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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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A Roll of the Dice: Audio Versus Visual


Azeryn

Greeting all! It is Thursday again meaning it is time for another installment of the Rotating Features blog! The dice have been been tossed and the featured topic has been chosen.

 

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Audiobooks can be a touchy subjects in some literary circles; some despise them, some love them, and others have no experience with them. At one point in time or another I have been of all three of these opinions, thus I would love to pass on some of the pros and cons to you on audiobooks.

 

I was ten years old the first time I saw an audiobook; it was a dozen cassette tapes kept in a large cumbersome case. Luckily technology brought us the MP3 and now entire books can be carried on almost any mobile device. This expands the situations in which an audiobook may actually be preferable to a physical book.

 

One obvious example is while driving. Regardless of who you are, reading while driving will eventually lead to very bad things. The first time I truly gave audiobooks a chance was in 2011 when I was traveling to and from Atlanta each weekend for work. This was a seven hour commute and I found listening to my favorite series really made time fly by. Prior to this I would listen to music, typically leading me to either taking my eyes off the road as I would fiddle with my phone to pick the next song or start speeding. I had no such issues with the audiobooks.

 

I also find audiobooks more practical when exercising. Whether lifting weights, running, riding a bike, or just doing calisthenics, I am almost always listening to an audiobook. Again my old vice was music, but I have found myself being able to do more when listening to audiobooks. With music I subconsciously let the beat dictate my pace; with audiobooks I find myself doing more reps and running longer distances. Although when running my timed mile and a half, nothing but fast paced music for me, thank you!

 

The last situation I find audiobooks being a better option is when you have already seen the movie or television series based on books. I am simply unable to read the book if I have already seen the movie or series; however, I have found I can listen to it. These scenarios have led to me frequently listening to audio books. I still enjoy music, but I find myself listening to more audiobooks when doing thinks like cooking Thanksgiving dinner, or as I call it “marathon cooking,” as well as when fishing. Any time I am going to be gone for more than 30 minutes and I am unable to read a book, I am normally listening to one; however, there are some problems when it comes to audiobooks as well.

 

The first problem with is someone is reading the book to you. It eliminates some of your own imaginative processes to the book. While reading A Memory of Light, in my mind the characters still expressed the same voices from the audiobooks as opposed to the voices my mind originally created for each character back when I read The Eye of the World.

 

Another issue is gender. In every audiobook I have listened to there are times when a male is forced to read female voicing or vice versa. While many do an admirable job of this, it can also be quite laughable at times. On a similar note, not all words in the book are pronounced correctly. This problem is most common among character or place names, even when the book has an index with proper pronunciations.

 

Lastly, nothing can truly replace a book. I love the experience of grabbing a book for the first time! The feel of the bound pages and the actual smell of the book cannot be replaced. Nor can the enjoyment I get from sitting in a comfy spot reading while eagerly page turning through a few chapters. My personal rule is to not listen to a book if it is one I plan on reading. I always read the book first and listen later, unless I have seen the movie, or TV series first.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article on audiobooks. Please let me know what your thoughts on the topic or if there is a topic you feel should be covered in a future Rotating Features blog. After all, it is all about the Dragonmount community and what you want, not just what I think is cool! Until next week this is Azeryn signing off to going to sew discord on some unsuspecting bird people!

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I have pretty much switched to listening to Audio books. I do not really know why, but I find that I absorb the information and understand what is happening when I listen rather than read. I think it has a lot to do with my very short attention span. When I decide to read, I have to lock myself away in a dark corner where there is no sound, otherwise i get distracted very easily. With audio books, I can multitask a little more and still understand what is happening in the story. Maybe it is because I am from a more digital age and did not start really reading until I as older, but the thought of a book in my hands does not appeal to me as it does to most, I have read a majority of my books on e-readers...so maybe that is part of it.

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I've always enjoyed the audiobooks. Besides being able to move about freely while listening I also think when it is well done it can be a better experience then reading it. Michael Kraemer and Kate Reading do an extremely good job they make very few pronunciation or intonation mistakes. They have given me the voices I imagine especially the tone that Kraemer gives to Loial and the imperious tone Reading gives to the Aes Sedai.

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One of the thing I love about the way They read The Wheel of Time is different characters pronounce thing differently. It adds a very realistic tone to the reading. I think there are 5 different ways they pronounce Demandred!

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Pronunciations can be annoying if someone says something incorrectly. James Marsters is an excellent reader for The Dresden Files, but his readings of mundane, ordinary words can be totally off the wall sometimes.

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