Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Week #10

What am I going to do with my new mp3 player? Play mp3s on it.

But seriously, folks, I already have the giant 80G video iPod, so I think I might use this smaller one when I go to the gym... or maybe I'll put one of those audiobooks I'm supposed to download on it and listen to it on that.

Speaking of which, I think I'm going download the book, The Dork of Cork by Chet Raymo. When I first looked at it I thought it would be a book about wine, perhaps something like that movie (and book) Sideways (which I loved), but it turns out that Cork is a town in Ireland. But I'm going to listen to it anyway and see how it goes.

Speaking of which, I don't know about any of you, but as convenient as an audiobook is, isn't part of the enjoyment of reading is the actual process of reading? Writing isn't performance art. The artistry is in the text. And part of the contract the writer makes with his or her audience is that they are allowed to make their own leaps of imagination from the text. If you are listening to an audiobook, then you are hearing an actor's performance of it, which may be great or less than great, but I think that removes a bit of the authorship from, well, the actual author. If you hear a different actor performing the audiobook, then wouldn't that inherently change your reaction to the book? To me that answer seems obvious.

Stephen King, in a recent op-ed column in Entertainment Weekly suggested the opposite, that all books should be heard, rather than read. He says that its all storytelling, emphasizing the "telling" part and that so much of that storytelling history is oral anyway. In fact many authors themselves travel around the country and world doing readings of their books, so I can understand King's point-of-view.

All-in-all, I don't have anything against audiobooks per se, but I'm just wondering what, if anything, gets compromised--or even improved--in the change in medium. But I'm still going to listen to The Dork of Cork.