

LOL… that sounds ominous…
But you don't really know my opinion: what you know is that I laughed at the thought that Kurt Vonnegut and Stephen King were equatable as "great."
And I am not alone in that: Vonnegut's was a unique voice: incomparable in style AND content…
NMB



And I just finished on my drive back for Durango, yesterday, another of Guidall's narrations. The Kill Artist.

It was fine for a long day of driving. Guidall is great, and the story was not bad. Kept me awake, and content to drive a commute that I really take too much for granted. I'm driving through gorgeous country, no matter that Wolf Creek is, I don't know, 80% dead from pine beetle. I drive it like I was driving through an industrial park, jaded from so many hauls through it. Scanning for the deer that will cost me body work money. Getting behind Texans that don't understand curves or that snow on the side of the road doesn't mean snow on the road, then being passed by other Texans that don't understand blind curves and double yellows. Listening to George Guidall describe the killing of bad guys in bloody detail is quite relaxing.

King, in the Dark Tower series did his best work. I'd say he took the play book from L'Amour for getting a character of honor, yes a gunslinger, mixed it with King Arthur myth, sic fi/fantasy, and… not horror but disturbing imagery, well maybe horror. Wrapped it all into a brutal tale of weird quest, "hero's journey" stuff, and did a very good job. And Guidall narrates it perfectly. I first became a fan of Guidall because of these books.

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by nmblum88 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:00 am

Interesting, as (almost) always.
And of course it is always exhilarating to hear about someone's actually taking pleasure in something… scenery, stories, words, even for whatever time.
But Jesus Christ, Mr. From… you do make me out to be the crankiest and most unreasonable of critics!
You make it sound (although perhaps you didn't mean it) as if I pronounced 'Down with the Audio Book!!! Off with its head! And the heads of those who LISTEN to them!"
No such thing. …

I get it: there are many reasons to read (or now, to listen).
We read to learn, for content, for style, to share in lives not our own, and of course for entertainment.
We are by nature storytellers, as well as avid to hear the stories of others, whether as fiction or non-fiction.
And the format doesn't much matter: book, recording, hanging out in the pub, gathered around the dining table, sitting around a campfire, and of course, pillow talk where we share (if we are lucky) our most private thoughts and dreams.

I have no quarrel with what others read or listen to….and I certainly appreciate that the sometimes ennui in the course of long and solitary drives makes the audible book a great invention, not necessary as a threat to the printed page but as an augmentation.
And I don't think an author cares whether you pay attention to what s/he says or how he says it from the printed page or from an audio disc…
Just as long as you pay the publisher for the ride.
All I said, PLEASE, is that I love an actual book. That I love the way books look, and feel, and smell,
I love opening it in anticipation of something new and interesting that is not out of my own head.
And I love closing it after having spent however long in the company of an eloquent, literate, talented author who is, ABOVE ALL, not me.
Has something to say, a story to tell, that belongs to someone else outside the narrow confines of my own life, my own thoughts, my own experience..
That doesn't mean that it HAS to be in the form of a book: it only means that for me (can it be age?) the book is the most satisfying format.
But I do agree with Oleg that when reading a book, one is uniquely focused.

And I cannot tell a lie: almost nothing turns me on as much as a second hand bookstore….the less organized the better, jumbles of books, all sizes, shapes, subjects, many of them unimaginable until you actually see that "Macrame for the Blind" is actually a published entity… was not only published, but that somebody once bought it.
Just opening the flyleaf of a second hand book is an adventure in imagination: to KAD from NMB Happy Birthday 1972!
Think of it.

Maybe someday an Audie Book, the little box wrapped in plastic, pristine, clean… will have such romance,
Maybe even to me.

NMB
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by fromthehills » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:10 pm

I haven't made you out to be anything of the sort, Norma. I was merely sharing my appreciation for the format.

Before internet, and before audio books, I spent countless hours sitting on the floors of bookstores, new and used. And in libraries. I always had an open book or four lying around. I've read a lot of used books, too. I can appreciate the personal inscription, and wonder about the lives of the people that have read the book before. In general, though, I'm much to fussy to appreciate everything one finds in a used book. Underlines, side notes, the occasional booger, and dog ears. I hate dog ears. I have to admit that part of me does miss the adventure of searching through a pile of old books, though. One thing, nowadays, is that I must be bespeckled to read a book, and it gives me a bit of a headache after a while.


What's funny, Norma, is another thing I appreciate about audio is there is no box wrapped in plastic. I appreciate this in a different way, but no drive to town, no trash to throw away, and no struggle for room on the shelves. I just download straight from a very popular and well advertised site. Goes right to my phone that I plug in to my car stereo, or my shop speakers. I can be pretty lazy, if audio took more effort than this, I'd probably just read the book. I'm fully aware that I'm part of the coming demise of the printed News, the brick and mortar bookstore, and broadcast radio. But I believe that this internet thing isn't going away, and if a business model doesn't include the internet, it's not going to be in business for very much longer. Partly, that makes me sad. Perhaps, though, if I was a city dweller, and had daily access to a bookstore, I'd probably still go and spend my money there. Probably get the paper and sit and have coffee. And listen to NPR's Morning Edition over the air.

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by nmblum88 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:29 pm

fromthehills wrote:I haven't made you out to be anything of the sort, Norma. I was merely sharing my appreciation for the format.

Before internet, and before audio books, I spent countless hours sitting on the floors of bookstores, new and used. And in libraries. I always had an open book or four lying around. I've read a lot of used books, too. I can appreciate the personal inscription, and wonder about the lives of the people that have read the book before. In general, though, I'm much to fussy to appreciate everything one finds in a used book. Underlines, side notes, the occasional booger, and dog ears. I hate dog ears. I have to admit that part of me does miss the adventure of searching through a pile of old books, though. One thing, nowadays, is that I must be bespeckled to read a book, and it gives me a bit of a headache after a while.


What's funny, Norma, is another thing I appreciate about audio is there is no box wrapped in plastic. I appreciate this in a different way, but no drive to town, no trash to throw away, and no struggle for room on the shelves. I just download straight from a very popular and well advertised site. Goes right to my phone that I plug in to my car stereo, or my shop speakers. I can be pretty lazy, if audio took more effort than this, I'd probably just read the book. I'm fully aware that I'm part of the coming demise of the printed News, the brick and mortar bookstore, and broadcast radio. But I believe that this internet thing isn't going away, and if a business model doesn't include the internet, it's not going to be in business for very much longer. Partly, that makes me sad. Perhaps, though, if I was a city dweller, and had daily access to a bookstore, I'd probably still go and spend my money there. Probably get the paper and sit and have coffee. And listen to NPR's Morning Edition over the air.


Thanks… and all true…
I no longer get two print daily papers, but read 5 of them on my computer, with my own morning coffee: there goes the day, I could be sitting here, on line without a break, with Le Monde, the Guardian and Ha'aretz until the world ends.
Look, I was just expressing my own response to the recorded book, not damning the progress the audio version represents…
I'm a Luddite, but not unaware that adaptability to change is the key to survival, even if it does put an end to one or two of my personal pleasures…
And the irony is that I am this very morning on my way to a state-of the-art (and completely fascinating) audio studio in further pursuit of my own misbegotten life.
Because the audio book is probably the future: the number of trees that die on behalf of some really terrible, shoddy books, is argument enough for that…
However, could you just reassure me that you don't, in addition, to "reading" by not reading (there IS that you know, just as pocket calculators account for the fact that the almost-adults in my poetry class, can't make change of a dollar if their lives depend on it), that you don't answer your smarter-than-i-am phone when you are otherwise engaged with an actual human being?
That's what i'm saving my strongest animosity for….
NMB
P.S. You're bespectacled?
Mmmmmmm… I had no idea… rethinking…. rethinking…
N.
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."

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Re: My first audible book…..

Post by fromthehills » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:02 pm

I only have to use reading glasses for reading small print, now, my arms aren't long enough, and for getting precise measurements.

And no, I am very much in favor of the idea of calling people back, unless it's an absolutely necessary call to take, and then I will beg pardon before answering. I hate it when someone answers the phone while one of us are in mid sentence. I don't like people talking on the phone in front of me. I think we should bring back the phone booth for people to step into while on their cell. I don't understand the compulsion to run to the phone as if its ringing might mean they are a sweepstakes winner. I think the compulsion to answer the phone during a more immediate conversation is rooted in mimicry. Once, having a cell meant that one had some level of importance, deluded or not, and would answer if in the presence of someone of less importance. Or perhaps, it stems from the days before caller ID and answering machines. Who knows? But it's {!#%@} annoying, and if I can curb my compulsion of grabbing the phone away and throwing it, one can also curb their compulsion to answer the phone in an act of utter disrespect and rudeness.

No one needs a pocket calculator anymore, it's on everyone's phone. I even have the construction calculator that does fractions, roof pitches, square footage, how many sheets of plywood I need, how many cubic yards of concrete, any Pythagorean calculation to the 1/16th of an inch, and much more. I have a ballistics calculator, on the phone, as well, that will will give me all my scope adjustments for hitting a target at any distance, given a particular type of bullet, wind speed and direction, and so on. Works perfectly. For counting change from a dollar is quite the mystery, however. I just hope the clerk got it right.

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