1. mercy
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    mercy Senior Member

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    What's Your Opinion on Audio Books?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by mercy, Dec 9, 2008.

    Hi guys,

    Reading is always suggested to those who are looking to improve their writing skills. I know audio books will never be as beneficial as reading, but do you think that they could be helpful to writers in any way?
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually it can be. When I read, I have to hear the words in my head. If it doesn't sound pleasing to the ear, it will probably not be very pleasing to read either. Besides, you can still find out what does and doesn't work in a book my listening to it.
     
  3. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I think that audio books help writers or some writers who are audio people.
    But for me no.
    For me words are not words when I read, they are videos and pictures in my head the words form into videos.
    So for some writers yes.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    True. That is the key. It's great for auditory learners, but not visual. I was more of a visual learner before I went to college. I needed a combination is visual and auditory, anyway. Then in college, it was all listening and taking notes, not nearly as much visual as it was in high school. It's beneficial to train yourself to be able to use all three styles effectively (the third being tactile/kinesthetic).
     
  5. ken90004
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    ken90004 Member

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    I spent 2 hours and 40 minutes on the road commuting to and from work, so I go through a lot of audio books. There is a lot more to writing than words, so it helps me to see how the ideas of professional writer flow. How they introduce sub-plots and then tie them back into the main story. Layering plots with conflicts. How they develop their characters.

    Life without audio books would be an endless stream of mindless talk shows.
     
  6. de la vega
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    de la vega Member

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    I drive from North Carolina to Maryland every once in a while to visit family and I couldn't do it without my audio books. For driving, I listen to "summer reading" kinds of books, since I only have part of my attention on the radio. When I'm at home, I listen to heavier things.
     
  7. Spearnymph
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    Spearnymph Member

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    I love audio books since you can listen to them while doing something else. When the narrator has got a particularly pleasing voice, it's such a treat! I prefer reading, nonetheless, because with someone else reading to you, you lose some intimacy. You can't read it at your own pace, and there's a physical voice providing the dialogue. Other than that, a book is a book. The words are there, and the author's style is intact. I think it's just as good for writers in that regard.
     
  8. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    I tried to listen to an audio-book once and it's too difficult for me to pay attention. I agree that they're very beneficial to some, but I think you lose a lot of what you get from reading text; you can't go at your own pace, if your mind wanders you have you can't just set it down as easily -- those were the problems I had.
     
  9. Richard Peevers
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    Richard Peevers New Member

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    I find audiobooks to be extremely beneficial to me. They help me gauge the rhythm of the written word.

    Some books just wouldn't work in audiobook format (Tristram Shandy, The Breakfast of Champions), but for others they can be just as beneficial as reading the physical page.

    What you have to bear in mind at all times, though, is that there's an intermediary between you and the author in a way that there isn't when you read words on a page.

    You're heavily reliant on the ability of the reader. A good reader will create whole new dimensions in a book, a bad one will deaden the words and destroy your interest.
     
  10. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is an excellent point. I was able to get through all of Eragon because it was read by a very talented actor, but I never managed to read it. On the other hand, I enjoyed reading Memoirs of a Geisha twice, but couldn't stand the audio book because of the reader. She didn't even know how to pronounce the Japanese names.
     
  11. 67Kangaroos
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    67Kangaroos Contributing Member

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    never had an audiobook... probably not a good idea for me though. i don't like people reading to me. because i end up daydreaming about something else entirely. i can hardly even listen to talk radio. i do music for my commute :)
    i think it might be one of those 'good for most, just not me' things...
     
  12. AthenaMinerva
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    AthenaMinerva New Member

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    I am not a big fan of audio books, mostly because my mind tends to wander, a lot, not to mention I can't just sit down, and listen to an audio book. I have to be doing something else as well.

    Although, audio books are great for taking on car trips, especially if you're like me and get carsick reading in the car.
     
  13. Richard Peevers
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    Richard Peevers New Member

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    I know exactly what you mean!

    I listened to an audiobook of Dostoyevsky's The Gambler a while back. It's a really good story, but the narrator was hideous. He couldn't pronounce any of the names or words.

    I ended up almost screaming at my MP3 player "it's pronounced 'taler' not 'thaler'" when he kept pronouncing the name of the coin wrong.

    On the other hand, I just listened to an audiobook of Tom Sawyer. It's one of those books I've always 'meant' to read but every time I picked up the book I'd be thoroughly bored after 20 pages. The reader really brought the book to life. I don't think that without his skills in narration I'd ever have read it!

    I usually am doing something else while I listen to an audiobook such as tidying or grunt work in the office. I get fidgety if I'm just listening to a book.

    But then, I'm like that with the TV too. I'm probably ADD or something! :)
     
  14. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    My mom is freakin addicted to those. She gets them from the library and always has them on in the car.
     
  15. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I listen to them constantly. (From library, where they're always ordering audio books from other libraries for me, so I can get through my wish-list of books to read.)

    The great thing about audio books is that you can listen while driving, while walking the dog, while doing your gardening, while shopping, while doing just about anything except talking to another person. And I do!

    I actually have to force myself not to listen to audio books occasionally, because the mind also needs "rest time," to think and imagine. I have made it a habit that on my Friday evening commute, I listen to music or nothing at all.

    Charlie
     
  16. Jal Phoenix
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    Jal Phoenix Member

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    I've found that since I started listening to audiobooks, I write more. They're much easier on the eyes than reading, and highly entertaining if you have a good voice actor as the reader. Not only do I listen to them on long distance drives, I also use them while I paint. Having one tape or disc to go through guarantees I'll sit in the chair for an hour, so that hobby benefits, too. I've never listened to an audiobook by itself, only while doing some other activity. I imagine they'd be less interesting that way.
     
  17. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    I used to hate audiobooks. I couldn't listen pay attention if my life depended on it. My mind would drift off somewhere or I'd start paying attention to something else. The worst is when I throw it on when I'm on my laptop. I have to keep skipping back a few chapters because I'll start having conversations on MSN and forget to listen to the book.

    Then about a week ago, I downloaded a bunch of audiobooks. There was a series I had read a while back and needed to read again so I could read the newest, but I was having a lot of trouble getting through it. They are some of my favourite books, but for some reason I kept gettign distracted. I threw the audiobook on my ipod and listen to it on my walk to work or when I'm cleaning and it's great.

    I've read the series before so I already get the gist of it. I don't need to be able to listen to every single word (something i have to do whether I'm reading of listening or I get twitchy - OCD). It's hella easier.

    I'm having some issues listening to the other audiobooks. The ones I haven't read before. I have a hard time turning off my brain to be able to listen intently for so long. But I'm beed training myself. It takes 20 minutes to walk to work and I make an effort not to think aout anything on the way. Just listen.

    Aaaan I'm rambling. :)
     
  18. Viamence
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    Viamence Member

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    I'm of the opinion that they are beneficial.

    If you listen to someone talk long enough, you start to pick up on their mannerisms whether you want to or not. That's human nature. By listening to audiobooks you can absorb certain methods of speaking, describing or structure. You gather new vocabulary (if you choose to look up words you aren't familiar with).

    You can get a feel for how people in other regions of the world write and speak, which is incredible in itself because that's the next best thing to shadowing someone from another country for a week.

    That, and when you have 30-hour cross-country car trips, you really need something to blur those hours.
     
  19. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    I think they're good for doing when you can't actually be reading; like doing chores or going on long drives. If you get a good reader, they're actually pretty cool. I listened to American Gods, and the reader really made the story and characters come to life in a new way.
     
  20. Rabid Fox
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    Rabid Fox Member

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    I'm coming around to the whole audio book "thang". I received a couple in a junk box last year (The King of Torts by John Grisham and Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag), which I was about to trade in for some book credit. I ripped them to MP3 format and kept digital copies before getting rid of them, and ended up kicking a kick out of the format. I doesn't beat having a book in hand, but it's not bad when drifting off at night and listening to a chapter or two on your MP3 player.
     
  21. nat
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    nat Member

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    Last year, December 2007 actually, I finished up a study on having kids listen to audio books. Kids being teenagers. What I found through my research is that listening to audio books actually helps improve reading levels.
    We never looked at whether or not writing levels also improve, but I'd bet they do. People are able to understand text read to them above their current reading levels. Their vocabulary will undoubtedly grow as will their use of language. Just listening to the fluency of a well read book makes a positive difference. All of this would improve writing, I'm sure.
    I highly recommend having my student listen to audio books to improve their reading. Studies have actually shown that improvements happen whether or not kids read along with the text.
     
  22. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I like both audio books and written books. I prefer audio books for textbooks tho, because I find I absorb that type of information better if I hear it.
     
  23. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    If Kurzweil has a less annoying voice, I would definitely want to have it for my textbooks so I could listen to them.

    And it doesn't surprize me at all that teenagers improved by listening to others read. Little kids learn to read by parents and teachers reading to them. Why should it be any different for older kids?
     
  24. Rarikou
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    Rarikou New Member

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    Sometimes, Reading abook dosen't give me a feel for imagery that they're supposed to create, so I buy the auido to gain a perspective of a book.
     
  25. lebowski
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    lebowski Member

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    There was a Canadian comedian, Tony Law, who used to say something along the lines of 'its all well and good reading great books, but what if the acting in your head is sh*t?'.
     

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