Audiobooks: An experiment update

Last week I wrote about experimenting with listening to audio books while riding on the trainer. My update is that I haven’t actually conducted the experiment yet; fortunately for me, the weather has been good enough that I could ride outside — yesterday, for example, I rode outside for two hours and although my toes were a bit cold when I returned, I did fine.

I have been listening to my chosen audio book, however, Jacqueline Winspear’s Pardonable Lies: A Maisie Dobbs Novel; I’ve just been doing it in the car. I’ve got a half hour commute to work, and while I usually listen to NPR to keep up with the news, I was so excited about the novel that I decided to listen to it right away.

I used to listen to audio books all the time, back when I had a really horrendous commute of 1 1/2 hours. They were what kept me going; I could only listen to NPR for so long before the stories started to repeat and I started to go crazy. Listening to Winspear’s book now, I’m reminded of how much I like listening to audio books, and how I missed listening to them after we moved and I didn’t have as much time for them anymore (although I definitely did not miss that long commute). For most of the books I listened to, I liked the reader — which is crucial in an audio book — and I felt like the reader became a character him or herself, one that I could get to know a bit. I found myself responding much more emotionally to an audio book than to a regular book. Sometimes I’d be crying as I drove down the highway. I wonder if anybody ever noticed. I’m not sure what this means, exactly. Is my reading with a regular book detached and more cerebral somehow? There’s something about a real voice telling a story that makes it seem intimate and very real.

The reader for the Maisie Dobbs novel is great; I love her voice and it’s fun listening to her do different British accents. For all I know she may be butchering some of them, but it all sounds good to these American ears.

And I’m enjoying the novel too. I don’t read mysteries all that often, and now I’m wondering why. Luckily, all I have to do is check out Danielle’s post over here to find a whole bunch of them that look good. I’ll write in more detail about the novel when I’ve finished it, but so far, I like the main character a lot, and I’m interested in the time period — it’s set in 1930 and it deals with the aftermath of World War I. One of Maisie’s assignments is to investigate the deaths of two British soldiers in France in the war. And it’s got an element of eastern mysticism and philosophy that’s intriguing. More on that later.

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