Good Audio Books

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jdroth
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Good Audio Books

Postby jdroth » Thu May 17, 2007 1:56 pm

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I'm an audiobook junkie. I subscribe to the "two books per month" plan at Audible, and generally listen to that many. I'd love to hear suggestions for great audiobooks, especially in the areas of self-improvement and personal finance.

My favorite audiobooks, by far, are the Aubrey/Maturin novels form Patrick O'Brian, as read by Patrick Tull. Fantastic stuff. (The last half of the series isn't as good as the first half, but Tull does his best to keep things alive.)

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Postby morydd » Thu May 17, 2007 2:26 pm

I don't have an answer for you because I've never understood audiobooks. The only time I can think of that I might listen to them is when driving (which I don't do). When do you listen to them and are you able to concentrate on them if you're doing other things. If you're not doing other things, what advantage do they have over "real" books? I don't even listen to podcasts (even though I've found a few that I like) because I don't really know when I can listen to them and not feel like I'm wasting the time.

This isn't meant to be critical. I love books, and would love to find a way to get more of them into my life.
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jdroth
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Postby jdroth » Thu May 17, 2007 4:39 pm

Morydd, I used to feel the same way you do. I have a lot of friends who are in the same boat. Occasionally somebody will try to listen to the book instead of read it, and often they find it unpleasant. "I can't concentrate," they say. "My mind wanders." I'm fortunate that I can concentrate on the book when I listen. My mind rarely wanders.

You're right, though, that it's much easier to listen to audiobooks while driving. My daily commute is half an hour each way. I often have to make hour-plus trips into Portland during the day, too, which gives me more time to listen. I used to figure that I could finish a 12-14 hour novel (which is about 300 pages) in two weeks of driving. A longer novel, like <i>Jonathan Strange</i> clocks in at around 30 hours and might take a month to finish.

The key with audiobooks is to find the good ones. That's part of the reason I asked the question. A poorly read book is <i>tedious</i>. I listened to a version of <i>20,000 Leagues Under the Sea</i> that bored me to tears. But a well-read book is a wonderful thing.

One last point: I find that my comprehension and retention actually <i>increases</i> when I audit a book. For some reason, I'm much better at remembering things that I hear than those that I read.

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Book recommendations

Postby justjen1221 » Fri May 18, 2007 4:12 am

I'm also a big fan of audiobooks. I have an audible membership as well as getting audio books out of the library. Here are some books & authors that I enjoy. They aren't really educational (that list would be a bit more difficult as I'd need to look through all my lists for the past few years), but they are good. Some of my favorite authors are:

Fun Stuff:
Sue Grafton
Patricia Cornwell
John Irving
Frank McCourt
David Baldacci
David Sedaris
Terry Pratchett
Jeffrey Deaver
Jodi Picoult
Dean Koontz (Odd Thomas series)
Stephen King (Dark Tower Series is really good- though 1st book is hard to get through)

Particular books I enjoyed:
Water for Elephants- Sara Gruen
Life of Pi- Yann Martel
The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini

More in a bit, we need to reboot computers here.
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Postby brad » Fri May 18, 2007 4:45 am

My brother listens to audiobooks on his iPod when he can't sleep -- as he's gotten older he's started to suffer from insomnia, and now I'm developing the same problem. So I'm getting interested in audiobooks too.

I have a bunch of tapes here that I made off the radio during Terry Gross's interviews on Fresh Air (National Public Radio); I'm going to convert those to MP3s and put them on my iPod. I believe you can buy and download Fresh Air interviews from audible.com as well...they used to be available on iTunes but I don't see them there anymore, at least not in the Canadian iTunes store.

Also, free MP3s of TED talks (http://www.ted.com/) are available for downloading; there's some really fascinating stuff on there, although the MP3s sometimes don't capture it all; you're better off downloading the QuickTime files and watching them (which I guess you can do if you have a newer iPod).

Listening to interviews and lectures is a great alternative to novels: they're shorter and usually very thought-provoking.

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Postby plonkee » Mon May 21, 2007 9:10 am

Since some of my favourite books are technically aimed at children, I'll plug any of the Harry Potter series read by Stephen Fry. They are considered so good to listen to that a national radio station did several of them back to back one Christmas.

I'm not a big audiobook fan myself normally. I prefer to read stories all at once and I can read a lot quicker than I can listed.
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Dylan
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Postby Dylan » Tue May 22, 2007 12:23 pm

I never really appreciated audiobooks until we had twins. Audiobooks are the perfect solution for those late night feedings when you have to keep the lights out, then hold the baby upright for 20 minutes so the food stays down, and you need some stimulus to keep yourself awake when you're dead tired (using earbuds of course so as not to distract the baby).

That said, my favorite audio books are non-fiction, adventure/survival, read by the author. Having an audio book read by the author has been key to my enjoyment in all but a few audiobooks.

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Postby jdroth » Wed May 23, 2007 3:34 pm

Dylan, do you have any recommendations? I've read Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, but not many other modern survivalist stories.


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