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Joey Crows

The Voice Inside My Head vs Any Other Voice

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I've long been an advocate of physical copies of books. I just love having books around and enjoy the act of reading for pleasure. That being said, I'm a human alive in 2019 and fully engaged in this digital world. I have a long list of go-to podcasts and have no problem getting information or enjoying a narrative based show digitally. But, BUT, for some reason I can't get into audio books. I've tried to listen to several and actually did listen to all of The World of Ice and Fire, but something doesn't click. Obviously, the narrater plays a huge role in how you receive a story, and some are better than others. Though even with a quality narrator reading to me, I find the cadence or the inflections or something off. Maybe I engage with a narrative differently when the voice in my head is my own? Anyway, that was a little rant about audio books. 

Anybody else have difficulty enjoying audio books the way you would reading the book yourself? And if so, what's our deal?

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I find they put me to sleep and/or my mind wanders, so would rather actually read.

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I agree with you--people heap praises on some of these audio book readers but they don't do much for me.  Maybe it's because I read more slowly than most people and I sub-vocalize more.  

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I am completely unable to listen to Audiobooks. I simply cannot parse fiction at a non-variable rate, if that makes sense. Sometimes I'll spend several minutes on one single paragraph - be it an important plot development, a wonderful piece of prose, or the like. Conversely, I will absolutely zoom through some exposition or dialogue sometimes, nearly even skimming, but slow back down to a snail's pace if I really am into the scene.

I do not drive for my commute, though, as I live in an urban setting. If I'm on the train, my headphones are solely for music - I am somewhat better at listening to talk radio or podcasts, but even those aren't for me. I am moving halfway across the country at the end of the month, perhaps I'll re-try the audiobook thing then!

 

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2 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Yeah I hate it when the voices in my head start fighting.

I got $50 on the smallest, quietest voice. (Those are the ones you usually need to be wary of)

 

 

I don't like listening to audio books, because they just prove how woefully incompetent I am at pronouncing names in books correctly.

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2 hours ago, Argonath Diver said:

I simply cannot parse fiction at a non-variable rate, if that makes sense. Sometimes I'll spend several minutes on one single paragraph - be it an important plot development, a wonderful piece of prose, or the like. Conversely, I will absolutely zoom through some exposition or dialogue sometimes, nearly even skimming, but slow back down to a snail's pace if I really am into the scene.

Definitely do the same thing. I often will read a sentence or paragraph and then stare off into space thinking about it for a while. I also find myself immediately re-reading a paragraph or two if it strikes a chord.

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I finally realized what the thread title means about a minute ago.

I have never given audio books a serious try but I suspect I wouldn't like them.  What I hear in my head as I read is good and proper.

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I can't really do audiobooks as I'm too easily distraced and likely to drift off into a daydream or complete other thoughts and miss half of it.

That I also read muchmuch faster than the narrator can speak also likely has something to do with it.

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I started off on audiobooks when I had a long commute, and at my winter gig I have a lot of time to listen to stuff but an not allowed to read, and at first I could only listen to books I'd read.  That changed with Red Country, which I listened to first.  I think Stephen Pacey is the perfect match of narrator to content for Abercrombie.  

With nonfiction, I find I can easily listen to something new.  I definitely prefer reading, have been putting off Morgan's Thin Air because the narrator isn't that engaging too easily distracted.  For me I need a really good narrator to handle new fiction on audiobook.

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First off, they are two different experiences so you are off to a bad start thinking they are supposed to be equivalent. A book is much more personal and requires you usually being stationary (hope that's not the pens spelling) and like you say you add your own voice and cadence (although i suspect a skilled author controls the cadence more than we appreciate). An audiobook is more of an intermediate step between reading and seeing something performed on stage/screen. Yes, the voices and cadences are controlled by the voiceactors but the world and appearance of characters is still personalised. That disappears once we watch stageplays/TV. So an audiobook is best seen as a compromise between the two or worst of both worlds depending on your POV. The biggest advantage is it's the only one where i can move around and do things at the same time. Although i envy those curious individuals who can walk down a street reading a book.

Some of the complaints sound more like self-imposed cognitive barriers. You can listen to podcasts that you haven't read out aloud but once you know it's a book you can't? If you didn't know it was a book could you lusten to it? Being read to as a child at home or school must have been difficult, although i do think that's one of the reasons people can fall asleep listening to audiobooks as we associate being read to with bed time.

I do think audiobooks require some training to "get into" as i recognize a lot of the complaints here in myself. First, i started with podcasts that were more factually based as the key thing is getting your brain to pay enough attention for info to register (you'd be surprised how easy it is to tune out music or radio chat because it doesn't affect your understanding). Then i started with non-fiction audiobooks because it's easy to tell when you are failing to comprehend the info. 

Listening to actual fiction took me about a year and that was with short story collections. With a story you need to appreciate more than just the info to enjoy and that takes more attention. Short stories help because it usually means there's less to get thanks to how they are constructed.

I appreciate folk not having the time or patience to persist with it. I was "lucky" in the sense my old job required 3-4 hours a day sitting by a microscope doing tasks where i could split my attention. Once i had the skill down it was a massive plus.

That said i still find some audiobooks inpetetrable. I had to give up on "blood meridian" recently as things constantly failed to register. I suspect that's a case of something being very intentionally crafted as something to be read.  

I do wonder whether there could be some genuine inability to listen to audiobooks though? I know that at the peak of 3D films there were lots of people complaining about how it made them queasy/ didn't work. Going back to my microscope work there were 3 people who could not use both eyes to look down a microscope in stereo (they just closed one eye). They all couldn't watch 3D films. My boss even went to the doctors about it and they said some people simply can't do stereo vision when they have eyepieces that isolate the eyes. It's not really an impediment to everyday life unless you need to use eyepieces or wear clunky 3D glasses. That's a bit of a tangent but i wonder whether there could be a similar kind of thing with audiobooks. If there is there's no point a person trying to get into them if it's a genuine impossibility.

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On 3/20/2019 at 12:17 AM, red snow said:

Some of the complaints sound more like self-imposed cognitive barriers. You can listen to podcasts that you haven't read out aloud but once you know it's a book you can't? If you didn't know it was a book could you lusten to it? Being read to as a child at home or school must have been difficult, although i do think that's one of the reasons people can fall asleep listening to audiobooks as we associate being read to with bed time.

Oh they most certainly are self-imposed. Haha. I'm totally aware that this is not a fault of audiobooks. As far as being able to listen to podcasts, I don't have any trouble mainly because they aren't typically straight narratives. Usually a discussion of some sort serves as a break from the main story/theme. That sort of pausing to consider what just happened is the same thing I do when I read. 

And to your thought about being read to as a child, I'm sure I was read to at a very young age, but by the time I could read on my own that is what I did. In school I actually did a lot of reading books of my own choosing surreptitiously while the teacher was reading to the class. One reason I'm pretty well read yet have a huge blank space where the "classics" are concerned. ;) 

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On 3/14/2019 at 5:07 AM, Inkdaub said:

I finally realized what the thread title means about a minute ago.

I definitely didn't spend waaaay too long trying to think of a clever title for this thread ;) 

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4 hours ago, Joey Crows said:

Oh they most certainly are self-imposed. Haha. I'm totally aware that this is not a fault of audiobooks. As far as being able to listen to podcasts, I don't have any trouble mainly because they aren't typically straight narratives. Usually a discussion of some sort serves as a break from the main story/theme. That sort of pausing to consider what just happened is the same thing I do when I read. 

And to your thought about being read to as a child, I'm sure I was read to at a very young age, but by the time I could read on my own that is what I did. In school I actually did a lot of reading books of my own choosing surreptitiously while the teacher was reading to the class. One reason I'm pretty well read yet have a huge blank space where the "classics" are concerned. ;) 

I think being able to read what you like/want and not what you're supposed to is the key to cultivating reading habits. Can always try the classics when and if you feel like it.

Podcasts (especially featuring multiple presenters) are a bit more like listening in on s conversation which i guess are brains are primed for.

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the audiobook is a perfect cappy item, reflecting the delegation of literacy to a ghost reader who is paid to specialize in lectorial panache, whose art is undecidable as to its aristotelian status as poesis or praxis. first they delegate literacy, the principal bearer of human thought, to corporate agents; soon enough they will have delegated to those same employees thinking itself.

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4 hours ago, sologdin said:

the audiobook is a perfect cappy item, reflecting the delegation of literacy to a ghost reader who is paid to specialize in lectorial panache, whose art is undecidable as to its aristotelian status as poesis or praxis. first they delegate literacy, the principal bearer of human thought, to corporate agents; soon enough they will have delegated to those same employees thinking itself.

 

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i see that my assessment was too cautious, that the omnibus delegation of thought by market participants to mass culture products is proceeding already.

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I am fortunate enough to be able to do my workouts at home.  I download audio versions of all kinds of books that I listen to while doing cardio, stretches, weights, etc.  They are great for doing this.  These are not the sorts of books I read between covers though -- for the most part those are filled with citations and maps, illustrations , tables, graphs and so on, which one cannot get in the audio version, duh.

On occasion I've been so sick that I can't do anything at all, including reading.  Turn on the speakers, lie in the dark and drift away ....

I listen via external speakers, not ear buds / fones.  I don't run with anything in my ears either. First, it's unsafe.  Second it would interfere with what is the real point of running for me, which is experiencing the environment.

 

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