Monday, January 22, 2007

Is It Real or Is It Memorex?

I'm one of the lucky ones, at least for the time being, whose daily commute to the office is only 15 minutes each way. For that reason, I've been kind of slow to take advantage of all of the Books on CD that my local library has on offer these days. Fifteen minutes really doesn't allow me enough time to make much progress towards completing one of these "books on tape," and I generally find myself listening to them a bit at home in the evenings just so that I can get them returned on time.

I've even returned three or four of the recorded books before I completed them because they were on the request list of other readers, and finished them up by reading the printed version of the book. What strikes me when I do that is just how different my experience with the printed book is from my experience with the recorded version. I have found that I have much more patience with a book if it is read by a good reader/actor than I would have with the actual book read in my own inner voice. I'm not nearly so likely to give up on a mediocre recorded book as I am to quit on a mediocre printed version of the same book.

I also feel guilty about counting recorded books as "books read" in any given year despite the fact that relatively long hours are needed to finish them. In fact, I suspect that I would read a given book considerably quicker than the time it takes me to more passively listen to it.

These are some of the recorded books that I've listened to this year more because of the reader than for the contents of the books themselves:

The Plot Against America - Philip Roth read by actor Ron Silver

Until I Find You - John Irving, a book that I would have never finished on my own but that was made more interesting by the talents of reader Arthur Morey.

And to really prove my point, a stinker of a book that I suffered through only because it was read by the very talented Lorraine Toussaint:

Fortunate Son - Walter Mosley

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