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Here we talk about other things. > The difference between audio and visual reading

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message 1: by Garret (new)

Garret (garretldavis) | 93 comments Though there is a reason I will not be reading The Martian for quite a while, I did briefly glance through the discussion and noticed the elements of the audio books that will not be the same for my own reading. Jordan had noted points in the book where the character(s) was(were) yelling, and how it detracted from the experience to a degree. I find this interesting for a couple reasons. One, as I will be physically reading each of these books, it is up to my own imagination and even my own mood/intrinsic attitude to create the levels of emotion during dialogue (be it external between characters or inner dialogue of thoughts and reflections). This is interesting to me because when reading, the author has little say as to how the reader will interpret those lines, but can only hope to convey the level of emotion through the context of each scenario and the character development done thus far in a story. Two, this made me ask the question of myself that I also present to you: how does a narrator in an audio book (or cast, as they sometimes will do) know which inflections or emotions to put forth in those circumstances? I'm sure there is direction given, but how much say does an author have with his/her own work when it is being translated to audio format? I would assume the author still maintains the rights to the work as a whole, unlike the distortion that occurs in many filmed adaptations. I'm assuming it depends on the author themselves and the level of involvement they want or are even allowed by the company publishing the audio format, but I have no idea for 100% accuracy. I have listened to very few audio books, personally: one was by Brian "Head" Welch, which was read by himself from his autobiography, so that essentially eliminates the questions of emotion in reading; the second was a novel read by Scott Brick ("It's Superman," by Tome De Haven), which was much better physically read than listened to because of Brick's lack of emotion throughout the entire novel. There were moments I was so confused by dialogue because many of his characters - male and female both - that sounded exactly the same even while he was attempting to show different voices.

To those who have listened to many audio books: can/do the narrators detract from a novel that was written well overall simply through such distractions in narration and dialogue? Are there instances that are the opposite of that, where you would have liked reading the book much less than the experience of listening (this would be aimed at content-specific and not the mood you were in or how busy you were with other life events)? Or, do you feel that they truly do equal out to about the same at the end of the story?


message 2: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 240 comments Mod
In recent memory two books that really worked as Audiobooks were Dune and Joyland. I enjoyed Joyland as a book and as an audiobook. The story and all that was great, but the audiobook stands out above most for me because the narrator did a great job. It improved an already good experience.

Dune, on the other hand, was not one of my favorite books. Since we have a policy of keeping the discussion of the book in it's own thread I won't go into detail, but suffice to say I didn't find myself as eager to pick that book up, or in this case hit play. However, the narrator of Dune was the highlight for me. The voices were good, I could clearly tell character from character, the emotions felt real, and to be hones't it kept me interested enough to finish.

There have been audiobooks I wanted to listen to but turned off because I disliked the voice of the narrator, his/her style, etc.

I think they are two unique experiences. I got halfway through Imajica in both formats. Once on the Kindle and once as an audiobook. I made it further in the audiobook, but it was not fated to be at that time. Having done both I found the transition from Kindle to Audiobook a little jarring. People reacted differently and the emotions weren't quite right. I quickly got into the flow, however.


message 3: by Garret (new)

Garret (garretldavis) | 93 comments I think that's interesting on the points made, especially about Dune (which I will not go into detail about, either) and Imajica. I think a lot can be said about style with both formats. Recently having finished Pines, I found myself loving the story but having a difficulty with the actual writing style - having wanted to e-mail Blake Crouch and ask him if I could edit his already-published work. The comment about the narrators placing strain within the same vein makes sense, and it can detract from a wonderful work in just the same way, but can also - as you stated - enhance a perceived mediocre work. Interesting.


message 4: by Jordan (new)

Jordan | 240 comments Mod
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is read by the Gaiman himself and he does a fantastic job. If anyone is considering getting into the audiobook thing this would be a great one to check out.


message 5: by Tye (new)

Tye (exjuan_valdez) I am currently listening to the audiobook version of John Dies at the End. So far it's been a good experience. It's nice for when i walk to work/around town. I found it helps me get in a groove if i listen to it, through one ear bud, while i am doing freight at work. I listened to The Martian in the same manner. I like to think that the narrator is responsible for ~45%-60% of my enjoyment of the audiobook. The remainder falling to the actual story. This does not apply to actual reading.


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