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Audiobooks: a debate in monologue

February 4, 2009

Over the past several months, I have listened to a good number of audiobooks (The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster, Falling Man by Don DeLillo, Against The Day by Thomas Pynchon [which weighed in at 42 discs of audio], Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo, and Man in the Dark by Paul Auster; I realize the list is incredibly 21st century heavy but them’s the breaks) and have yet to figure out how to feel about them.

On the one hand, I get to use the 2+ hours I spend in my car every day not only getting to work but also ingesting literature that I would not have time to read otherwise; but on the other I am not reading and, truth be told, I don’t think I get as much out of the audiobooks as I would if I were to read their paper representations. I seriously doubt that I would have read Against the Day in paper form and I am most certainly glad that I have encountered it. Were a novel assigned for a class discussion, I can’t imagine preparing for class by listening to it on my iPod, but audiobooks are quite valuable for at least encountering the text.

In the end, audiobooks will remain a vital part of my commute–at least as long as I can get them free from the WCU library.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Alex permalink
    February 4, 2009 3:46 pm

    More than once, I have looked forward to living somewhere where I am forced to commute to work/school so that I can enjoy audiobooks.

  2. February 4, 2009 6:40 pm

    That’s pretty much my outlook on audiobooks. I would never use one to prepare for class, and if it’s a work that I’m going to teach or need to analyze, I stick to the kinds of books I can flip back through, re-read passages, and underline. But if you look at it as a way to broaden your exposure and use time that would otherwise be wasted, then audiobooks are most definitely a good thing.It can also be a good way to “read” for pleasure when you’re so overwhelmed with all you HAVE to read that there’s no time for simple escapism reading.

    I listened to a book on every trip back and forth to Ole Miss. Sometimes I hated to turn them off and go in class!

  3. February 5, 2009 10:26 am

    I just ordered the complete, unabridged MOBY DICK on MP3. Have tried to tackle the book a couple of times but never made it past page 40. Maybe listening to it in my office after a hard day of writing will be a boon. We shall see. I’m also a big fan of old time radio dramas and have written for the radio myself. Matter of fact, CBC Radio will be airing, nationwide, a play by yours truly tomorrow (here’s a link to CBC’s site, where “The First Room” is archived, so you can listen to it starting, well, NOW):

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