Monday Musing: Audiobooks

In this week’s musing MizB asks’¦

Do you listen to audiobooks? If not, why not? And, if so, what has been one of your favorites, so far?

I rarely listen to audiobooks, mainly because I prefer to read and ‘hear’ the characters in my head for myself. Listening to a book being read is similar to watching a film version (which often disappoints me), although in an unabridged audiobook all the author’s words are there, but with the narrator’s version of the characters’ voices. Sometimes the narrator’s voice is so irritating or the performance of a regional accent is poor so that it spoils the performance and the story for me.

I also find that my mind wanders, particularly if I’m driving or even when I’m a passenger in the car, and I miss sections. I think the most enjoyable audiobook I’ve listened to is Simisola by Ruth Rendell, narrated by Christopher Ravenscroft, who played D I Mike Burden in the TV adaptations of Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford series. It helped that I’d watched the Wexford series and knew the plot of Simisola. Ravenscroft’s imitation of George Baker’s voice as Wexford was quite good! But even so, I had to rewind it several times to fill in the missing parts when I’d been concentrating on driving.

Somehow listening to a book when I’m at home doesn’t appeal – I’d rather read.

Monday Musing

MizB’s question this week for Musing Mondays is:

Other than working at a job, what is your biggest interruption to reading? What takes you away from your book(s)?

As I’m retired in theory I should have more time for reading. In practice, though, I don’t read more now than I did then and the things that take me away from reading are just the same as before – family, friends and hobbies, such as painting, visiting places and generally – life.

Blogging, of course, is one of those things, so I’m finishing off this post – it’s time to read!

Musing Mondays: e-reading

This week’s musing asks’¦

What devices ‘“if any’“ do you read books on? Do you find it enjoyable, or still somewhat bothersome? Or: If you only read the print books, why haven’t you chosen to read on any devices?

I’ve had a Kindle for about a year now and have read several books on it. I’ve got more used to it now and don’t find it a bothersome way to read books. It’s just another way of reading, although with some disadvantages, as I still like the experience of reading a print book. I like the feel of a book, being able to flip over the pages easily, going backwards and forwards in the text, and looking at the cover and any illustrations – in colour.

But, I’m finding it easier and easier to read on my Kindle and that’s because I can enlarge the font, which makes it much easier to read in bed. My Kindle has its own light which makes it even better for reading in bed, or in poor light anywhere. I’ve picked up several print books recently and struggled to read them, because of the very small font – they would be much easier to read on a Kindle! Another bonus is the weight. For example, this month I’ve read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins on my Kindle – this in a print book is around 700+ pages, making it a heavy and awkward book to read, but a doddle on the Kindle, no heavier or fatter than the slimmest paperback!

I also like the speed you can get a book – instantly, no more waiting for it to arrive in the post. This, of course, can also be a disadvantage, encouraging me to buy more books, but so far, I’ve been very strict with myself and the majority of books I’ve acquired have been free – another plus!

A Book Meme

Musing Mondays from Should Be Reading is here on Tuesday this week!

This week’s musing is’¦ a book meme!
What was the last book you’¦

‘¢ borrowed from the library? 
‘¢ bought? 
‘¢ cried over?
  • I don’t often cry over books, I can’t remember the last one.
‘¢ disliked and couldn’t finish?
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – I think I’ve given up on this one after trying to read it three times. What am I missing?
‘¢ read & loved?
‘¢ got for review? (or: got in the mail?)
‘¢ gave to someone else?
  • I gave a pile of books to the book stall at my local hospital – can’t remember the titles.
‘¢ stayed up too late reading?
  • Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates – I fell asleep reading this book for many nights.

Character versus Plot – Musing Mondays

This week’s musing from Miz B at Should Be Reading asks’¦

Do you prefer character-driven stories, or plot-driven stories?

I can’t chose, because for me a book has to have both well-defined characters and a good plot.  I prefer to have a balanced book which is both character and plot-driven.

There’s not much left to say really, but I suppose that I couldn’t believe in a plot-driven story without well-defined characters, so maybe I would prefer character-driven stories. For example, not a lot happens in One Fine Day by Molly Panter Downes, and I loved it.  But then it’s a psychological novel, being more about mind than action, about the pleasures and tragedies in life and there is plenty of reflection in it about sociological and cultural changes.

Monday Musing

This week’s musing is:

What’s your favorite ‘cozy’ book €” and, by that, I’m meaning ‘curl-up-on-a-cold-day comfort read‘? Or, if you don’t have a particular book, what genre do you most feel like reading when the weather starts to turn colder?

For me it’s a ‘curl-up-on-a-rainy-day’ rather than a cold day. As a child on rainy days I used to love sitting inside watching the raindrops running down the window, curled up in front of an open fire with a book to read. Usually it was an Enid Blyton book – Mallory Towers for example, or one of the Heidi books, or What Katy Did. Over the years I read these many times.

These days, on rainy days I like to read a book such as One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes, a nostalgic look at England just after the Second World War. Anything that transports me to another world is good. It may be a book I’ve read and enjoyed before such as Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes, which would whisk me off to sunny Italy. It’s nothing like the film they made of it – the book is much better. Or it could be historical fiction such as this one I’ve been looking forward to reading for ages, Helen of Troy by Margaret George.

Musing Mondays – Distractions

from Should Be Reading by MizB

This week’s musing asks…

Can you read amidst distractions? (tv, others talking, sporting events, etc)

I used to be able to read through most things. When I was at school I had to do my homework downstairs in the winter – my bedroom was too cold (no central heating) and as my grandparents lived with us and had the front room I had to do my homework with the rest of the family who were watching TV and talking. It never bothered me. I used to lie on the floor reading or writing, oblivious to the noise all round me. My sister could be chattering, playing the piano and generally messing about and I was still absorbed in a book. I used to walk around reading and could read anywhere.

But these days the sound level can affect me. I can read with the TV on, but the sound level has to be just right – too high or too low can be a distraction - but a programme that interests me can intrude sometimes. Music is great for reading by, I rarely hear it. I can read in waiting rooms, but people sitting next to me talking loudly (both the old and the young can do that) can be distracting. And children playing are very distracting. I was waiting in the hospital for my husband recently and a small girl was playing very quietly on a little rocking horse, well she was quiet but the rocking horse wasn’t and it kept moving nearer and nearer to my feet.

So, I do read with noise all round me and it’s not distracting if it’s just background noise, but anything more and I can’t do it.