Monday, August 28, 2006

Books on Tape

I downloaded Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson for my driving extravaganza (driving my new car home) on Wednesday. I must say the selection of audio books has greatly improved in the last few years. I could have downloaded from 3 or 4 places and each of the 3 or 4 places had a tremendous selection. Not long ago, I would have had to order tapes or CD and wait for them to arrive. Then I would have had the tapes sitting around, taking up space on the bookshelf. I can think of, at least, five reasons to love downloading books:
  • Immediate gratification - I got the book immediately(or almost).
  • No visible clutter
  • Great selection
  • Many good readers
  • Good dramatizations make books come alive
  • Ability to multi-task while listening
  • School on Wheels -Ability to learn and enjoy even when books are inconvenient or impossible to use.
Yet, I was torn when purchasing the audio. I want to hold the book and see the words and punctuation. I want to feel the texture of the pages. I don't want to share the experience. I only want the voices I choose to say the words in the way I choose. I want the book. I want to touch it. I want to be able to go back to favorite passages and see how the words are assembled. I want to turn the pages.

The children and I listen to many audio books (borrowed from the library) and podcasts when we drive to ballet. I enjoy them as much as they. I suppose the problem arose because I needed a book quickly (our local libraries don't have audio books). So, I decided to purchase a book. Purchasing, though prices are much better than they used to be, made me think, "If I buy this audio, wouldn't it be senseless to purchase the book, even if I really love it." I know I will enjoy the book. I like David Guterson's stories. I have three of his other books. I know already that I want this book.

As much as I love to think about myself embracing technology and the future, what I really want is a beautiful, well made book with quality paper and the time to love it. I want to own the paper.


Mother Crone's Homeschool said...

I struggle with this very dilemma! I have seen all the great selections available, and think that it may be a great thing for me to listen to while on the treadmill or in the car. But then, I always want the book, for my shelf. Plus ,the whole idea of shopping around for an MP3 other than the IPOD, is it worth it? I just don't know if I would get the same pleasure from just listening. Would I be able to lose myself in the words like I do when I read them?

wisteria said...

If the voice isn't annoying I can get lost in the story, but I find that I still want the book if it is truly a great book. I want to see the words. On the other hand, we had a great unabridged Huck Finn books on tape that made my son get serious about reading. We, now, own the both Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in unabridged book forms with nice paper and my son has read them over and over. He, probably, would never be that interested if we had not listened first. Again, the reader (or readers) makes all the difference.

Jennifer said...

It's no contest, for me. I have to have the texture and heft of a book, of course, but what I truly love is the smell!

Why is my blogger display name suddenly Jennifer? How odd.

mom2radata said...

For me it is a time management thing. I love books I really and truly do but I can multi-task with MP3 Player. It is awfully difficult to read and knead bread at the same time. LOL

wisteria said...

True! But you have to pick your tasks carefully. I find I get either distracted by my project and miss key information in the book or get distracted by the book and let the bread burn.