Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

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ABOUT BOOKS AND READING > Do U use audio books? Why or why not? Any recommendations?

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message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 30, 2009 12:04PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Do you use audio books?
I've made use of audio books in the past and have enjoyed them.

However, my problem with audio books is that my mind wanders and, before I realize it, I've missed a good part of the audio. Then I have to go back and find where I left off. It becomes annoying after a while. Other times I fall asleep while listening. Do this happen to you?

Have you enjoyed any specific audio books? What were they?

One audio book which I found particularly enjoyable was _Alias Grace_ (written by Margaret Atwood) read by Elizabeth McGovern. McGovern lent a suspenseful dramatic flair to the reading which kept me wide-awake listening. She has a beautiful speaking voice and her skills as an actress are in full evidence.
Below is a link to a website where the the audio is sold: ====>
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/dis...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It may also be available at your public library.

Also, below is a link to a topic (here at this group) about downloading free audio books: ====>
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


message 2: by Don (new)

Don (ddonofrio3) | 86 comments I use audio books as well as read the regular way.

I find audio books good to use while working on the computer.

One company that is really good is

www.graphicaudio.net

Their audio books are unabridged but also use sound effects and different actors so it's more like listening to a movie than just listening to a straight reading.


message 3: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Thanks for the link, Don.
I checked the website out and listened to a sample at: ====>
http://www.graphicaudio.net/t-about.aspx

On that page it says:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"GraphicAudio is a unique audio entertainment experience that features a full cast of actors, sound effects and cinematic music."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Don, they seem to be all "thriller" type stories. Is that right?


message 4: by Don (new)

Don (ddonofrio3) | 86 comments They are all thrillers/action and westerns.

That's the areas that GraphicAudio concentrates on.

I also only listen to unabridged audio books. I'm not a fan of abridged versions of anything.


message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Don wrote: "I'm not a fan of abridged versions of anything."

I hear ya, Don. However, I would have missed a beautiful audio, if I hadn't listened to the abridged _Alias Grace_ audio which I mentioned above. I've never forgotten it. That's how good it was... and I'm very good at forgetting things. (g)


message 6: by Regina (new)

Regina (luncrest) | 26 comments I've just started using audio books. I listen to them on my drive to and from work.The first one was "Marley and Me" which was read by the author who did a nice job but now I am listening to "Sleeping Murder" and Agatha Christie novel narrated by Rosemary Leach and what a difference...as you stated Joy she has so much more "dramatic flair" which makes it a much more enjoyable experience. I hope to get a larger mp3 player in the future so that I can download books.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments Like Joy, my mind tends to wander from audio books. The exception is when I'm commuting, like Regina. Then I can pay just enough attention.

Some books are great to listen to on audio book. It's the only way I made it through Ben Franklin's Autobiography & "The Scarlet Letter". Some are just fun, like Jim Dale reading the Harry Potter books. He does the sound effects, accents & such in a wonderful manner. I loved reading the books, but this was almost new. I listened to several of those when I took my son's stuff down to Florida from MD & came back.

Some things I can't listen to on audio book such as lectures by Ayn Rand. I can listen to her fiction & her radio shows, but not her lectures. Too much to think about & missing a word or two can spoil a whole train of thought.

Bad readers can also spoil a book. I've listened to some Libervox recordings that were good, but most aren't to my taste. The readers are volunteers & don't have any voice training. It can be wearing.


message 8: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Regina - Yes, audio books must make your commuting much more pleasant. They are certainly good for folks who spend a lot of time traveling.


message 9: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim - True. Some books lend themselves better to audio than others.

I've listened to audios while traveling and found that to be true. Most of the time Eddie does the driving so I was able to fiddle with the cassettes. My main problem was falling asleep while listening.

Travel time was a good time to see if I would like a book or an author. There was a famous author of westerns (can't think of his name) whose audio book I borrowed from the library, just to try him out. While it was fairly interesting, it wasn't my cup of tea. The writing style didn't appeal to me (too simple) and I don't usually like westerns. So I decided not to read that author.


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments Louis L'Amour or Zane Grey? I like the first the best, but they're about the only two I've read except for Shane, The Virginian & a few others.


message 11: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments That's it, Jim! The audio I tried out in the car was a book by Louis L'Amour. You guessed it right off. Amazing.

I haven't read any of the others you mentioned.

Right now I'm "plowing" through the hardcover book, _The Plague of Doves A Novel_ by Louise Erdrich. It's the selection for Feb. of our local library in-person group. I'm having trouble getting into it. I'll post a topic about it... if I ever get a handle on it.


message 12: by Jackie (last edited Feb 03, 2009 09:51AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 4050 comments I haven't tried audio-books. I don't even like it when someone reads to me aloud. I can read and comprehend faster/better when I'm doing the reading. And I'm notorious for spacing out when people talk. I'm sure I'd have to rewind often, like I do with TV programs. All of a sudden, I'll realize I haven't been paying attention and have no idea what anyone is talking about. Those rewind and fast forward buttons are my little personal miracles, LOL


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments A lot of my audio books are in .mp3 format & I can't rewind a little ways through them. You start over at the beginning of the track. Yuck! I like the cassette ones I have best.


message 14: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I use the rewind feature quite a bit. Can't stand to miss a word. I never thought about the fact the .mp3's can't be rewound.

BTW, what does .mp3 stand for?


message 15: by Don (new)

Don (ddonofrio3) | 86 comments My I-pod can rewind and fast forward mp3s.


message 16: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I have an i-pod, but never use it. My son gave it to me. I know I can listen to music on it, but that's all I know. I don't know much about mp3s.


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments MP3 = MPEG Layer 3, basically a version of MPEG which stands for Moving Pictures Experts Group - just a specific file format.

Some players allow you to go back & forth in an MP3, just not the one in my car.


message 18: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Thanks for the explanation, Jim. I thought MP3's were for sound, not pictures. Why does it say "Moving Pictures Expert Group"? Where does that term come from?

Don't mind me. I'm always curious about meanings and origins. It's an affliction. (lol)


message 19: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments Mp3's can play video too. Often you'll see .mpeg as a file extension, too. There's lots of versions of it out there, but .mp3 & .mp4 are the best known ones now. They do the best compression without losing quality & the .mp4 supports digital rights, too.


message 20: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments So far, I've had only a couple of experiences with MP3 sound recordings used on my computer. Is every sound recording on a CD called an MP3? I still haven't figured out how to find the different sections of an MP3 or CD when used on my computer, e.g., different chapters, etc. I find them by hit or miss. :) I haven't figured out a consistent method, especially after I go back to them after turning them off for a while and trying to pick up where I left off.


message 21: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments A CD is just a storage medium, Joy. CD's can have any kind of file on them, but store bought music CD's are usually in a format called .cda. It's a very large file size so they usually can only fit a dozen songs on a CD, but they're supposed to sound better than a compressed file like .mp3. You can fit a couple of hundred songs on the same CD in .mp3 format. My portable CD/MP3 player in my car will skip back & forth in a file in CDA format, but not in MP3. Since I have a tin ear, I can't say about quality first hand.


message 22: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments So many different devices for listening! Remember the Walkman for cassette recordings? I thought that was a big deal at the time.

Which is better, an I-pod or a portable CD/MP3 player? Eddie knows how to put music on my I-pod. I only know how to listen. But even then, I don't use it very much. Too many gadgets to keep track of.


message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments Personal preference, Joy. I don't play with such gadgets although my kids do. My daughter likes her iPod. I do recall the Walkman.

For playing music, I use the computer or, in the shop, I have my wife's old car stereo. It allows me to plug in a 4 gb thumbdrive with lots of mp3 music on it. I'd get a regular stereo for that, but they're way expensive ($1500) before you get the USB input, while a car stereo that does it is only $100. I have no idea why.


message 24: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Amazing, Jim. That's huge difference in price.
What's a thumbdrive?


message 25: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments A thumb drive is a USB drive for portable storage. Go here for an explanation:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-thu...
or here to see some on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/tag/thumb%20drive


message 26: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "A thumb drive is a USB drive for portable storage. Go here for an explanation:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-thu...
or here to see some on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/tag/thumb%20drive"


Thanks for the links, Jim. One of them says:

"A thumb drive is portable memory storage. It is re-writeable and holds its memory without a power supply, unlike RAM. Thumb drives will fit into any USB port on a computer. They will also "hot swap," which means a user can plug the drive into a computer and will not have to restart it to access the thumb drive. The drives are small, about the size of a human thumb - hence, their name..."

Well, that gives me an idea of what a thumbdrive is. I find that unless I actually use a device, it remains a mystery to me.

I never understood the expression "external drive" until our boys gave us one for Christmas. One of our sons nicknamed it the "Piggy" for some reason and that's what we call it now. We back-up our files on it. It's a piggy because is holds a lot. (g)

We also have an external drive we call "Mother Ship". LOL It's supposed to take the place of the Piggy. (g) But "Piggy" is so much easier to say when we're talking.

Piggy and Mother Ship sit on the floor and wait for our stuff to be sent to them by wireless. Is this a miracle world or isn't it! :)


message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments I have a couple of 500gb external drives at home for backup & storage, too. Pictures are taking up a ton of room now. My camera will often take them at 3mb/picture & it's easy to snap 100 at a time. I'm not always great about cleaning them up, either.

I carry a couple of 4gb thumbdrives in my pocket. One has miscellaneous files on it that I update at home or at work. The other has music & such on it. I can plug it in at the shop or my wife's truck to listen to my favorite songs.

Transporting files means they can get out of sync, so I use a free tool from Microsoft called SyncToy. You set it to a directory on 2 drives & can keep the files sync'd in several different ways. Very handy.

It's amazing to me that we have so much memory. When I first started playing with computers about 25 years ago, 16Kb was the big expansion pack of memory for the Timex Sinclair computer & programs were added via a reel to reel recorder. (Lunar Lander!)

My Atari had 128Kb of RAM, but the old CPU, a 6502C (same as in the Commodor) could only 'see' 64Kb at a time & ran at 1.6MHz. My first IBM had 2mb of RAM (SIPPs) in the early 90's.

Think of all the 0's that have been added on since then!!!


message 28: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Yes, it is amazing to think of how much more storage space we have nowadays. Our first external drive was 250 gbs. Our new external drive holds 1000 gbs. I'm getting these numbers from Eddie. I never even knew to ask about storage space. I learn something new every day! LOL

Eddie reduces my pics for me. So each one is less than 1 mb.


message 29: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments I keep the pics full size because I often crop them or cut out pieces. I have some wonderful pics of hummingbirds taken that way. When I email them or post them on the web, I reduce their size, then delete them.

One of the neatest things is the photo frame I got for Mom. She won't touch a computer, but I bought the frame & have 2 - 512mb SD memory cards. They're so small that we can swap them through a regular envelope in the mail. Makes it easy to let her see what's going on.


message 30: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I've often thought of the uses we might want to make of our unreduced photos. My son just sent me a link for a program online which is like Photoshop, but it's free. It's called the Gimp. Here's the link: ====>
http://gimp.org/

What photo program do you use, Jim?

Our kids gave us a digital photo frame like the one you mentioned. It's brand is "Sunpak",
12.1 inch. I don't know how to use it but Eddie does. He puts it on and lets the slide show go automatically. Good idea for your mom. I didn't even know ours used a memory card. I really should learn more about it.


message 31: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments I have Gimp, but for cutting pieces of photos out & changing their size, I use Irfanview. http://www.irfanview.com/

It is so simple, small & handy. It has a batch converter so you can add some or all files in a directory & change their file type, size or do other stuff. You can view, clip or rotate photos with a click or key. I've been using it for years & both companies I've worked for use it too, now. Everyone is amazed at how easy it is, yet powerful.


message 32: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "I have Gimp, but for cutting pieces of photos out & changing their size, I use Irfanview. http://www.irfanview.com/
It is so simple, small & handy. It has a batch converter so you can add some o..."


Is irfanview.com free?


message 33: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6159 comments Yes. Make sure to get the extra plug-ins too, a separate download.


message 34: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 11, 2009 08:27AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments OK, thanks for the heads-up, Jim. I'll do the downloading it sooner or later. This sort of thing has been in the back of my mind for a while. Another challenge!


message 35: by Mike (new)

Mike I occasionally listen to audio books on road trips, but mostly I prefer to read actual print books. There's just something about it. I do however, listen to old radio shows, "The Six Shooter" for example, on my iPod, along with many varieties of music and assorted podcasts. I've always been a fan of portable entertainment, from the old Walkman days through current technology.


message 36: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Mike wrote: "I occasionally listen to audio books on road trips, but mostly I prefer to read actual print books. There's just something about it. I do however, listen to old radio shows, "The Six Shooter" for e..."

"Portable entertainment". I like that expression!

I too love old radio shows. But not Westerns. How about "The Bickersons"! LOL
And the old Jack Benny shows. Also: Bergen & McCarthy; Abbot & Costello; Fanny Brice; and W.C. Fields. And I can't forget "Let's Pretend". I have them all on cassettes.

I should dig them out and re-listen to them one of these days.


message 37: by John (new)

John | 1 comments I actually prefer reading a hard copy book. The feeling of the paper between my fingers, the allowance to take a break. These are the reasons why I prefer the old way.

I do however, love to listen to audio books in the car with my family. I got through the entire Harry potter series driving back and forth to visit family.

They both have their advantages and dis-advantages.

Thanks it was a good read.


message 38: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Mar 26, 2009 08:05PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments John wrote: "I actually prefer reading a hard copy book. The feeling of the paper between my fingers, the allowance to take a break. These are the reasons why I prefer the old way.
I do however, love to listen..."


Hi John! Welcome to the group. Nice to see you here.

I feel the way you do. I prefer a hard copy book for the same reasons.

Hope to hear more from you here at the group.


message 39: by Ben (new)

Ben | 1 comments For those that use audio books, I suggest that you have a look at the audiobook technology company that I came across several months back (Audio Pod). Their whole process of 'doing audiobooks' revolves around the concept of 'drag and drop' book covers. You can drag from the web library to the audiobook player or pod loader, bookmarks, table of contents and email messages. Some of the audiobooks have illustrations that my kids love. But the best part is the automatic bookmarks that keep track of where you are and you can even get at them from anywhere in the internet. The bookmarking stuff allows us to have multiple open books, without colliding with any other open books being used by my family. I have been using the service for a couple of months now and have never had to do any kind of resource or content management. It has been free while they are testing, but they are changing over to paid service on April 1. These features have eliminated a lot of the problems that I used to have with audiobooks.

These guys are also building an online library of audiobooks. I found the 'Bloody Jack' series by L.A. Meyer in there. The narration is excellent. I think one or two of the books in the series have won Audie awards, but I am not sure which. I also came across the entire 'Sherlock Holmes' collection read by John Telfer; I think the best versions I have ever listened to.



message 40: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Hi Ben! Welcome to the group.
Thank you for the information.

I googled and I think I found some links to "Audio Pod". See them below: ====>
http://www.audiopod.ca/audiopod/servl...
http://www.audiopod.ca/audiopod/servl...


message 41: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Apr 05, 2009 04:57AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Our son gave me the audio version (on CDs) of the book, _Pontoon A Lake Wobegon Novel_ by Garrison Keillor.
Garrison Keillor ---> Pontoon A Lake Wobegon Novel by Garrison Keillor

This audio version of _PONTOON_ is priceless! I'm really enjoying it. Garrison Keillor's dry delivery makes the story so funny that I doubt if reading the book could be more amusing.

Keillor's character development is delightful. His description of each character's outlook on life brought smiles to my face... even as I was riding in the car. As I listened, I recognized some of my own ideas on life and that made it all the more fun.

Although I tend to avoid audio versions because my mind wanders, Garrison Keillor keeps my attention at all times. Coming from me, that is a great recommendation!

I listen to the CD while I'm riding in the car. I can't wait to get into the car to hear more of the story.


message 42: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments THIS IS A DUPLICATE OF MESSAGE #775 WHICH I JUST POSTED OUR GENERAL READING TOPIC AT: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...
===================================================
In between reading my hard copy books, I relax with various audio books which I borrow from our library. My current one is an audio disk of _ Midnight Bayou _ by Nora Roberts. Lo and behold, it's turning out to be a ghost story! Ghost stories are not my usual fare, but I've been pulled in by this one.

BTW, I often use audio books to help put me to sleep at night. While listening, my mind is distracted from ruminating over everyday worries. As it relaxes, I drift off to sleep. The only drawback is going back to find the place on the disc where I drifted off. Since the bands are numbered, I can usually skim through and find the place I left off. I'm getting better at doing that. :)

I would say that one of the things I don't like about the particular writing style on this audio is the overabundance of uninteresting description. I'm not sure what makes some descriptions boring and other descriptions interesting. All I know is that when the description is boring, I suspect that it's there merely as filler, to give the book more pages. At least it gets me to sleep! :)


message 43: by Linda (new)

Linda (goodreadscomlinda_p) | 1163 comments When I'm driving I enjoy listening to an audiobook - beats listening to some of the junk on the radio (other than NPR, which is great).

The library offers free downloads of audio books which I transfer to my Zen (an MP3) and listen to in the car (plug into radio). The library changed their audio books provider which means additional changes such as: with certain books only 3 people can download during the same time period and books available are limited.

Out of the blue I selected "The Friday Night Knitting Club" by Kate Jacobs. When selecting an audio book one of my main concerns is the voice of the narrator. I listened to a "preview" or in this case an "audioview" (if there is such a word), and the voice was satisfactory to me.

Another consideration when selecting an audio book is for the story not to be very involved, needs to be on the light side....otherwise may impact my driving!!!

Anyone have some good "light" audio books to recommend? I'm going to check the library to see if they have Garrison Keillor, with their new provider, I'm doubtful....



message 44: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Linda wrote: "... Another consideration when selecting an audio book is for the story not to be very involved, needs to be on the light side....otherwise may impact my driving!!! ..."

I agree with you, Linda. I have found that after constantly listening to audio books while riding in the car, it was almost a relief to ride along in silence for a change. The mind has to work to concentrate on an audio book just as much as it has to concentrate while reading hard copy books. Concentration is work! :)


message 45: by Jen (new)

Jen (nekokitty) | 182 comments I totally use them! I like to use them during my commute to work. The narrator has to be engaging though, otherwise I find myself realizing that I've gotten to work, but have no idea what happened in the story that I was just listening to. The book needs to be light hearted as a general rule, but the most important factor is a narrator that doesn't just blend in to the background.

Audio books don't replace reading it for me, but it's a nice way to be able to "read" books that I might not otherwise find the time to read.


message 46: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jenni wrote: "... Audio books don't replace reading it for me, but it's a nice way to be able to "read" books that I might not otherwise find the time to read."

That's exactly how I feel, Jenni.


message 47: by Linda (new)

Linda (goodreadscomlinda_p) | 1163 comments Agree with Joy and Jenni - there is nothing like sitting down in a cozy place reading a book.

I enjoy the whole process...going to the library, touching books, eyeing the covers, reading the inside and back covers, and bringing my selections home.



message 48: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Linda wrote: "Agree with Joy and Jenni - there is nothing like sitting down in a cozy place reading a book. I enjoy the whole process...going to the library, touching books, eyeing the covers, reading the i..."

To me, going to the library is like going to a candy store. Each book I choose fills me with great expectations... something to look forward to.


message 49: by Jen (new)

Jen (nekokitty) | 182 comments Exactly Joy and Linda! :)

I know that I've said this before, but some awesome audio books are:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Book Thief
A Thousand Splendid Suns
The Secret Life of Bees

I haven't listened to it myself, but I've heard from a very close friend that Lian Hearn's Tale of the Otori series is awesome in audio. I've read the books, and I really do love them.

I haven't listened to an audio book for at least a month now, and I'm really ready to dive into one. I wonder what I should pick...


message 50: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Oct 23, 2009 08:33PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jenni wrote: "Exactly Joy and Linda! :)
I know that I've said this before, but some awesome audio books are:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Book Thief ..."


Thanks for the recommendations, Jenni. _The Book Thief_ is among the books I'm currently reading.


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