I am not really a fan of audio books. Don’t get me wrong. I, like many of you, love to read. But in my heart of hearts, I feel that reading is the intimate act of caressing written words with my eyes* as I interpret the meaning and tone for myself. I’m not a huge fan of e-books either. I do envy people who enjoy their little portable libraries that make bringing dozens of books where ever they go so simple. For myself I prefer feeling the weight of what I’m reading in my hands while I touch the printed words. When I put a bookmark between the pages, I always find myself looking at the edge of the book to see how far I’ve come. I don’t get that same reward from an e-reader, but when I have finished an e-book I still feel like I’ve read something. Not so with an audio book.
I just recently had to take a 24 hour round trip drive to visit an ill parent. On the way there I listened to a book that I downloaded from my local library. I’m not going to say the name of the book because I honestly believe I would have enjoyed the story if I had read it instead of listened to it. The problem was the narrator. She tried a bit to hard to make different voices for all the characters. When I paused the story, it was to see how much was left instead of how far I’d come. The first half of my trip was a long one because at the end of it I felt like I’d heard a long winded story instead of having read a book.
Cut to the trip home. I wasn’t feeling up to another audio book, but my sister insisted I should borrow her copy of To Kill A Mockingbird narrated by Sissy Spacek. Okay. TKM is my favorite book. I’ve read it about once a year since the ninth grade (forever ago). I didn’t want to not enjoy hearing Scout’s storybecause the character’s voices didn’t sound the way they do in my head. I gave it a try anyway and I am glad I did. Sissy Spacek might as well be the grown-up Jean Louise Finch telling me the captivating adventures of her childhood. Her voice has the perfect Southern lilt required. In the end, do I feel like I’ve read a book when the last word was spoken? No. But now the book I’ve read so many times has a freshness to it that I never anticipated.
*If I were blind I bet I would probably like Braille over audio books.