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Librophile – Free audio and eBooks for all! March 18, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in Resources.
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Thanks to Lifehacker, today’s Internet Resource is Librophile a site that collects links to Free (and commercial) Audiobooks and EBooks from around the web, in one place. Their collection comes from Librivox and Project Gutenberg and other sites too. Enjoy!

A New Type of Storytelling February 4, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Remember when you were a girl scout/boy scout/camp counselor/kid, etc. and you would tell a story by each person adding on another line? Well now you have an opportunity to do that again, in a global and virtual fashion through the help of BBC Audiobooks America, Twitter and New York Times #1 bestselling author, Meg Cabot. Booklist Online’s Audiobooker blog reports that, beginning at noon (EST) on February 16th, would-be collaborators can tweet @BBCAA with the hashtag #bbcawdio to participate. The best tweet will be chosen and re-tweeted so that the story can continue. When the story is completed it will recorded into an audiobook and available for free download. (If it sounds like I am speaking a foreign language, check out the Twittonary here.)

From the Oregon State University Archives' Photostream

I have never participated in a Twitter conversation because I am always afraid that it will be too messy or move too fast to keep up with, but I am excited to check out the unraveling of a story. It will be interesting to see which tweets make the cut and which fail. I think this would be a great event for literature classes to participate in. What do you think? Will you be participating in a collaborative audiobook?

Is reading a social or solitary experience? January 27, 2010

Posted by dataduchess in 2666, reading.
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This article from the New York Times last weekend includes a quote from none other than Matthew Bucher, organizer of the Spring 2666 group read of Roberto Bolano’s novel 2666 (which just started – there’s still time to catch up!). He said that he still reads, at night, at home and on his own, but the discussion of what he read the next day only enhances his experience.

I feel the same way – audiobooks notwithstanding (they have their own place) I don’t want to read in a group; I read by myself. However the article includes quotes from other readers who indicate they are somehow disappointed to know that anyone has ever read the same book as them. They feel that the world of the novel is their own secret place, and for someone else to read the book is like an unwelcome intruder in that world.

While I have felt connected to some of my favorite books, even so much so with some of my favorites as to imagine they went on without me everytime I put them down, I have never felt the imaginary world to be mine exclusively. Rather, when I found a particularly special world, I was (am still) eager to share that world with friends who I know would also appreciate it. (Just ask any of the individuals I continually press my latest reads upon.)

So what do you think? Solitary or Social Activity? Do you like to share books?

The Narrator is the Thing December 14, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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Do you love David Sedaris? I certainly do. Listening to his humorous memoirs have constituted a good portion of my commutes, often alleviating my chronic road-rage issues. In this article in the New Yorker, he lists his favorite audiobooks, short-story collections, and novels. I have often wondered what writers think about audiobooks and I could not agree more with Sedaris than with his statement,

“The problem with audiobooks is that they’re so often imbalanced. This is to say that the narrator is better than his material. Just as often, the situation is reversed, and a so-so actor will ruin a good book.”

Many times I have begun a well-reviewed book in audio form only to eject it because the narration is so grating or incongruous to the voice that I had imagined. Here is my personal list of the best and worst audiobooks.

From dev-random's flickr stream, under Creative Commons license

Best

(Really just five of the good ones I first thought of. The list could go on and on. I especially recommend audiobooks for works containing foreign words such as “The Kiterunner,” by Khaled Hosseini. It’s great to hear words in other languages pronounced correctly.)

1. “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” by Audrey Niffenegger, read by William Hope and Laurel Lefkow.

2. “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen, read by Flo Gibson.

3. “Feed,” by M.T. Anderson, read by David Aaron Baker.

4. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” by Douglas Adams, read by Stephen Fry.

5. “In Cold Blood,” by Truman Capote, read by Scott Brick.


Worst

1. “The Birth of Venus,” by Sarah Dunant, read by Jenny Sterlin. (Because it was supposed to be about a romantic love affair and the narrator sounded like an elderly woman.)

2. “The Mermaid Chair,” by Sue Monk Kidd, read by Eliza Foss. (Annoying Southern accent. And yes, I realize this might be a personal issue.)

3. “The Time Machine,” by H.G. Wells, read by Bernard Mayes. (It sounded like he was in a tunnel.)

4. “Son of a Witch,” by Gregory Maguire, read by the author. (It’s my personal opinion that authors should not read their own books unless it’s a memoir or non-fiction. This was terrible!)

5. “Anthem,” by Ayn Rand, read by Christopher Lane. (Admittedly, I think I was just annoyed that half the book was commentary on Rand’s life and beliefs.)

Do you read audiobooks? Which do you think are the best and worst?