Heard and not seen - Karen Bush

(Oh, and it's available as an e-book as well as audio and paper!)

        Pin back your ears - there's more than one way to enjoy a book: they're not just for reading, they're for listening to as well.
        I used to get an audio book out of the library to listen to if I had a long car journey planned, but as far as listening to books was concerned, that was about it.
        Then my mum started to lose her sight. She managed with large print books for some years until even that became too dificult. The doctor signed her off as officially blind, she got a blue disabled parking card - and the library informed her that she could now get audio books out for free.
         As I helped her select her weekly audio books, I came across one or two which I thought I might like to listen to myself, so got them out. Now I'm hooked. I love having a book read to me last thing at night in bed. And I usually have one on the go in the car too, listening in fifteen or twenty minute instalments.
         Listening to a book - even one you've read several times and thought you knew pretty well gives it a whole new dimension. I'm currently listening to Narrowdog to Carcassonne* (written by Terry Darlington, and read perfectly by Steve Hodson  - you may remember him from your youth as Steve in Follyfoot): I loved reading it, and now I've fallen in love with it all over again as an audio book.
         Although I coughed up the dosh to buy Narrowdog new, I usually buy a lot of my audio books secondhand from the library as they replace their old cassette tapes with Playaway and CD versions, and scour Amazon and charity shops for bargains.
         So, what has this got to do with e-books?
         Well I thought the audio facility on my Kindle was very clever, although I wouldn't want to listen to it attempt to read a downloaded book for more than thirty seconds if I wanted to actually enjoy it - the phrasing and that flat monotone drive me nuts. But now I find that I can download audio books onto it from Audible. Perfect - a complete reading/listening experience on one handy gadget. Admittedly I haven't tried it yet as I want to finish working my way through the secondhand audiobooks I already have. But I'm looking forward to it and love the flexibility.

The Great Rosette Robbery and other stories.
Not yet available as an audio book, but you can read it as an ebook:

(Or if you make me a mug of cocoa I'll come round and read it to you)

* Terry's second book, Narrowdog to Indian River is also available both as a paper, audio and ebook - and don't miss his latest, Narrowdog to Wigan Pier which is out this month


Lee said…
As I've said recently, my podcasts have proved to be particularly popular - probably because I don't narrate them myself! However, they've made me realise that an audio version of a novel or story really needs to be edited for this particular format - something I haven't done.

(And listening to someone else read your work can be both illuminating and very sobering.)
julia jones said…
I don't know how we'd have survived car journeys with young children without books on tape (or CD). My only problem was I'm usually thre driver and they tended to make me want to fall asleep - hangover from the bedtime story, I think. Am planning to try audible ... eventually.
I enjoyed Narrow Dog to Carcassonne hugely - and I too love audio books. Didn't know you could download to the Kindle from Audible. I must try it!
There is an audio version of The Curiosity Cabinet and it's beautifully read - even down to the Gaelic. But too expensive for anything but a library, alas, since it's unabridged and therefore a major undertaking. But an abridgement is a different animal, and normally very much shorter than the book. I used to do this for the Beeb. I abridged - among other things - The Remains of the Day, for Book At Bedtime. I have a lovely letter somewhere from Ishiguro telling me what a good job he thought I'd done. (Which was a relief!) It wasn't hard, because it's such an enviably beautiful book - even when I was working on it, somewhere about the middle, I started to cry and found it very hard to stop.
My son used to love Roald Dahl's Danny, Champion of the World as an audio book so much that he seemed capable of listening to it every night for months, even after we'd read him stories and even after he could read for himself. I used to think, thank goodness for cassettes as well.
madwippitt said…
Unabridged books aren't always as hideously expensive as you'd think - and Audible have a good deal going whereby you can download one book a month for just under £8: which when you get hooked on them, is good value!
Do listen to Narrowdog if you can - it really is a terrific recording (and like paper books, you can always order it from the library!)
I'll definitely have a go. Narrow Dog is, I agree, a wonderful book. I got well paid for the audio deal for the Curiosity Cabinet (almost as much as I got for the book on its original publication!) But I'm not sure where it's available. I've never investigated since I have the CDs myself. I prefer books unabridged too when I can get them. Radio's a different kettle of fish since time is so limited.
Bill Kirton said…
I think I read Narrow Dog on Catherine's recommendation and yes, it's an enjoyable read. I record a lot of extracts from my own books as well as short stories and flash fiction and I'm convinced that there must be a way of using it to increase sales. Feedback has suggested that at least some readers like the idea of hearing a writer telling her/his own story. And if there's a way of getting them to work on Kindle, we should start exploring it.

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