Lori's Book Nook

Archive for the ‘Audio Books’ Category

Ernie Cline is the Numero Uno geek on the Internet…or at least the one who has carved out his niche of geekdom, and becoming successful for actually being a geek.

Spoken word…a screenplay actually produced (that would be the Star Wars homage, Fanboys), and now a novel — Ready Player One:

an homage to 80s geekdom

Simply put, the novel is a distopic look at our world in a possible near future, where all energy is focused on one enormous simulation game…which is, for various reasons, absolutely replete with 80s pop culture references and recreations. Did I mention it features video games? And it has references to absolutely everything and anything that was popular in a pretty limited time frame…

Not enough for you? The audio book, which I am in the midst of right now, is read by Mr. Wil Weaton!

And it’s a good yarn! Thanks, Ernie!

Wouldn’t it be utterly brilliant to have a comprehensive list of available online books?

This site seems to be a step in that direction. It is a no-frills webpage of links to so many of the online book (including audio books) locations that one would be hard-pressed to say if anything was missing. And if it is, suggest it to the website’s owner, and I’m sure it will be added.

Next, give me a book reader and I’ll be all set.

Since we’re on the subject, if you’re looking to get me a gift (“Really? For me?!?”), I’m opting for the iRex iLiad — pricey but has features that I’d love. Unlike the much-too-hyped Amazon Kindle — where they don’t tell you the fine print (I’ve read this on Cnet, in the user reviews). You know all those thousands of free books online? The ones that you already have on your computer? Well, if you want them on the Kindle, you gotta buy them from Amazon, ’cause they won’t go on otherwise! Yup, Amazon has found a way to inveigle all those book lovers into buying stuff that is otherwise free! [The moral of the story? Do your research before you buy!!]

I’ve ranted on in the past about the quality of the reader making, or breaking, an audio book.  If you’ve ever listened to a tedious reader, you know what I’m talking about. (And no, just because a reader is a famous actor, doesn’t mean that they’re any damn good!)

And I’ve blogged occasionally about poetry. Meant to be read aloud, it is an ideal match to audio, and I think we need to acknowledge a lovely podcast blog today: Classic Poetry Aloud.

Oh, I would admire anyone with the guy’s dedication to posting regular podcasts of themselves reading classic poetry…but I wouldn’t listen to it, if the reading were mediocre.

Mr. Only the Poetry Matters, you read very well. I’m now a fan.

I realized this morning that the world had lost yet another artist — spoken word artist Sekou Sundiata. (The Chicago Tribune) [Weird, the editors of Wikipedia waste not time in updating their entries.]

I first heard his work in the Bill Moyers’ book The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets (Here’s a discussion group page.) That book has a companion audio format — I’m not sure which came first, the audio or the book. I, luckily, have both. 🙂

Listen to him on Salon Audio, or on the NPR Fresh Air podcast, a compilation of interviews held with him over the years.

Art lives on.

Interesting how the genre of SF has changed over the years. No, I’m not going to start a history lesson…go to Wikipedia for that.

But, what do they really stand for, those two letters? Science fiction? Speculative fiction? Science fiction & fantasy? Does it matter?

The point is, the literature of alternate views of reality is a wonderful thing…a laboratory of possible outcomes, a playground for ideas, and a place where absolutely anything goes. In my bookmarks, I’ve been holding on to a useful one, the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. The main page has a great list of upcoming releases, in all forms, including audio. [So now I really know what my bookstore isn’t stocking!]

While I’m on about releases and new books, have you folks been to Baen’s Free Library? It’s a great marketing ploy (and a transparent one, if you read the first page), but there’s one point that’s not made there:

How many people are really likely to read a book online?

I might read the first chapter, get into it, and decide to buy the book (or find it at the library), but I don’t see myself reading all of it while sitting at my computer.

Questions for the public: Do you read books online? On your computer, your PDA, whatever. If so, why? How? How many? Is it better than a physical book (perish the thought!)?

Obviously, I’m biased to the ‘real thing’. I want to hold a book in my hand, curl up in a comfy chair (or flake out on the sofa, or sit up in bed…), and turn pages. I’ve read a book once on the computer, as an experiment. It was The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting.

I’ve mentioned audio before, and classic lit delivered to your mailbox…and now I’ve found a couple more sites that relate.

LoudLit.org, being “literature for your eyes and ears”, has an oddly educational aspect to it:

Putting the text and audio together, readers can learn spelling, punctuation and paragraph structure by listening and reading masterpieces of the written word.

As an ex-ESL teacher, I definitely see the advantages, but it’s not necessarily something I’d put on my front page as a selling point. “Hey kids! It’s good for you!”

Ah, but you read a little deeper, and you discover that the aim is to help those with dyslexia — always a noble pursuit. Supposedly, up to 20% of the population suffers from some form of dyslexia. I know I have moments when I’m really tired and going buggy-eyed looking at numbers…Imagine feeling like that all the time. [Here’s a link for the International Dyslexia Association, and another one for the Canadian Dyslexia Association.]

LoudLit.org has some great public domain works, read by named readers. I don’t recognize any of them (not that that means anything!), but finding a reader you like makes listening pleasurable.

The other link I wanted share today is another get-book-fragments-in-your-inbox, DailyLit. Poe, Plato, Nietzsche…it’s quite an impressive collection. And, you can pick what time of day your segments will be delivered to your box (is that an advantage?).

Enjoy.

Okay, so I’m an avowed bibliophile…I love printed books, beautiful books especially. But, I also have a weakness for audio books, well-read.

A couple of years ago, I discovered Audible.com, and ‘sucked in’…and enjoyed every minute of it. At the time, I was commuting 40 minutes each way every day, so it was worth it. If I didn’t get a seat on the train it was fine, ’cause I didn’t need to sit down to ‘read’ comfortably.

One of my favourite things is to listen to poetry, read well. One year with my annual book gift card from my mom (what else do you get a book lover for Christmas?), I bought Poetry Speaks: Hear Great Poets Read Their Work from Tennyson to Plath. Wow. Three CDs with a big book…here’s a glowing review. Silvia Plath’s palpable anger reading “Daddy”…Dorothy Parker being sardonic…Ogden Nash and his amusingly nasal voice, perfectly suited to his poetry. And the real treasure, a wax cylinder recording of Lord Tennyson reading part of the “Charge of the Light Brigade”.

Then, I found Seven Ages: An Anthology of Poetry with Music…poems grouped by the Seven Ages of Man from Shakespeare, read by various British Actors. John Cleese reading “The Owl and the Pussycat” is one treasure in the midst of a lot of great stuff.

Readers are important. Not everyone can read well. The difference between listening to a book being read and experiencing a great story is all in the voice. On Audible.com, my favourite book was Pride and Prejudice, read by Kate Reading, a British woman with a truly great voice. I could not stop listening to this book, and I’d read it numerous times already. Hearing it was an utter joy!

So, tonight I came across ThoughtAudio, some free audio downloads…which has prompted this long post. I’ll try some out, but I don’t know about the quality of the readers. Maybe someone out there has checked it out and can let us know?

Thanks.


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!