Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Do I read or do I listen?

Yesterday, on my way back from Los Angeles, I stopped in at Barnes & Noble and bought two copies of the same book. Why? Because one is hardcover and the other is the audio book. The book in question is "Small Favor" by Jim Butcher.

I'm very much a fan of the Dresden novels, from devouring all the books to watching the short-lived TV series. But buying the audio books isn't about wanting more Dresden, because ultimately, I've already read the book. No, I buy them for two other reasons. One, they're read by James Marsters, who I adore, but two - and this is the bigger reason these days - it's the only way I can get my husband to share my love for Dresden.

My husband has never read a Dresden novel, but he's listened to all three of the other unabridged audio books and enjoyed them immensely. He loves to listen to them on long trips, and we've had the chance to talk about them, laugh together, get wrapped up in the stories. However, no matter how much he likes them, I can't get him to read the ones that don't have audio books. It's not that he doesn't like to read. He just doesn't have a lot of time for casual reading, even though I've told him time and time again that the Dresden books are fast reads.

I do like audio books, but frankly, they'll never replace a real book for me. What about you? What are your thoughts on audio books?


M said...

Welcome back :)
Hope you had fun at the con.

I've tried audio books from libraries a couple times before, and I definitely prefer reading to listening.

With audio books, the thing that annoys me most is that some of the people who read for it sound so bored with the book. There's no punch to the dialogue and everything just sounds flat. An example would be the L. Picaro audio book that's being offered free on Realms of Love. The man reading the book is about to doze off, I swear...

Another reason I prefer reading (this has nothing to do with whether or not the audio book reader is enthusiastic) is that I like to imagine the voices myself. When I read silently to myself, each character has a distinct voice. I don't have that when I'm listening to someone else read the book to me.


Vivien Dean said...

I did have fun, thanks! :)

I think it's tough to get a really good reader for a lot of books, especially if they're heavy on dialogue. I can see the appeal for action-y type books, but for romance, and for a lot of others, it just doesn't work for me. I'm with you. I get an idea in my head about what people sound like. Invariably, whoever is reading the book aloud doesn't match.