Why You Should Look Into Audiobooks
January 04, 2013
It's a common misconception of librarians that we get to sit around reading all day for a living! Don't get me wrong, this would be amazing. But, in fact, we are usually busy helping our customers, preparing programs for the community, and otherwise facilitating free and open access to information. We do this through a wide range of services, and this leaves very little time to devote to reading!
This being said, I am a librarian, and I do love to read. I just don't have a lot of time to devote to finishing anything more than a graphic novel on my lunch break! My simple solution to this is AUDIOBOOKS!
MCPL has a great collection of audiobooks. Fiction and nonfiction titles are available on CD from any of our physical branches and in digital format from OverDrive and OneClickdigital.
I listen to audiobooks whenever I'm in my car. In fact, I cannot tell you the last time I listened to the radio. There are times when I have trouble leaving my car if I find myself at an intense or particularly climactic moment in my book. Right now, I'm listening to George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. The books are narrated by Roy Dotrice and are absolutely amazing. I am currently on the fourth novel, A Feast for Crows. For me, the narrator is now inseparable from the story and has become an integral part of the experience.
I have also resorted to listening to audio versions of those classics I have never been able to make it through on my own. I am a huge classics fan, but let’s face it, to some (including me), Dickens can be a little on the wordy side. I had tried reading Oliver Twist several times over the past few decades; I know the story, absolutely love the musical version and the Disney cartoon, but I could not get into the original classic. Finally, about three years ago, I ran across the audiobook while reshelving, checked it out, and listened to it twice before returning it. The audiobook was amazing and everything I had hoped it would be! MCPL has several copies available, both in physical and digital form. The copy I listened to was narrated by Martin Jarvis, but there is also a BBC Radio version featuring various performers in full-cast dramatization.
I had a similar problem when I started reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I downloaded an eBook version from OverDrive, and I absolutely could not get into the story. I kept trying to fight my way through, but finally gave up. Then, I randomly came across an audiobook done by BBC Radio while browsing the stacks. As I listened, I was able to follow what was going on; I heard what I had been missing, namely the cultural context of the language.
Treasure Island was first published as a book in 1883, and as with the works of Shakespeare and some other regional authors, an understanding of the world being portrayed is necessary in order to grasp the humor and witty word play of the pirates and buccaneers. I definitely did not have the knowledge base, but the radio show offered it to me freely and I laughed out loud at some of the exploits and unseemly pirate jokes! I would recommend the BBC Radio version to anyone planning to read the book for the first time!
My last reason for turning to audiobooks hearkens back to my previous statement: I am a Librarian at heart and by trade and I love everything books. Recently, it was suggested by a coworker that I check out the audio versions of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, which, I might add, I have read a ridiculous number of times. Narrated by the incomparable Jim Dale, the audiobooks give the series a whole new dimension. This illustrates my last reason for recommending and loving audiobooks, and that's the storytelling aspect of it. Listening to my favorites is like participating in an adult storytime made just for me and in the comfort of my own car!
Librarian or not, we all have busy lives and a million reasons why we don't have time to read. The beauty of audiobooks is that they can be enjoyed while we're driving, folding laundry, or otherwise doing what life demands of us.
So what are you reading; better yet, what are you listening to?
North Independence Branch