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Audio books the in-thing now

Monday, July 21, 2014

I am horrified when my daughter, Ijanaya, rips the earphones from my head and says, “Mommy! What is wrong with you? I know how parents feel when kids have these things plugged in their ears all the time. You’re walking down the road talking to yourself. You were talking to someone named Bibi Chen.” Actually, I was listening to Amy Tan narrating her own novel Saving Fish from Drowning.    



Audio books are the in-thing right now, and, a division of, is creating a whole new listening experience for book lovers. Parents who have children who are reluctant readers will find audio books are a way to build listening and comprehension skills, but I highly recommend audio books for adults as well. Choosing an audio book is quite different from choosing a book to read. I found this out the hard way. Here is my advice on how to get started.  


1. The key to a good audio-book experience is an expressive narrator. A narrator must have a pleasant voice, well-paced—not too slow—with good inflection for expression. A narrator can make or break a book. Even the best book narrated poorly just won’t cut it. 
2. Make sure the narrator can interpret male and female voices in a credible way. I find that men have a more difficult time with female voices.   
3. Know how long you want to spend with a narrator. My tolerance is 12 hours. Start with books that are six to eight hours long to see how much of one voice and one story you can take. Then you can graduate to longer books.


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