Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

oh, yes–please read me a story…

Over the past couple of years I’ve been fortunate to journey with some of the more elite and talented thespians of this age.  The likes of Jeremy Irons, Cherry Jones, Jessica Tandy, and Sissy Spacek have kept me company on my long travels and daily commute.  They have challenged me, enlightened me, and entertained me.  And I showed my appreciation by never interrupting them as they spoke.

“Read me a story.” These words are among the first requests we have as a child once we figure out language.  Somewhere between infancy and childhood the request to be read to drops to the wayside–maybe it’s seen as being rather babyish, since, after all we have learned to read books on our own. Yet, I never tire of having a book read to me.  I especially have learned that while I need to read, I’m not very good at juggling the reading of more than one book unless one of them is an audio book.  I am hooked on audio books.

Audiobook Collection

Audiobook Collection (Photo credit: C.O.D. Library)

I’ve been listening to audio books since they became available on cassettes all those years ago.  Sometimes the dratted tapes would fuss up and I’d lose part of the story. Aggravating. Then came CDs, (much better thank you–although occasional scratching causes blips and hiccups–so annoying).  Now there are websites, Ipods, and Playaways, where all that is needed are a set of headphones.

There is nothing like having a good story read out loud on a long, solitary car trip.  As I prepare for my trip I gleefully check out several audio books from my lovely neighborhood library and perch them on my passenger seat as my companions.  Most books play any from seven to fourteen hours. Great for those long hauls.  I’ve been known to stay in my car to listen to the last of the story even after arriving at my destination.

The downside to audio books is due to their very nature of interactive reading–once started as an audio book, it’s difficult to finish it by traditional eye-to-page.  I made that mistake with The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Coming home I was about halfway through listening to the book and decided to finish reading it via my checked out library book. What better way to spend the remaining sunny summer afternoon?  However, as emotionally involved as I got with the story, due to the excellent voice of Cherry Jones, I couldn’t sufficiently feel the proper grief when * SPOILER ALERT* I read of Singer’s demise. It didn’t register at all.

Lately, I’ve taken to listening to audio books on my short commute to work.  It helps get more reading done, since I get tired of listening to music.  Except I have run into a bothersome problem. My last audio book still resonates with me and I am having a difficult time moving on to checking out my next selection.  How can I possibly find a better reading than what Jeremy Irons did in The Alchemist?  I may have to go back to listening to music for a while. I even tried to recapture the glorious reading by checking out both library copies which are wonderfully  illustrated.  Nope,  wasn’t the same thing as listening to Jeremy’s sonorous tones.  I may even be spoiled for the movie they keep saying will eventually be made.

What is your favorite audio book?  Is it just me, or is there really something about having someone read you a story?

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9 thoughts on “oh, yes–please read me a story…

  1. I love Jeremy Iron’s reading of ‘Lolita’ (Iron’s reading of anything, in fact, is wonderful – he’s great at reading aloud, I agree).

  2. I have the Chronicles of Narnia on audio. Each book is read by a different reader: Patrick Stewart, Michael York, Kenneth Branaugh, Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Northam and Lynn Redgrave. It’s so nice to just sit back and relax.

    • cricketmuse on said:

      Now that would be so much fun! I tried to listen to The Hobbit and couldn’t stand the treacly background music. I hope to find another version. I think it sounds better read than actually trying to read it.

      • Literary Tiger on said:

        I hear that. I tried reading the Hobbit and I stopped. I still have to finish it.

        You were talking of Jeremy Irons earlier. I have an audio book of him reading James and the Giant Peach.

  3. I have a long commute, so audiobooks are sort of a way of life for me.

    • cricketmuse on said:

      I’ve got a shorty commute, but just long enough to get a dose of story in. I’m trying to find another read, and having a tough time. Looking for a Hobbit that isn’t too sacchrine in the telling.

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