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Furthermore, some people learn better aurally then visually.
And they are a godsend to the blind and visually impaired.
And a lot of them have really talented narrators these days. I agree that the quality of the narration makes a huge difference.
Ditto what lilithcat said about people who learn better by listening than by reading on the page, or who are visually impaired in any way.
I often will have read a book before listening to it on tape, but not always. My main place of listening is on long driving trips. I have found fiction to be the best choice for those times. While driving, I can't afford the attention that non-fiction often demands. I prefer to read most non-fiction anyway.
>1 neopian334: " who wants to sit at a computer or other electronic device for 2 hours listening to someone reading you a book?" The same could be said for ebooks, but I have no issue with them at all. It's not the device that's the problem.
I've worn out my car's CD player and replaced it with a portable DVD player that I can carry back into the house to finish a disk at the end of a drive. It's the same size as a book, and I could theoretically watch film on it too.
You just haven't found the right narrators. Try Katherine Kellgren reading the Bloody Jack series. I had read the first book in print and it was run of the mill. Kellgren made it memorable. Quite an alliance.
Also, I have found a good way to get through some of those classics on my TBR list that sit quietly waiting on my book shelf as I yet again pass them over for a current bestseller from the library or a great find at a booksale. It is from this site LibriVox, and on nights when I finally sit down for the night and decide if I will knit or read, I now can do both on some nights if I am knitting something that doesn't require counting stitches. Win, win situation for me.
All the books there are in the public domain and I am currently listening to A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Lucy Bird. These are not professional readers and anyone can in fact volunteer to be a reader, therefore sometimes it does take awhile to warm up to the voice, but once I overcome the voice (if I can), I find the story takes me in. I think with some books they may have several readers to choose from so if you don't like one, you can maybe find a better one.
Now I sometimes listen to books when my husband is watching TV, so that we can be together but I can drown out the TV. I'm not always able to mentally ignore the TV annoyance when I am reading.
Some narrators make a book worse than it is, but there are some who make the book even better. As far as speed, I listen to most of my books at 2x speed unless the narrator reads quite quickly naturally.
I have time to listen to books when I'm walking the dog, but I don't because I want to pay more attention to the things around me and to my dog. I'm not a fan of listening to books when I'm out and about.
A great fiction was A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore read by the actor Fisher Stevens. So good. AJ Jacobs are good too.
Definitely for commute time. Or while washing dishes for me. Otherwise it's a book for me old fashioned style.
I've tried a couple of times as an adult, but I find it difficult to maintain concentration, and annoying that I have to go at the narrator's pace, not my own.
I'm currently listening to The Idiot. I should be done, say around 2016...
But I do find the experience to involved a different skill set than reading the printed page. I don't have trouble focusing, and don't have trouble remembering significant points, etc. But I do have trouble finding specific sections again when I want them, which does not happen with print because so much of my memory is trained to notice visual cues...where the section is on a page, how far along in the book it occurs, where in the story line it happens. When I wanted to revisit a passage in Mary Renault's The Praise Singer, where Simonides catches his apprentice practicing by writing things down to memorize them, I was able to find it in moments, even though I hadn't picked up the book since high school. But when I wanted to find a section from Barry's book on Roger Williams, where he describes Williams and King Charles...I was stuck. I had listened to the book on audio, was very taken with it, but I ended up buying the hardcover because I couldn't tell where in the book certain things had occurred.
I used to have a stint as a regular book commentator for our public radio station. Four minutes a week to talk about whatever book I wanted. It was marvelous training as both a writer and listener, because you had to be very disciplined: there was no going over the time limit you were allotted, and no chance for your listeners to hit "pause" or "rewind." So you had to say what you wanted to say as succinctly and memorably as possible, and you had to train yourself to listen carefully.
Then no-one wanted a book recorded by the author but it did get me a voluntary job with a talking newspaper so it was worth it.
I have loaned copies to a number of people who prefer to hear books rather than read them, with a good response.
I'll try all ways to get my stories out there ( apart from facebook) and am enjoying the journey!
And future light that is foretold.
For only you can save the flame,
And make the dragon live again.
The narrator makes all the difference. I sometimes shop by narrator rather than author.