My wife is a big fan of audio books. I myself like the concept of them, but just can’t seem to cope with the reality of a fifty-three year old man needing to be read to. Years of conditioning have developed in me a sense that in order to really take in what a good writer is trying to convey, a tranquil, peaceful, quiet environment is necessary. This means no talking. Most especially by the book in question. I just can’t concentrate on the story line when a narrator is blathering away in exaggerated accents and over done voice inflections that I myself would never have assigned to the various characters. I find myself mildly annoyed whenever I hear adults reading to children over the age of five in this fashion and become down right hostile when it is aimed in my direction.
To make matters worse, these audio books are specifically marketed for the drivers of automobiles. A moving automobile is in my opinion not the proper environment for digesting a good story, regardless of whether or not you are physically reading the words or having them force-fed through your ear canals. A comfy chair in a darkened room next to a window and a warm fire comes to mind but maybe that’s just me. Every time we are in the car together with windows down, kids yelling, dogs barking, and the world flying by at seventy miles per hour, she will pop in whichever one she currently has checked out from the library and cranking up the volume, will then attempt to filter the general plot of the novel from the overwhelming din surrounding us. I just don’t get it. It’s like preparing a gourmet meal for a woman you are particularly interested in impressing, while sharing the kitchen with your bachelor friends who likely share DNA with a troupe of beer swilling, aggressively screeching, poo flinging chimpanzee’s. Both have their charms but unlike chocolate and peanut butter should probably never be combined.
I lost the desire to be read to around kindergarten age and see no reason to take it up again. Reading is a function of the eyes and of the mind. My ears will stick to what they are good at, namely suffering through the bad music played by my teenage boys and successfully tuning out anything anyone says to me while lost in the world of reading a good book.