Tag Archives: Audio Books

Audiobook Advice

Firstly, thank you all so much for your recommendations of book to take to a spooky old mansion last weekend. I took Lesley Glaister’s Little Egypt which might have actually been recommended on Twitter. Anyway it was lovely to get all your recommendations, almost as lovely as it was to stay in a house where I had several moments mentally being Mrs Danvers. As it was I actually did no reading all weekend as it took so long to get to Kent (6 hours) that we arrived with just enough time to change into our glad-rags and get to my Great Aunt’s 80th, the next morning waking up for (one of my favourite things in life) the hotel breakfast before deciding we would dash straight home in case it took the same time again, which it nearly did. Too much time in a car. Though this does lead me into my ponderings of this post, audiobooks.

I have always had very mixed feelings on audiobooks in the past, I completely understand why they are brilliant for many but have never been that sure they are for me. I have had some dalliances and some have been brilliant (Agatha Raisin is wonderful on audiobook) others I have tried I soon realise I have missed a chapter of because I have been too busy watching the world go by and ignoring my headphones. However on the first lengthy road trip we stopped early on, well as early as two hours is out of six, and I was looking at CD’s I could buy to possibly stop The Beard going mad from my 1990’s-early-2000’s pop music fest, when I saw there were audiobooks.

What stopped me from buying any was a) the choice was somewhat limited in a motorway service station b) I couldn’t work out what would work to both mine and The Beard’s tastes c) the price, so expensive were they in this franchise of a high street store that I won’t name them, I opted for a wifi-dooberry-whatsit-thing – official name – that means I can transmit my whole iPod to a radio station and play that. Many hours of The Archers, Woman’s Hour and The Beard’s favourite, Cher, then ensued. The allure of the audiobook was there and has remained, as we have another epic drive next week for a wedding, we may call on them then as I don’t think (no matter how good I think they are, and I am gutted one is leaving us) book podcasts will do the trick now we have run out of the other variety.

Yet I have realised this week that this is not the only time audiobooks could work. I have quite a lot of admin hours at work where I could ‘pop a book in my ears’, plus with several festivals ahead quite a lot of setting up and de-rigging hours ahead, oh and there is the fact I have rejoined the gym (and the dreadful ‘diet’ world) which I am really enjoying as you can see…

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(I know, any excuse to share a picture of me looking sweaty and beardy on the internet!) So I could possibly have books in my ears in all those times, I think the question is which ones are best for me. This is of course where you come in. I would love to get some recommendations of audiobooks for me that a) have a great plot b) a hook so I want to listen on c) a narrator I can bear to listen to. My normal tastes of literary novels, thrillers, short stories etc apply. I would just love for you to rave about some that you have listened to and loved. I would also love some recommendations of narrative non-fiction ones which The Beard (or Mr Non Fiction as I may rename him) and I could listen to together. That would be lovely. Thank you.

Oh and PS – Reviews are coming, I have a long weekend this weekend and so can play catch up. PPS – I hope all is well and lovely with you all?

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Granny Savidge Reads Update #1; Big Thanks

I promised you updates on Granny Savidge Reads and so here without fail is my first one and it involves a lot of thank you’s. Firstly though, how is Gran? Well, touch wood, while sadly she still has no feeling or movement in her left hand side it appears we might have been through the most dangerous/nerve wrecking bit, you know the stuff that doesn’t even bear thinking about. However we are by no means out of the woods. Seeing her yesterday for most of the day (when she wasn’t asleep, how rude when you have visitors, ha) was the first time she has looked so bright, well as bright as you can in the circumstances, this week but her headaches and nausea and frustration are high. We still have a long way to go, but let us not dwell on that.

I told her that you had all been sending her your well wishes and she was really grateful and wanted to me say a big thank you all for your thoughts. She was also delighted with her iPod from myself and The Beard, which I had filled with the only audio book I owned personally until this week, ‘Gillespie & I’ (because if I ever sleep on my own now I like a familiar story in the background) which she laughed and said I had been ‘determined to make me read for quite some time, now I have no choice’ (Jane, if you read this she was being wry).

You may have noticed I said it was the only audio book I owned until this week as I have been rather inundated with them thanks to lovely publishers (and also three I borrowed from the library) and this is only the beginning apparently…

Even more are on their way, which is such a lovely gesture and I am very grateful as she will probably be in the hospital for quite some weeks/months to come and will now have hours of entertainment and stories to come. So yet more thanks from Gran and from me to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster and Orion, whose books are pictured, and to Penguin, Sceptre, and Random House who have parcels in the post en route. (Is it bad if I listen to some of them myself?)

I will be off to see her, and update her iPod, tomorrow and will keep you posted on how she is doing. I won’t do it too often as a) it will be a long haul and progress might be slow b) I don’t want her getting too used to all the attention. But seriously, a big thank you for all your support, it means a lot to me, Gran and indeed the Savidge family clan.

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Savidge Reads and the RNIB

I am a big fan of doing as much for charity as I can, in fact the best non media job I have ever had was working for Breast Cancer Care, so when I had an email from Melanie at the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) asking if I would like to be involved in a new initiative, as a guest speaker, of people talking to book groups for blind and partially sighted people… I didn’t need any persuading.

So in the next few months I will be taking part in Special Interest telephone book groups. This is the chance for people who already have regular book groups via the phone, also through RNIB, get the chance to ask people in varying parts of the ‘book world’ any questions that they have. I also get the chance to ask them about their reading habits and the pro’s and con’s of the audio book industry. I have already got a list of questions about how the industry is doing, be it good or bad, in terms of resources for those people who might not be able to read a book in its traditional form. I think its going to be an interesting set of discussions.

As always, with any new exciting thing I get to do via Savidge Reads, I like to put out there to all of you for your thoughts and comments. So I was wondering if you had any questions that you would like me to ask these lovely readers in advance? I also know they are very keen to hear about great audio books, which aren’t so much my forte – though I have been really enjoying listening to Sarah Winman reading her own novel ‘When God Was A Rabbit’ since I finished the book – yet I am sure you will all know of some fantastic audio reads. Do let me know.

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Free Never Let Me Go Audio Books

You may remember a while back the interesting and diverse discussion we had on Savidge Reads regarding Audio Books. I admitted that I have been rather wary of them for various reasons, you may want to have a look at the post to see more into the whys and what-fors, and the responses I had have made me have a think and so I want to try more. So when The Guardian kindly offered to give away copies of the unabridged audio book of Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go’ (read by the wonderful Emilia Fox)I knew I had to get my hands on it and thought maybe I should share it all with you too if you haven’t already got yourself a copy.

You might want to be quick as you have until 23:59 GMT today to click on the link here and fill in your details and follow the instructions and there you go. It’s all free! I am really looking forward to hearing it, as having really loved the textual/original version of the novel ‘Never Let Me Go’ and having loved it even more when I read it again to write the new Faber & Faber reading guide (which I will pop a link up of once its been published online). I’m also off to see the film, health and everything willing, on Thursday night. It’s like.

I was wondering if lots of us downloaded it maybe it would be worth having a discussion about the audio book, or is that taking the current ‘Never Let Me Go’ fever at Savidge Reads too far?

Oh and don’t forget to pop and have a look, and hopefully leave your suggestions for a new reading group project I am planning for the late spring and early summer this year!

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Audiobooks

I might get struck down for what I am about to say but I do believe in being honest with all of you who pop by Savidge Reads, so here goes… I have always thought that audio books are cheating. I know, I know I should be expelled from the book blogosphere but do bear with me while I explain and also why I might be changing my tune.

The reason I have previously never believed that an audio book really counts as a book is because you don’t actually read it. Oh and I must mention I am only applying this to me (myself and I personally – not everyone else) and audio books. I am not saying that I feel like this about people who use them as some people may need them as they are sight impared etc and other people just really like audio books when they are driving, cleaning or simply whenever they fancy! So lets close the lid on that can of worms before we go any further…

I know some people would strongly disagree with that statement, and I am fine with that and invite you to leave a comment saying why that’s wrong below. I just think that if you say you have ‘read’ a book then you have to actually have ‘read’ it. I wouldn’t for example watch ‘Revolutionary Road’ on DVD and say I had therefore read the book too. Do you know what I mean? Note: Having said that films are generally a rather abridged and often highly edited adaptation of a book, an audio book is the book word for word. That doesn’t mean I don’t like audio books, I just seemed to loose my way with some slightly (and I am being really honest here) snooty thoughts on them.

However the author Paul Magrs (who blogs too if you didn’t know, do pop and have a look if you don’t already) kindly lent me and audio book or two which he thought might be right up my street, and he was right…

Yes, I have now got some wonderful Agatha Raisin novels on my iPod and with the wonderful Penelope Keith being Agatha they are an absolute joy to listen to though not to read and have been with me on several trips into town and on shopping expeditions. I have been highly entertained by them and now want to get my mitts on the rest of the set, with one small condition… I have to have read the mysteries first, rather like I would if I was going to see a film adaptation I guess.

I do wonder though if audio books might make good companions to a book. For the first time in a long while I considered downloading an audio book when I was reading ‘Brighton Rock’ and had found myself floundering somewhat. I wouldn’t have switched exclusively to the audio version. Maybe just turned to it and then back to the book and so on while I got a grasp on Pinkie and all he was up to.

I am wondering if I am missing a trick though and so thought I would start a little light discussion on audio books today to get your thoughts. Are there any you would recommend? Have you read a book and found it so tough you’ve turned to an audio version and suddenly sailed on with or without the actual novel? What are the pro’s and con’s of audio? Do you think if you have listened to an audio book you have then read it and if so why, what makes the distinction? Looking forward to your thoughts, you might convert me. Maybe I could end up reading a book and then listening to the audio and see how they compare… ooh I already have a possibility in mind.

Update note – Paul Magrs has done a brilliant post in response to this please do have a look!

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