17 October 2011

The audiobook experiment, part I

With the new job, I've got a longer commute which is becoming prime audiobook listening time.

Previously, audio books kept me company while doing yardwork thanks to downloadable audio books. But when the next book I wanted wasn't available for my iPod but was on CD, I remembered, "Hey, my car has one of those!" So, audiobooks, meet drivetime.

But, my audiobook choices have always been books I already read. The audiobook was a way to "reread" and not worry about having to pay more attention to my driving (or gardening) than the book at hand because I knew what happened.

Except -- there's so much stuff I want to read for the first time.

And enter a Twitter question by @tyrusbooks: Does your appreciation/comprehension of a book change between reading and/or listening?

This question had been knocking around in my head as well. So, I replied: @tyrusbooks I'm going to find out! All my audiobook exp. has been "rereading" but going to try a new book just with audio to see.

That afternoon, I went to the library and checked out an audiobook I haven't already read in paper.

For the purposes of my experiment, I decided to go easy on myself. The book in question is the first in Scott Westerfeld's YA steampunk trilogy, Leviathan. Knowing I've got a stack of mysteries and urban fantasies checked out to read in print, I didn't want a book in those genres so I wouldn't confuse the clues or wonder why the magic isn't working right because that world works differently.

I popped disc one of Leviathan in the car last Wednesday and started to get into an alternate 1914, full of airships and steam-powered Stormwalkers.

The experiment is underway. And as @TyrusBooks asked: @BKWordNerd report back with your findings, B.

I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Jay H said...

I listened to the first Left Behind novel on audio and thought it was all right.

A year later, maybe two at the most, I started reading it and couldn't get more than twenty pages in. It was awful. Somehow, between the abridgement and the performance, the audiobook had disguised just how awful it was.

On the other hand, I listened to Neuromancer read by the author, and he was just a horrible reader. I recently bought the novel in the hopes of actually reading it for myself.

(I also listened to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy read by its author, and that was much better. Mind you, it was already one of my favorite books at that point.)