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  1. #1

    Do audio books make stories better?

    I just recently listened to the audio book version of Stephen King's From A Buick 8. I had read it when it first came out and I enjoyed it but not as much as some of his other books but listening to it on audio CD brought a whole new dimension (ha ha) to it. I listened to it in pitch darkness and it was really like watching a movie in my mind. Anyway, I totally love this book now and it has become one of my top favorite King novels.

    My question is, has anyone else ever experienced this with audio books where you weren't originally impressed with a novel and then heard it on audio and it changed your thinking on it completely?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gray View Post
    I just recently listened to the audio book version of Stephen King's From A Buick 8. I had read it when it first came out and I enjoyed it but not as much as some of his other books but listening to it on audio CD brought a whole new dimension (ha ha) to it. I listened to it in pitch darkness and it was really like watching a movie in my mind. Anyway, I totally love this book now and it has become one of my top favorite King novels.

    My question is, has anyone else ever experienced this with audio books where you weren't originally impressed with a novel and then heard it on audio and it changed your thinking on it completely?
    I love the idea of audio books, and some of them are very well done, but my problem is that when I listen to them, my mind wanders and I end up missing too much.

  3. #3
    I'm an audio book addict. Love em. But the quality of narration is very important to the listening experience, obviously. I have listened to books read by two different narrators, and it can seem as though they are completely different books. In general, though, I like to hear the voices read to me. I am very bad at creating the sounds of the different voices and accents in my own head while reading, so having that extra input makes the book sing to me. A good narrator can definitely improve a book.

    Speaking of narrators -- I am very much looking forward to getting hold of the new recordings of Best Served Cold and The Heroes. The original versions were recorded by Michael Page, who was completely wrong for Abercrombie's work. The new recordings are done by Steven Pacey, who recorded the First Law trilogy -- near or at the top of my all time favorite book/narrator pairings. Unfortunately, right now they are only available in the UK -- but I'm working on it!

  4. #4
    Registered User HeclaBull's Avatar
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    One audiobook that made a story better for me was the John Lee narrated a Feast for Crows. When I originally read the hardcover on it's release date, I didn't enjoy it that much. I think this was because of the absence of some of the main POVs, the inclusion of some new unfamiliar POVs and lands, and the wait and anticipation that I had built up. I had also listened to the audiobooks of the first three books in the series and really enjoyed them and their narration by Roy Dotrice.

    I first listened to the AFFC audiobook a few years after reading the hardcover and I was initially disappointed that there was a new narrator. After a little while though I came to appreciate this narrator's more laid back style and this also made me appreciate the new, slower paced style of this volume that was opening the world up to a wider scope with new viewpoints and lands. I love Roy Dotrice's readings of the first three novels and thought he fit them well, but John Lee was the right guy for the new feel of AFFC and I just don't think I would have ever come to appreciate Brienne's treks through Quiet Isle and Crack Claw Point or Arianne and crews' flight up the river and through the desert quite the same without Lee's style of narration.

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    I am on record as a huge fan of audible books, but as far is this format making a book better... I'd say IMO it's possible but does not happen very often for me. A good reader can really enhance a book (Roy Dotrice and ASoIaF for me!) and a poor one can really ruin it to some extent.

    Audible books are my choice most of the time because I can enjoy them while traveling no matter if I'm driving or on a plane or boat (where reading a book sometimes makes me feel sick), or while mowing the back field on my tractor. In addition, since I hit my 50's my eyes have not been what they used to be. Wearing glasses or contacts to read has taken much of the joy out of reading for me. On a beach in Jamaica.. I can listen to a book I enjoy while gazing at the beautiful beach and water in front of me! There a many reasons I am an avid user of audible books, but for most part I never expect a book to be 'better' because I listen to it rather than read it.

  6. #6
    So what are some really well done fantasy audiobooks?

    For me, 2 that I felt were extremely well done were American Gods and Sabriel (read by Tim Curry).

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Twinner View Post
    I am on record as a huge fan of audible books, but as far is this format making a book better... I'd say IMO it's possible but does not happen very often for me. A good reader can really enhance a book (Roy Dotrice and ASoIaF for me!) and a poor one can really ruin it to some extent.

    Audible books are my choice most of the time because I can enjoy them while traveling no matter if I'm driving or on a plane or boat (where reading a book sometimes makes me feel sick), or while mowing the back field on my tractor. In addition, since I hit my 50's my eyes have not been what they used to be. Wearing glasses or contacts to read has taken much of the joy out of reading for me. On a beach in Jamaica.. I can listen to a book I enjoy while gazing at the beautiful beach and water in front of me! There a many reasons I am an avid user of audible books, but for most part I never expect a book to be 'better' because I listen to it rather than read it.
    I've only listened to audiobooks twice now, the first one was Stephen King's new story Mile 81. I had obviously never read it so I can't say listening to it was better but as far as From a Buick 8 goes, I definitely was able to enjoy it better. I think sitting in pitch blackness allowed me to 1) not have any distractions, and 2) picture everything in my mind's eye better. It was just an experiment, I'm not sure it would work for everyone.

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    Did you ever find it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Contrarius View Post
    I'm an audio book addict. Love em. But the quality of narration is very important to the listening experience, obviously. I have listened to books read by two different narrators, and it can seem as though they are completely different books. In general, though, I like to hear the voices read to me. I am very bad at creating the sounds of the different voices and accents in my own head while reading, so having that extra input makes the book sing to me. A good narrator can definitely improve a book.

    Speaking of narrators -- I am very much looking forward to getting hold of the new recordings of Best Served Cold and The Heroes. The original versions were recorded by Michael Page, who was completely wrong for Abercrombie's work. The new recordings are done by Steven Pacey, who recorded the First Law trilogy -- near or at the top of my all time favorite book/narrator pairings. Unfortunately, right now they are only available in the UK -- but I'm working on it!
    Hello, did you ever get a hold of the Steven Pacey read The Heroes ? He blew me away with The First Law series. I forced myself to stick with Best Served Cold, sometimes cursing out loud at the ridiculous Cosca voice. I was resigned to reading Heroes when I found out about the Pacey UK version. Anyway, any luck?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mekrath View Post
    I love the idea of audio books, and some of them are very well done, but my problem is that when I listen to them, my mind wanders and I end up missing too much.
    I would agree with this. Something about them reminds me of classic radio horror broadcasts, but at the same time, there's a significant difference. I still prefer reading a book to listening to an audio book.

  10. #10
    Creator of Worlds sullivan_riyria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Molgaard View Post
    I would agree with this. Something about them reminds me of classic radio horror broadcasts, but at the same time, there's a significant difference. I still prefer reading a book to listening to an audio book.
    It does take a bit of getting used to. And in some formats it's easier to "back up" when you've missed something. I think audio books work out the best when you are on a long drive for non-work related stuff (vacation) because when in a commute you are often distracted by "office stuff."

  11. #11
    I can't imagine anyone thinking any audio book could be better than reading one.
    I've listened to maybe a dozen, half of them I had read before listening.
    When you read a book your whole mind is engaged. Listening to one is like listening to the radio. I imagine most of the people who do listen to them do so in their cars, while driving, as I did with every one. You miss too much.
    Even worse, you're at the mercy of whatever voice has been chosen to read it. I never much liked any voice doing the reading. Not a one of them had the talent for it.
    I can understand the convenience of audio books for people who don't have the time to actually sit down and read a book. But it isn't even close to actually reading one.
    If people were given a test on a book - one reading and the other listening - the listener would always come up very short.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by fiddler View Post
    I can't imagine anyone thinking any audio book could be better than reading one.
    I've listened to maybe a dozen, half of them I had read before listening.
    When you read a book your whole mind is engaged. Listening to one is like listening to the radio. I imagine most of the people who do listen to them do so in their cars, while driving, as I did with every one. You miss too much.
    Even worse, you're at the mercy of whatever voice has been chosen to read it. I never much liked any voice doing the reading. Not a one of them had the talent for it.
    I can understand the convenience of audio books for people who don't have the time to actually sit down and read a book. But it isn't even close to actually reading one.
    If people were given a test on a book - one reading and the other listening - the listener would always come up very short.
    I actually had no problem getting the whole story and more than when I read it, this is while I was driving. I think it was possibly the way it was read, the inflection that you don't get when reading necessarily. I think you are very off on your comment about the test, some would do better while listening, and some would do better reading, I don't believe it would be as lopsided as you think.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddler View Post
    I can't imagine anyone thinking any audio book could be better than reading one.
    I've listened to maybe a dozen, half of them I had read before listening.
    When you read a book your whole mind is engaged. Listening to one is like listening to the radio. I imagine most of the people who do listen to them do so in their cars, while driving, as I did with every one. You miss too much.
    Even worse, you're at the mercy of whatever voice has been chosen to read it. I never much liked any voice doing the reading. Not a one of them had the talent for it.
    I can understand the convenience of audio books for people who don't have the time to actually sit down and read a book. But it isn't even close to actually reading one.
    If people were given a test on a book - one reading and the other listening - the listener would always come up very short.
    You're so bold to speak for all of us and our testing abilities.

    My best guess is, that might be the case for you. But you insist on projecting your abilities onto the rest of the world as if we are all some sort of out of the box robot.

    Gotcha.

  14. #14
    Creator of Worlds sullivan_riyria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddler View Post
    I can't imagine anyone thinking any audio book could be better than reading one...But it isn't even close to actually reading one.
    If people were given a test on a book - one reading and the other listening - the listener would always come up very short.
    I think this is very much a personal preference. Yes, for you this may be the case, but I think you get into trouble when you paint with such a broad brush. I personally find "an added dimension" when I listen to an audio book. I'm not sure I can say which is "better," but they are both enjoyable.

  15. #15
    I don't like them at all. I think it makes them worse. I want to read stories at my own pace, a much faster natural pace than an audio book, and I want to see the prose and feel the book in my hands.

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