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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Books on Tape Bad

Sometime my job is exciting, other times it is quite boring.  And most of the time, it requires little attention, less imagination, and even less critical thought.  So I often listen to podcasts while I work.  And the choice of podcasts is often very dull.  So I thought, maybe this was the time to look for books on tape, afterall, work really is just an intermission between when I read fantasy novels.  So why take a break at all?

Well, I managed to find a copy of Gardens of the Moon, and downloaded it to my iPod.  I started to "read" the novel.  First of all, I guess my copy was crap, so I really ought not to hold it against all books on tape.  The reader was quite good, but it had obviously been dubbed from cassette tapes to the digital format, and had lost in volume and quality.

So, a couple of problems.  Steven Erikson, even in a nine-hundred page novel, doesn't waste words.  So if you're not paying strict attention, you can miss something really important.  Worse, it's difficult to rewind.  The files are huge, and its difficult to navigate a one and a half hour audiofile on a hand held audio device.  With a paperback, you just move your eyes, at worse, flip a page.

Maybe it's me.  Maybe my attention span is so shot that I'm really just not a great listener.  I know some people who would agree with that, and I am working while listening so there's that.  The best run of attention I had was while moving some boxes around in an out of the way conference room.  The manual labor required little attention, and I didn't zone out too much, like I do when "reading" at my desk.  Or worse--get bored of a fun thing.  That ever happen to you?  You take a break from work to do something more entertaining, and you get bored of it and have to do something else that's entertaining.  Sheesh.  What's wrong with me?

Anyway, I don't think I'll be reading too many audiobooks.  Next up, e-readers.  Anyone got an e-reader they want me to testdrive?