One of the podcasts I listen to regularly, and have done for many years, is TWiT. To give it the full name is it “This Week in Tech”. When TWiT first started—which would have been about five or so years ago by my estimates— it was only available as an audio podcast, but now Leo Laporte has grown the TWiT branding significantly and all of the ‘shows’ are now high-quality professionally produced videocasts.
Leo has a number of regular advertisers and one of them is Audible. Audible specialise in audio books—books that are read for you.
The Audible books are not ‘just’ read books. They are not machine read as when you have the Kindle Reader ‘read’ a book to you, and they are not monotone robotic readings by someone disconnected from the story. They are mostly read by voice actors who, in many cases, go into character as they read. With some books, such as the inspirational style books by Michael J. Fox, they are read by the authors themselves.
Well TWiT has a deal whereby you can join up for a month and get two Audible books free that you can keep even if you decide not to proceed with your Audible membership. I have often been going to try this out. My thinking being that I could listen to—or ‘read’ as they put it—books while I am driving down to my work. Then I could also ‘read’ some more while alone in my motel and as I try to go to sleep.
As it is a two hour drive down on the Monday and then another two hours coming back on the Thursday, and I have many hours to burn while at the motel, I would be able to do a lot of Audible ‘reading’.
Well I finally signed up and got my two free books. I got “Game of Thrones”, which is book one of the seven books in the Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin (often just written as GRRM by his fans), and I got “Name of the Wind” which is the first book from the Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss.
So far I have only tried listening to—I mean ‘reading’—Game of Thrones. I have to say after about an hour of reading this Audible book I sort of gave up. It just was not working for me. I could not latch onto the characters or get into the story. I think a big part of the problem was that I have seen the TV series and the book is not the same as the series. The big picture story is the same but the detail is different. Because of this I found listening, darn it, I mean ‘reading’, this book was not satisfying; in fact it became frustrating. Listening to the book I am envisioning the series and trying to match up characters.
So I have sort of given up on ‘reading’ Game of Thrones. In retrospect I probably should have got the second book and ‘read’ that before the series of that kicks-off in April.
So my plan now, on my next trip down to work in the morning, is to try Name of the Wind. They gave this a big build up on TWiT. Trey Ratcliff said it might well be just about the best written book he has ever read and that the author has a style and method beyond anything else he had read. So that is a pretty big rap from Trey.
In the case of Name of the Wind I have not seen the TV series—because (as far as I know) there isn’t one. This should be a better test of how Audible books work out for me.
I will let you know how this goes.