Monday, June 1, 2009

8 Things About Books on Tape

1. Can fully appreciate the cadence and rhythm of beautifully written prose.
2. On the other hand, the horrible clunkiness of language is revealed as well. Some authors really can't be listened to.
3. Let's say you miss an important detail the author so craftily slipped by you. Trying to "re-read" a passage is a far different proposition: rewind, nope, rewind, nope, rewind, wait, this is before that important bit,, not yet...FF, too far! rewind, FF, rewind, where the heck is it, end up listening to the whole second chapter in reverse order of the scenes...oh, drat, just hand me the book. Over there, under the chair...
4. You can get dressed, feed the cat, wash dishes all while listening to a fabulous story! As long as there's no one to tease you when you scrub a pot for five minutes at the good part. And better check the mirror before you leave the house. Just in case.
5. Be forewarned, people will think you are demented if you start sobbing for no discernible (to them) reason. The pantomime explanation of "earbuds,listening, big woman shot by crass ex-lover, fell in canal, ....oh never mind!" only seals the deal, in their opinion.
6. Can't answer the phone. That's what voicemail is for.
7. All the aural pleasure of talk-radio without annoying callers or knuckleheaded hosts.
8. More mentally engaging and creative than tv or video. You can dress the characters anyway you want (until the author tells you otherwise), even vary it from scene to scene...who cares? You can have your own interpretation of wine-dark sea or bowlegged or flinty-voiced; maybe the Snopes's have an uncanny resemblance to your ex-spouse's cousins by marriage.


  1. I can add so many to this list!

    9. You can knit/crochet/craft while listening, as long as the project isn't too complicated. Bonus points if the project is inspired by the book.

    10. Nobody understands why you get into a conniption fit over a book only being available as an abridged version (unless they, too, are listeners).

    11. You get envious of friends who have more "listening time" available to them, and thus burn through books faster than you do.

    12. The morning/afternoon commute magically transforms from a chore to a special time you actually look forward to, because you get to spend it with (imaginary) friends.

  2. hey, thanks, Jessica, these are great additions!

    I share your abhorrence for abridged versions; I want every word the author put down. And, yes, I'll admit, there've been times when I've secretly wished for a slightly longer commute. Just so I can wrap up the chapter.

  3. Lakin, this is a blog post I've been thinking about for a while. I love books on tape...though now more books on CD than tape.

    My three additions:

    13. Exercise, walk, lift weights, run, everything but yoga (the teacher doesn't like earbuds in a zen setting)

    14. Better than sleeping pills, though finding your place in the morning isn't so easy. I won't talk about the red marks on my cheek from the cassette player.

    15. I can answer questions about Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire, American Lit, because my library has a whole set of tapes by the that Courses company. Yeah! Bill Biers.

  4. It was through books on tape that I realized that Wodehouse was Shakespeare all over again. It's all there, the language, the situations, the mistaken identities. Listening on tape was very close to attending a play. The spoken word is very rich.

  5. yeah, you're right, Gay...books on CD! I guess the proper term is audiobooks. Love your additions, too! Maybe I'll do a combination-post: 15 Things About Audio Books and include yours and Jessica's....

    I tend to use one earbud when sleeping/napping; otherwise my underside ear gets a bit achey.

    Absolutely! Wodeshouse is soooo Shakespeare! Especially when they're dressing in drag to avoid wonder we love PGW so much. hmmm, I'm going to have to find those CD's.


Noise makers!